chapter  Chapter Five
77 Pages


WithWolfgang Giegerich

There have been and still are, of course, many additional kinds of killings throughout history, killings out of passions such as rage, jealousy, or greed, or out of necessity, killings as personal crimes or collective massacres. But because these killings have contingent empirical causes and must be explained in terms of those passions and necessities and the particular situations that gave and give rise to them, they can and will be altogether left out of consideration. The ritual killings were not performed in secret. The public experienced the priest’s killing blow upon the human or animal to be sacrificed in its physical and sensuous concreteness. They saw the red blood spurting out, smelled its sweet smell as well as the smell of the old blood with which the god’s altar was covered, layer by layer, from all the thousands of sacrifices performed over the course of time.