Nov 22 2018

Futures of Sacrifice

Stroumsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Futures of Sacrifice: Sacrifice, Martyrdom, Self-Immolation

An International Symposium with Guy G. Stroumsa

Keynote speakers:

Terry Eagleton (Lancaster University)

Yvonne Sherwood (University of Kent)

Guy G. Stroumsa (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

In one very literal sense, philosophy begins with an act of self-sacrifice: the death of Socrates. It is all the more remarkable, then, that modern thought seems to find little or no place whatsoever for sacrifice. As many scholars have documented, liberal political philosophy’s foundational claim is the so-called natural law or right of self-preservation: human beings want to preserve their biological existence for as long as possible and the highest good of any form of political state is to protect and sustain that existence. To re-read the canonical signatures of modern liberalism from Thomas Hobbes to John Locke, then, we this find (despite or because of their many differences) a common aim to abolish, exclude – or even paradoxically sacrifice – sacrifice itself: the very idea of sacrificing life to some higher good than biological existence is apparently no longer thinkable. If liberalism thus seems to constitute the political euthanasia of sacrifice itself – the painless putting-out-of-its-misery of an eldery relative who has outlived her usefulness – sacrifice nonetheless refuses to die or disappear. In his recent book Radical Sacrifice, Terry Eagleton concludes that ’revolution is a modern version of what the ancient world knew as sacrifice’. This international symposium gathers together a range of scholars from the disciplines of philosophy, theology and politics – including the renowned historian of religion Guy G. Stroumsa – to consider the past, present and future of sacrifice.

Guy G. Stroumsa is Martin Buber Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Emeritus Professor of the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at the University of Oxford. He is the author of many works on comparative religion from late antiquity to modernity including The Making of the Abrahamic Religions in Late Antiquity (Oxford, 2015) and The Scriptural Universe of Ancient Christianity (Harvard, 2016). In 2010, his lectures at the College de France were translated into English as The End of Sacrifice with Chicago University Press.

Friday 30th November

Ruskin Library and Research Centre

Lancaster University