View Full Version : scapegoat

solomon levi
12-16-2012, 02:17 PM
This is a much confused term. It is generally thought of as someone who takes the blame.
This is true - one who takes the sins of others upon oneself - not unlike Jesus.
What is confused is that this comes from the Bible and hebrew word Azazel, which is
more specifically OZ AZL, the departing goat.
The word somehow became demonised as if Azazel was an entity goats were being sacrificed to.
But it seems obvious to me that the departing goat is the same as the rejected stone.
Another interpretation is the repetitive AZ-AZ, meaning absolutely departed/removed, which would
then make this synonymous with the Void/Unconscious.
Some interpret OZAZL as "strengthened by God", but I don't see the word "God"/AL/EL in there.
That would make it OZAZAL, which is not the spelling. AZL means departing/removed.
OZ means goat or strength.

In greek the term was pharmakos, which is quite interesting seeing how drugs have become
the scapegoat for many causes. But in older times, it referred to a person, usually a criminal,
who would be cast out or punished to atone for the sins of a community, especially if, say, the
crops were failing or something - they thought god wanted a sacrifice.
So the scapegoat is the sacrificial lamb is Jesus is Azazel.

12-17-2012, 08:42 AM
The book "The Golden Bough" by Frazer contains several examples of pharmakos/scapegoat rituals.

In Greece the idea involved the exile and sometimes the sacrifice of a person... but not an average criminal, an important person. His sacrifice or exile also meant a sacrifice to the community. The pharmakos had to be a "wise" man.
The exile of Oedipus is the typical case of the exile of a pharmakos. Socrates was a pharmakos too.
Not every sacrifice in the Greek-Roman world involves the idea of a pharmakos... I think iphigenia, whilst probably a myth, wasn't exactly a pharmakos.

It is interesting how the death of some Pharmakos inspired other people to try to change society by continuing their works (Plato's work can be seen as a reaction against the death of Socrates, whilst Jesus had a strong reaction against the death of John the Baptist).

solomon levi
12-17-2012, 04:43 PM
Great points Zoas23.
That makes sense with the wise man. Jesus would be a good example of a pharmakos, especially if
one considers the vinegar-like drink he was given as pharmakeia, in order to appear dead.

Exile... lapis exillis!