Just a quick question (in relation to Lecture 22): You point out that the Sadducees were in charge of the sacrifices prescribed by the mosaic law.
Do you happen to know, whether the objects of these sacrifices were animals only or whether human beings (as it seems commonplace in strikingly many ancient civilisations) or even kids were the objects of such sacrificial rituals as well?
I’m not an expert like Dr. J, but from what I remember, there were no human/child sacrifices under the Mosaic law. The Israelites did ften offer their firstborn as sacrifices, though, in Old Testament times, in worship to Baal/Molech. From what I’ve been told, Baal was a fertility God, and the sacrifice of the firstborn was to supposedly ensure future kids.
That was one of the reasons, I was told, that the prophets of the Old Testament (Elijah, etc.) hated Baal worship so much.
mlandis is correct in that the Mosaic law specifically forbade human sacrifice in tabernacle/temple ceremony, and also that at times in the OT period Hebrews sacrificed people anyway under the influence of the surrounding cultures.
During the first century A.D., the ceremonial requirements of the Mosaic Law with respect to the temple were observed pretty strictly by the Sadducees, and I know of no instance of human sacrifice taking place.