I. Religious Studies The word
sacrifice denotes both the living creature or offering sacrificed and the ritual action (e.g. destruction) through which that creature or object is dedicated to a supernatural being. If a distinction needs to be made, English and the Romance languages can use
sacrifice (Eng. and Fr.;
sacrificio Ital. and Span.) for the ritual action while using
vittima) for the creature sacrificed. Etymologically
sacrifice suggests an action in which the sacrificed object is “made holy/sacred” (Lat.
sacrum facere). In ancient Rome (see II, 3 below), something that was holy “belonged to the gods” after being removed from the realm of the profane. Although the two phenomena are closely related, the Roman procedure of “sacralization” must not be confused with what we call “sacrifice.”…