Trivia

Hard

The Modern Term “Scapegoat” Comes To Us By Way Of?

Native American Shamans
Roman Politics
Polish Fertility Rites
Ancient Judaic Ritual
The painting, Agnus-Dei: The Scapegoat, by James Tissot.
Brooklyn Museum/Wikimedia

Answer: Ancient Judaic Ritual

In modern usage, a scapegoat is a person blamed for some wrongdoing, mistake, or problem caused by another person and is, typically, punished in their stead. In a family-owned company, for example, workers not related to the family might feel uneasy when one of the owner’s children makes a mistake on the job because they fear the blame could be transferred to them and that they might be the scapegoat for the whole mess.

Transfer is the proper word to use here because if you trace the term “scapegoat” back to its origin, you’ll find a special kind of transfer indeed. In ancient Judaism, the scapegoat was a literal goat that was ritually designated to symbolically take on the sins of the people during the Day of Atonement ceremonies.

The High Priest would confess the intentional sins of the people during a ceremony, placing them figuratively on the head of the chosen goat, which would symbolically “take them away”. The goat would then be driven out into the desert as part of the ceremonies, taking the sins of the people with it.

Today, even though most people are unaware of the historical context, it retains the general meaning with the person serving as the scapegoat often being driven from the community—typically a workplace or organization—to serve as the “sacrifice” that restores order.

Trivia

Hard

Denim Fabric Derives Its Name From A?

Trivia

Hard

Famed Psychologist B.F. Skinner Once Taught Pigeons To?

Trivia

Hard

Exposure To What Made Hat Makers In The 19th Century “Mad Hatters”?

Trivia

Hard

Which Mammal Has The Most Teeth?

Trivia

Hard

The Target Corporation Runs A State-of-the-Art Lab Devoted To What?

Trivia

Hard

The Largest Flying Creature In History Was The?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Last Surviving Member Of A Species Is Known As?

Trivia

Hard

Modern Cattle Are Descended From Which Of These Extinct Creatures?

Trivia

Hard

A Spider In The Amazon Jungle Is Unique In That It?

Trivia

Hard

What Was The First Random-Access Memory Device?