You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe



Good Friday and the Civil War

THIS WEEK, key underpinnings of the Western unconscious will reveal themselves in the observance of Passover and Good Friday — two rituals of sacrifice that have penetrated the American mind. Far from being an ancient irrelevance, the blood sacrifice that these occasions commemorate helps to define even secular culture — with profound consequences for how we, and our government, see the world.

The sacrificial lamb is the central figure of Passover, for its blood, in marking the lintels of the Hebrews in Egypt, prompted the angel of death to pass them by. The God-willed deaths of Egypt’s firstborns recalls the piety of Abraham, who, at God’s behest, was prepared to kill his beloved son. But Isaac, too, was spared by a lamb —“a ram caught in a thicket’’ — that took his place.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week