chapter  Chapter Four
17 Pages

The Sacrifice of Isaac and the Watershed of History

Preparatory and Methodological Remarks Concerning the Topic of Ritual Killings
WithWolfgang Giegerich

This chapter serves as a kind of introduction to psychology of the archaic ritual blood sacrifices. Moreover, the cited wording “whether sacrifices have meaning” also performs a reversal of the meaning of the word “meaning.” For the primordial experience, sacrificing Isaac would not have had a meaning, but it would itself have been the meaning. After having clarified the sense in which sacrifices are soul events and as such events of meaning, having in themselves the quality of consciousness, we turn to another important point suggested by the story of the sacrifice of Isaac and the notion of the watershed, namely a very different conception of history at large from the usual one. Sacrifices are the event in which the self-generation of what we call soul, consciousness, meaning happened. Psychology has integrated (absolute-negatively interiorized) the divide into itself, made it its own by turning it into its methodological stance.