Scapegoat, by Wikipedia

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Scapegoat, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:54 pm

by Wikipedia



A somewhat droll and almost dramatic feast is the chase of the demon of ill-luck, evidently a relic of a former demonist cult. It is called "Chongju Sewang," and is held at Lhasa on the twenty-ninth and thirtieth days of the second month, though it sometimes lasts about a week. It starts after divine service. A priest represents a Grand Lama, and one of the multitude is masqueraded as the ghost-king. For a week previously he sits in the market-place with face painted half black and half white, and a coat of skin is put on his arm and he is called "King of the Years'" (? head). He helps himself to what he wants, and goes about shaking a black yak's tail over the heads of the people, who thus transfer to him their ill-luck.

This latter person then goes towards the priest in the neighbourhood of the cloister of La-brang and ridicules him, saying: "What we perceive through the five sources (the five senses) is no illusion. All you teach is untrue," etc., etc. The acting Grand Lama contradicts this; but both dispute for some time with one another; and ultimately agree to settle the contest by dice; the Lama consents to change places with the scape-goat if the dice should so decide. The Lama has a dice with six on all six sides and throws six-up three times, while the ghost-king has a dice which throws only one.

When the dice of the priest throws six six times in succession and that of the scape-goat throws only ones, this latter individual, or "Lojon" as he is called, is terrified and flees away upon a white horse, which, with a white dog, a white bird, salt, etc., he has been provided with by government. He is pursued with screams and blank shots as far as the mountains of Chetang, where he has to remain as an outcast for several months in a narrow haunt, which, however, has been previously provided for him with provisions.

We are told that, while en route to Chetang, he is detained for seven days in the great chamber of horrors at Sam-yas monastery filled with the monstrous images of devils and skins of huge serpents and wild animals, all calculated to excite feelings of terror. During his seven days' stay he exercises despotic authority over Sam-yas, and the same during the first seven days of his stay at Chetang. Both Lama and laity give him much alms, as he is believed to sacrifice himself for the welfare of the country. It is said that in former times the man who performed this duty died at Chetang in the course of the year from terror at the awful images he was associated with; but the present scape-goat survives and returns to re-enact his part the following year.
From Chetang, where he stays for seven days, he goes to Lho-ka, where he remains for several months.

-- The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology, and in its Relation to Indian Buddhism, by Laurence Austine Waddell

The Gentoo Ceremony, which was hinted at as bearing a remote Likeness to the Sacrifice of the Scape-Goat, is the Ashummeed Jugg [Ashvamedha], of which a most absurd and fabulous Explanation may be found in the Body of the Code...

That the Curious may form some Idea of this Gentoo Sacrifice when reduced to a Symbol, as well as from the subsequent plain Account given of it in a Chapter of the Code, an Explanation of it is here inserted from Darul Shekuh's [Dara Shikoh's] famous Persian Translation of some Commentaries upon the Four Beids, or original Scriptures of Hindostan: The Work itself is extremely scarce, and perhaps of dubious Authenticity; and it was by mere Accident that this little Specimen was procured.

Explanation of the Ashummeed Jugg.
The Ashummeed Jugg does not merely consist in the Performance of that Ceremony which is open to the Inspection of the World, namely, in bringing a Horse and sacrificing him; but Ashummeed is to be taken in a mystic Signification, as implying, that the Sacrificer must look upon himself to be typified in that Horse, such as he shall be described, because the religious Duty of the Ashummeed Jugg comprehends all those other religious Duties, to the Performance of which all the Wise and Holy direct all their Actions, and by which all the sincere Prosessors of every different Faith aim at Perfection: The mystic Signification thereof is as follows: The Head of that unblemished Horse is the Symbol of the Morning; his Eyes are the Sun; his Breath the Wind; his wide-opening Mouth is the Bishwaner, or that innate Warmth which invigorates all the World; his Body typifies one entire Year; his Back Paradise; his Belly the Plains; his Hoof this Earth; his Sides the four Quarters of the Heavens; the Bones thereof the intermediate Spaces between the four Quarters; the Rest of his Limbs represent all distinct Matter; the Places where those Limbs meet, or his Joints, imply the Months and Halves of the Months, which are called Peche (or Fortnights;) his Feet signify Night and Day; and Night and Day are of four Kinds: 1st. The Night and Day of Brihma; 2d. The Night and Day of Angels; 3d, The Night and Day of the World of the Spirits of deceased Ancestors; 4th. The Night and Day of Mortals: These four Kinds are typified in his four Feet. The Rest of his Bones are the Constellations of the fixed Stars, which are the twenty-eight Stages of the Moon's Course, called the Lunar Year; his Flesh is the Clouds; his Food the Sand; his Tendons the Rivers; his Spleen and Liver the Mountains; the Hair of his Body the Vegetables, and his long Hair the Trees; the Forepart of his Body typifies the first Half of the Day, and the hinder Part the latter Half; his Yawning is the Flash of the Lightning, and his turning himself is the Thunder of the Cloud; his Urine represents the Rain; and his mental Reflection is his only Speech. The golden Vessels which are prepared before the Horse is let loose are the Light of the Day, and the Place where those Vessels are kept is a Type of the Ocean of the East; the silver Vessels which are prepared after the Horse is let loose are the Light of the Night, and the Place where those Vessels are kept is a Type of the Ocean of the West: These two Sorts of Vessels are always before and after the Horse. — The Arabian Horse, which on Account of his Swiftness is called Hy, is the Performer of the Journies of Angels; the Tajee, which is of the Race of Persian Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of the Kundherps (or  good Spirits;) the Wazba, which is of the Race of the deformed Tazee Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of the Jins (or Demons;) and the Ashoo, which is of the Race of Turkish Horses, is the Performer of the Journies of Mankind: This one Horse, which performs these several Services, on Account of his four different Sorts of Riders, obtains the four different Appellations: The Place where this Horse remains is the great Ocean, which signifies the great Spirit of Perm-Atma, or the universal Soul, which proceeds also from that Perm-Atma, and is comprehended in the same Perm-Atma. The Intent of this Sacrifice is, that a Man should consider himself to be in the Place of that Horse, and look upon all these Articles as typified in himself; and, conceiving the Atma (or divine Soul) to be an Ocean, should let all Thought of Self be absorbed in that Atma."

This is the very Acme and Enthusiasm of Allegory, and wonderfully displays the picturesque Powers of Fancy in an Asiatic Genius. But it would not have been inserted at Length in this Place, if the Circumstance of letting loose the Horse had not seemed to bear a great Resemblance to the Ceremonies of the Scape-Goat; and perhaps the known Intention of this latter may plead for the like hidden Meaning in the former.

-- A Code of Gentoo Laws, Or, Ordinations of the Pundits, From a Persian Translation, Made From the Original, Written in the Shanscrit Language, by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed

The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt, 1854.

A scapegoat is a person or animal which takes on the sins of others, or is unfairly blamed for problems. The concept comes originally from Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert with the sins of the community. Other ancient societies had similar practices. In psychology and sociology, the practice of selecting someone as a scapegoat has led to the concept of scapegoating.

And Aaron shall place lots upon the two he goats: one lot "For the Lord," and the other lot, "For Azazel. (for absolute removal)"
— Leviticus, Leviticus 16:8


The word 'scapegoat' is an English translation of the Hebrew azazel (Hebrew: עזאזל) which occurs in Leviticus 16:8. The lexicographer Gesenius[1] and Brown–Driver–Briggs Hebrew Lexicon[2] give la-azazel (Hebrew: עזאזל) as a reduplicative intensive of the stem azel "remove", hence la-azazel, "for entire removal". This reading is supported by the Greek Old Testament translation as "the sender away (of sins)".

"And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel."1
Footnote [1] 16:8 The meaning of Azazel is uncertain. ESV

Alternatively, broadly contemporary with the Septuagint, the pseudepigraphical Book of Enoch may preserve Azazel as the name of a fallen angel.[3][4][5] English Christian Bible versions traditionally follow the translation of the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate which interpret azazel as "the goat that departs" (Greek tragos apopompaios, "goat sent out", Latin caper emissarius, "emissary goat"). William Tyndale rendered the Latin as "(e)scape goat" in his 1530 Bible. This translation was followed by following versions up to the King James Version of the Bible in 1611: "And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat."[6] Several modern versions however either follow the reading as a demon, Azazel, or footnote "for Azazel." as an alternative reading.

Jewish sources in the Talmud (Yoma 6:4,67b) give the etymology of azazel as a compound of "az", strong or rough, and "el", mighty, that the goat was sent from the most rugged or strongest of mountains.[7] From the Targums onwards the term azazel was also seen by some rabbinical commentators as the name of a Hebrew demon, angelic force, or pagan deity.[8] The two readings are still disputed today.[9]


Ancient Syria

A concept superficially similar to the biblical scapegoat is attested in two ritual texts in archives at Ebla of the 24th century BC.[10] They were connected with ritual purification on the occasion of the king's wedding. In them, a she-goat with a silver bracelet hung from her neck was driven forth into the wasteland of "Alini"; "we" in the report of the ritual involves the whole community. Such "elimination rites", in which an animal, without confession of sins, is the vehicle of evils (not sins) that are chased from the community are widely attested in the Ancient Near East.[11]

Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks practiced a scapegoating rite in which a cripple or beggar or criminal (the pharmakos) was cast out of the community, either in response to a natural disaster (such as a plague, famine or an invasion) or in response to a calendrical crisis (such as the end of the year). The scholia refer to the pharmakos being killed, but many scholars reject this, and argue that the earliest evidence (the fragments of the iambic satirist Hipponax) only show the pharmakos being stoned, beaten and driven from the community.[12]

Ancient Judaism

The scapegoat was a goat that was designated (Hebrew לַעֲזָאזֵֽל ) la-aza'zeyl; "for absolute removal", (for symbolic removal of the people's sins with the literal removal of the goat) and outcast in the desert as part of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, that began during the Exodus with the original Tabernacle and continued through the times of the temples in Jerusalem.

Once a year, on Yom Kippur, the Cohen Gadol sacrificed a bull as a sin offering to atone for sins he may have committed unintentionally throughout the year. Subsequently he took two goats and presented them at the door of the tabernacle. Two goats were chosen by lot: one to be "for YHWH", which was offered as a blood sacrifice, and the other to be the scapegoat to be sent away into the wilderness. The blood of the slain goat was taken into the Holy of Holies behind the sacred veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant. Later in the ceremonies of the day, the High Priest confessed the intentional sins of the Israelites to God placing them figuratively on the head of the other goat, the Azazel scapegoat, who would symbolically "take them away".


In Christianity, especially in Protestantism, this process prefigures the sacrifice of Christ on the cross through which God has been propitiated and sins can be expiated. Jesus Christ is seen to have fulfilled all of the Biblical "types" - the High Priest who officiates at the ceremony, the Lord's goat that deals with the pollution of sin and the scapegoat that removes the "burden of sin". Christians believe that sinners who own their guilt and confess their sins, exercising faith and trust in the person and sacrifice of Jesus, are forgiven of their sins.

Seventh-day Adventist Christians understand this symbolism differently. As the Azazel Goat was understood by some Christians of the reformation [13] to represent Satan, Seventh-day Adventists' views harmonize with those of the reformation time period. (See Azazel for detail of this view.)
Since the second goat was sent away to perish,[14] the word "scapegoat" has developed to indicate a person who is blamed and punished for the sins of others.


The concept of scapegoating has become a proverb in many cultures and languages, implying to an innocent person to be blamed for the sin of others. For instance in Persian language the equivalent proverb is "Beheading the Blacksmith of Balkh".[15]


1. Gesenius "I have no doubt that it should be rendered 'averter'"
2. p736
3. Archie T. Wright The origin of evil spirits: the reception of Genesis 6.1-4 Page 111 2005 "However, the corresponding Aramaic fragment of / Enoch 10.4 does not use the name Azazel; instead, the name has been reconstructed by Milik to read Asa'el. Stuckenbruck suggests the presence of the biblical form Azazel in the Ethiopic
4. Wright, David P. "Azazel". Pages 1:536-37 inAnchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman et al. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
5. The symbolism of the Azazel goat Ralph D. Levy 1998 "This is still fairly straightforward, and is translated by the majority of the versions as "for Azazel" (Targums Onkelos and Pseudo-Jonathan follow this understanding, as do the RSV, NRSV, REB, and Tanakh). KJV and NKJV have "to be the scapegoat"
6. The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories. Merriam-Webster. 1991. pp. 411–412. ISBN 978-0-87779-603-9.
7. "AZAZEL". Retrieved 2013-07-04.
8. The JPS guide to Jewish traditions - Page 224 Ronald L. Eisenberg, Jewish Publication Society - 2004 "(Leviticus 16:8–10). In talmudic times, a popular rabbinic interpretation was that Azazel referred to the place to which the goat was sent, the eretz g'zera (inaccessible region) of Leviticus (16:22). Later, Azazel became associated with another..."
9. The JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus Nahum M. Sarna, Chaim Potok, Jewish Publication Society - 1989 " According to the first, Azazel is the name of the place in the wilderness to which the scapegoat was dispatched; ... According to the second line of interpretation, Azazel describes the goat. The word ' azazel is a contraction
10. Zatelli, Ida (April 1998). "The Origin of the Biblical Scapegoat Ritual: The Evidence of Two Eblaite Text". Vetus Testamentum 48 (2): 254–263. doi:10.1163/1568533982721604.
11. David P. Wright, The Disposal of the Impurity: Elimination Rites in the Bible and in Hittite and Mesopotamian Literature (Atlanta: Scholars Press) 1987:15-74.
12. Frazer, Sir James, The Golden Bough. Worsworth Reference. pp 578. ISBN 1-85326-310-9
13. In Paradise Lost (I, 534), Milton uses the name for the standard-bearer of the rebel angels.
14. The Golden Bough pp569 Sir James Frazer, Worsworth Reference ISBN 1-85326-310-9
15. "Beheading the Blacksmith of Balkh: Iranian Americans scapegoated again". the guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-11.
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