Holocaust (sacrifice)

Holocaust (Sacrifice)

Holocaust (sacrifice)

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A holocaust is a religious animal sacrifice that is completely consumed by fire. The word derives from the Ancient Greek holocaustos (ὁλόκαυστος from ὅλος "whole" + καυστός "burnt"), which is used solely for one of the major forms of sacrifice. When the Tanakh was translated into Greek, the translators used the term for a similar ritual among the Jews.

Greek sacrifice

Holokautein (ὁλοκαυτεῖν) was one of the two chief verbs of Greek sacrifice, in which the victim is utterly destroyed and burnt up, as opposed to thyesthai (θύεσθαι), to share a meal with the god and one's fellow worshippers, commensal sacrifice. In the latter, the edible parts of the sacrificed animal were roasted and distributed for festive celebration, whereas the inedible parts were burned on the altar, those being the god's share. Although not actually obliged to do so, Greeks would rather sacrifice a domestic animal to a god or hero and then proceed to use its flesh as food, as animals were thought of as sharing in the sanctity of life - in addition to their secular usefulness (milk, eggs, ploughing). This did not apply to game, fish, and other seafood, which formed a far larger proportion of the diet then than they do today - fish was the major foodstuff sold in ancient Greek marketplaces. A sacrifice need not be a public function involving priests and altars; they could also be held privately, domestically or individually.

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