Trivia

Hard

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

Native American Shamans
Polish Fertility Rites
Roman Politics
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

Which Star’s Height Added $150,000 To Star Wars Set Construction Costs?

Trivia

Hard

The Only People To Have Won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize Both Happen To Be?

Trivia

Hard

Now A Sci-Fi Staple, The Term “Earthling” Originally Referred To?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Only Natural Lake In The World That Drains Into Two Oceans Is?

Trivia

Easy

Many Airlines, To Prevent Disruption Of Cockpit Operations, Require Their Pilots and Co-Pilots To?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Weather Phenomena Are Known As “St. Elmo’s Fire”?

Trivia

Hard

The Generation Between Generation X And The Millennials Is Known As The?

Trivia

Hard

Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle Is Widely Used By What Organization?

Trivia

Hard

Mock Turtle Soup Is Not Made From Turtles But?

Trivia

Easy

In The U.S. Skin Cancer Appears Most Often On The Left Side Of The Body Because Of?