Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Totem and Taboo points out that it is taboo to harm the totem of the tribe. Judaism has a history of what might be called the error of the Golden Calf. This is a rejected step in its tradition; yet Kosher rules prohibit the eating of the 'calf in it's mother's milk' and the eating of meat and a milk product together is forbidden; it is a taboo. Another officially rejected practice in the Bible is the sacrifice of first born children. Yet the abortion of a foetus is permitted as a prehuman. So in some sense the recognition of the taboo animal and the offering of a first (not yet) born may be carried on. From our Western or Greek perspective, Euripides did bring to the fore empathy, this attitude may seem Eastern, foreign, Oriental in an old sense as I commented.