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Cannibalism Chabura

Cannibalism Chabura

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Come for the shock value, stay for the big and important ideas! Chabura on Cannibalism, going through some of its history, its appearances in Jewish sources, the halakhic opinions, and the ramifications for Jewish Thought. Cannibalism, throughout both Jewish and non-Jewish sources, is seen as a horrific act which puts a person or culture below the level of civilization. Yet, it is relatively halakhically unproblematic. Thus it becomes a good test case for the effect of morality on halakhic decisions.
Come for the shock value, stay for the big and important ideas! Chabura on Cannibalism, going through some of its history, its appearances in Jewish sources, the halakhic opinions, and the ramifications for Jewish Thought. Cannibalism, throughout both Jewish and non-Jewish sources, is seen as a horrific act which puts a person or culture below the level of civilization. Yet, it is relatively halakhically unproblematic. Thus it becomes a good test case for the effect of morality on halakhic decisions.

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Published by: Aqibha Y. Weisinger Etc on Jul 12, 2011
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06/19/2014

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CANNIBALISM
The Basic Facts
(Before we get to the real meaty issues)(I went there)
Cannibalism
 (from Caníbales, the Spanish name for the Carib people ,
 a West Indies tribe formerly well known for their practice of cannibalism
 is the act or practice of h!mans eatin" the flesh of other h!man bein"s# It is also calledanthropopha"y# $ person who practices cannibalism is called a
cannibal
# %istorically, alle"ations of cannibalism were !sed by the colonial powers to &!stify the ensla'ement of what were seen as primiti'e peoples cannibalism has been said to test the bo!nds of  c!lt!ral relati'ism as it challen"es anthropolo"ists )to define what is or is not beyond the pale of acceptable h!man beha'ior)#
Cannibalism has been occasionally practiced as a last resort by people s!fferin" from famine# +ccasionally it has occ!rred in modern times# $ famo!s eample is the crash of -r!"!ayan $ir .orce .li"ht /01, after which some s!r'i'ors ate the bodies of dead passen"ers# $lso, some mentally ill indi'id!als obsess abo!t eatin" others and act!ally do so, s!ch as effrey ahmer  and  $lbert .ish # 3here is a resistance to formally labellin" cannibalism as a mental  disorder #
3he reasons for cannibalism incl!de the followin"4
 $s sanctioned by a c!lt!ral norm
5y necessity in etreme sit!ations of famine
Self  6cannibalism is a form of ma&or self6in&!ry !s!ally as a res!lt of ma&or mental illness#
Ca!sed by insanity or social de'iancy (Cannibalism is not mentioned in the formal inde of insanity, the ia"nostic and Statistical 7an!al of  7ental isorders # 3he medical literat!re on the topic is likewise sparse#
3here are f!ndamentally two kinds of cannibalistic social beha'ior4 endocannibalism (eatin" h!mans from the same comm!nity and eocannibalism (eatin" h!mans from other comm!nities#
 
Cannibalism as an eolutionary strategy of !re"ator control
oseph ordania recently s!""ested that remo'in" the dead bodies thro!"h rit!al cannibalism mi"ht ha'e had a f!nction of predator control in hominids and early h!mans, aimin" to eliminate predators8 and sca'en"ers8 access to hominid (and h!man bodies#
#omici"al cannibalism an" necro$cannibalism
 $ separate ethical distinction can be made between killin" a h!man for food (homicidal cannibalism and eatin" the flesh of a person who was already dead (necro 6cannibalism #3he social sti"ma a"ainst cannibalism has been !sed as an aspect of propa"anda a"ainst an enemy by acc!sin" them of acts of cannibalism to separate them from their h!manity# 3he Carib tribe in the :esser $ntilles , from whom the word cannibalism deri'es, for eample, ac;!ired a lon"6standin" rep!tation as cannibals followin" the recordin" of their le"ends in the 10th cent!ry#
 Some contro'ersy eists o'er the acc!racy of these le"ends and the pre'alence of act!al cannibalism in the c!lt!re#!rin" their period of epansion in the 1/th thro!"h 10th cent!ries, <!ropeans e;!ated cannibalism with e'il and sa'a"ery# In the 1=th cent!ry, >ope Innocent I? declared cannibalism a sin deser'in" to be p!nished by Christians thro!"h force of arms and @!een Isabella of Spain decreed that Spanish colonists co!ld only le"ally ensla'e nati'es who were cannibals, "i'in" the colonists an economic interest in makin" s!ch alle"ations# 3his was !sed as a &!stification for employin" 'iolent means to s!b&!"ate nati'e people# 3his theme dates back to Col!mb!s8 acco!nts of a s!pposedly ferocio!s "ro!p of cannibals who li'ed in the Caribbean islands and parts of So!th $merica called the Caniba, which "a'e !s the word cannibal#
>rior to 1AB1,
reporter William 5!ehler Seabrook , alle"edly in the interests of )research), obtained from a hospital intern at the Sorbonne a ch!nk of h!man meat from the body of a healthy h!man killed in an accident, then cooked and ate it# %e reported, )It was like "ood, f!lly6de'eloped 'eal, not yo!n", b!t not yet beef# It was 'ery definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had e'er tasted# It was so nearly like "ood, f!lly de'eloped 'eal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensiti'eness co!ld distin"!ish it from 'eal# It was mild, "ood meat with no other sharply defined or hi"hly characteristic taste s!ch as for instance, "oat, hi"h "ame, and pork ha'e# 3he steak was sli"htly to!"her than prime 'eal, a little strin"y, b!t not too to!"h or strin"y to be a"reeably edible# 3he roast, from which I c!t and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, tet!re, smell as well as taste, stren"thened my certainty that of all the meats we habit!ally know, 'eal is the one meat to which this meat is acc!rately comparable#)
 
.amo!s Instances +f Cannibalism
3he case of
(199 1 @5 20B (@5 is an <n"lish case which dealt with fo!r crew members of an <n"lish yacht, the
Mignonette
, who were cast away in a storm some 1,=** miles (2,=** km from the Cape of Dood %ope # $fter se'eral days one of the crew, a se'enteen year old cabin boy, fell !nconscio!s d!e to a combination of the famine and drinkin" seawater# 3he others (one possibly ob&ectin" decided then to kill him and eat him# 3hey were picked !p fo!r days later# 3wo of the three s!r'i'ors were fo!nd "!ilty of m!rder# $ si"nificant o!tcome of this case was that necessity was determined to be no defence a"ainst a char"e of m!rder#3he 7!slim eplorer  Ibn 5at!tta reported that one $frican kin" ad'ised him that nearby people were cannibals (tho!"h this may ha'e been a prank played on Ibn 5at!tta by the kin" in order to fl!ster his "!est# %owe'er 5at!tta reported that $rabs and Christians were safe , as their flesh was )!nripe) and wo!ld ca!se the eater to fall ill# $s with most l!rid tales of nati'e cannibalism, these stories are treated with a "reat deal of scr!tiny, as acc!sations of cannibalism were often !sed as &!stifications for the s!b&!"ation or destr!ction of )sa'a"es)# %owe'er, there were se'eral well6doc!mented c!lt!res that en"a"ed in re"!lar eatin" of the dead, s!ch as Eew Fealand8s 7Gori# In one infamo!s 19*A incident, == passen"ers and crew of the ship the 5oyd were killed and eaten by 7Gori on the Whan"aroa penins!la, Eorthland# (
See also: Boyd massacre
 Cannibalism was already a re"!lar practice in 7Gori wars#
 In another instance, on 11 !ly 1921 warriors from the E"ap!hi tribe killed 2,*** enemies and remained on the battlefield )eatin" the 'an;!ished !ntil they were dri'en off by the smell of decayin" bodies)#
 7Gori warriors fi"htin" the Eew Fealand "o'ernment in 3itokowar! 8 s War  in Eew Fealand8s Eorth Island in 19=9H=A re'i'ed ancient rites of cannibalism as part of the radical %a!ha! mo'ement of the >ai 7arire reli"ion In colonial amestown, colonists resorted to cannibalism d!rin" a period known as the Star'in" 3ime, from 1=*AH1=1*# $fter food s!pplies were diminished, some colonists be"an to di" !p corpses for food# !rin" this time period, one man was pers!aded to confess to ha'in" killed, salted, and eaten his pre"nant wife before he was b!rned ali'e as p!nishment

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