So both the Hebrew term זבח and the Greek term θυσία need to be understood in a broader sense. Another general Hebrew term for sacrifices, קרבן, literally means "what is brought near" and will be translated as "offering," just like its Greek rendering προσφορά. Once more, neither the Hebrew nor the Greek term stresses or alludes to animal slaughter. Instead, both express the inherent dynamics of a sacrificial ritual which, throughout its performance, "moves" toward the most holy altar, thus "approaching" God who resides in the sanctuary. Therefore a first conclusion of this survey of the sacrificial cult in the HB/OT is that the slaughter of animals is rather insignificant. (44; my emphasis)
I was a bit surprised to see the word "insignificant" used to describe the "slaughter" of sacrificial animals; I would have thought that if death weren't an important part of the idea then some animals would have been offered alive (and kept that way). But at the same time I find myself somewhat persuaded that the emphasis of this language is on "giving (up) to God" rather than "killing (for God)."
This has some rather important consequences for a number of well-known (and well-worn) passages from the NT, including 1 John 1.7 and Rom 12.1–2, which Eberhart touches on (50–55). And while sometimes he seems to be making distinctions without meaningful differences (e.g., 52, n. 32), I do find his reading compelling.
My question is, Do any of you—who probably know more about the sacrificial cult in the Hebrew Bible, in second-Temple Judaism, or as refracted in the NT—find Eberhart's argument as compelling as I do? Is there something to be said in defense of the traditional emphasis of sacrifice on "death" rather than—or simply more than—on "offering"?