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By D. Z. Phillips

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By thinking that the scapegoat can take away sins, the legitimate longing of a people to be freed from their sins is obscured and distorted. What 'being freed from sin' amounts to, how it is taken and understood, changes accordingly; it may take on a magical significance. The prophets, of course, criticised such magical conceptions of rituals. Mechanistic views of participation in the Eucharist have been subjected to similar criticisms. Compare how a belief that one's sins are washed away by bathing in a holy river may develop in diverse directions, some religious, others superstitious.

Nor does anyone now. )' 24 Consider the following comment on the same ritual which, to some extent, but not entirely, recognises the difficulty: On the ritual of the scapegoat, Matthew Henry observes that it 'had been a jest, nay an affront to God, if he himself had not ordained it' ... But in these days can we any longer say that God ordained it? Ritual may be a substitute for true religion or it may be its natural and spontaneous expression .... Men may take a magical view of the sacraments, as of such rites as the scapegoat ...

Wittgenstein says that the instances are countless and extremely varied. Nor will it do to say that what giving an order amounts to always comes to the same thing. 'What the general commands', 'What the gods command', and 'What the state commands' are importantly different. I mean that the grammar of 'command' is importantly different in each case. This can be illustrated by Wittgenstein's own examples of language-games. He gives the following list: 'Asking, thanking, cursing, greeting, praying'.

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