chapter  7
20 Pages

THE ‘SACRED’ AND THE ‘PROFANE’

A system of reward and punishment governs bodily practices and moral choices. Some acts are punishable by death, some result in ‘cutting off’ from the rest of society, while others require expiatory performances. An intricate pattern of feast days and sacrifices is interwoven within the daily lives of the people, who have to keep a balance of personal holiness by adhering to personal purification rituals combined with animal sacrifices. Atonement for sins also involves animal sacrifice. These sacrifices are carried out in a sanctuary, by a priestly tribe who are anointed and sanctified. Provision is made for individual and communal atonement, purification and punishment.