Jews, Christians and Animal Sacrifice.

Why don’t Jews and Christians practice animal sacrifice?

It is mentioned in the Bible. Well the Old Testament at least. And I think Muslims practice it.

Plus Jews and Christians do eat meat by and large, which is worth pointing out.


I believe that sacrifices had to be made at the Temple, which was destroyed.

The Jewish answer is that once the Temple was built, no other place was allowed to be used for sacrificial service, forever. The source for this is Deuteronomy 12:8-14

The “inheritance” in verse 9 refers to the Jerusalem temple site.

The Christian answer (at least how I was taught) is that JC’s self-sacrifice (“lamb of God”) obviated the need for future animal sacrifices.

(Of course, the whole “I sent me to sacrifice to me to save you from me” is a whole other problem…)

Yup, this is the answer as I was taught, as well.

The Jewish answer is that we need the temple rebuilt to have animal sacrifices:

And an orthodox Israeli once told me that only a priest (not a rabbi) can consecrate a temple, but no priest can be created for want of a temple.

I’m as Gentile as they come, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s true (then again, it’s also possible that there isn’t agreement on the subject within the Jewish faith). A few Jewish sites I’m looking at speak of kohanim (priests) in the present tense. This site says, “After the destruction of the Temple, the role of the kohanim diminished significantly in favor of the rabbis; however, we continue to keep track of kohein lineage.”

Other cites:
Kohen - Wikipedia

Hari Seldon:

This is not true. Priests don’t need to be “created”, any male-line descendant of Aaron is one by birth, and there are plenty of Jews who identify as such. In theory, sacrificial service could resume as soon as a) it is 100% certain the exact spot upon which the Temple altar had stood, and b) it can be done without loss of human life (e.g., Arabs rioting), as that is not one of the commandments that the Torah requires risking one’s life for.

The HIGH priest would need consecration, but the Temple sacrificial service could be (mostly) performed even if that office was not filled. Not performing the parts that the High Priest performs does not invalidate the other parts of the service.

Practical guess - as money became more prevalent, the meat wasn’t as necessary to support the priestly caste and the pressure to supply it dropped. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t the entire animal that was burned, but only representative parts.

It’s been awhile, so I could have misread it.

Although it’s not mentioned in the Wikipedia article, there were animal sacrifices at the Jewish Temple at Elephantine.

Hmmm, so PETA should be opposed to rebuilding the Temple…

I think Muslims would dispute that.

Muslims practice religious butchery, that is, no animal can be consumed without being properly killed according to Muslim religious requirements, but that is not the same as animal sacrifice.

But any Muslims who wants to correct me on that feel free to do so, as I am no expert.

Likewise, kosher-keeping Jews also practice religious butchery. But, again, most people don’t view that as animal sacrifice.

Nor are we restricted to self-identification. The common surname “Cohen” (and its linguistic variants) denotes such a man. And male-line descent can also be identified via Y chromosome DNA testing, so we know that Cohens really are the male-line descendants of the same individual (with a surprisingly low rate of non-paternity events).

If someone bears the name “Cohen” or one of its variants, and has Y haplogroup J-P58, you can be extremely confident that that man is in fact of the priestly lineage.

There are other obstacles to consecrating a new Temple (like needing a flawless red calf), but all of the rest of them are insignificant compared to the fact that the Dome of the Rock is on the same site.

Why do Jews no longer sacrifice animals?
Straight Dope Staff Report by Dex


A good rule of thumb, but not 100% reliable. My primary Rabbi was named Cohen but was not a descendant-of-Aaron Cohen. The name Katz is similar in this regard.

I expect that he inherited the name via a known non-paternity event, from someone who was a descendant of Aaron?

In any event, that’s why I said combined with the Y haplogroup.

I’ve heard them also referred to as “pedigree errors”.


I never asked. Could be, or could have been some sort of “Ellis Island” name mixup.

Today, especially in an Orthodox service, the kohanim still perform some exclusive duties during various services often on behalf of the congregation. Basically, these are simply blessings. (Nothing flashy like sacrifices. :D)