Kingship and Sacrifice: Ritual and Society in Ancient Hawaii

Valerio Valeri presents an overview of Hawaiian religious culture in this text. As the sacrifice is performed, the worshipper is incorporated into the god of his class. Thus he draws on divine power to sustain the social order of which his action is a part, and in which his own place is determined by the degree of his resemblance to his god. The key to Hawaiian society—and a central focus for Valeri—is the complex and encompassing sacrificial ritual that is the responsibility of the king, for it displays in concrete actions all the concepts of pre-Western Hawaiian society. By interpreting and understanding this ritual cycle, Valeri contends, we can interpret all of Hawaiian religious culture.

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