At the beginning of his treatise on sacrifice, Lucian satirizes a commercialized view of religious rites: “With the Gods, clearly, nothing goes for nothing. Each blessing has its price. Health is to be had, say, for a calf; wealth, for a couple of yoke of oxen; a kingdom, for a hecatomb. A safe conduct from Troy to Pylos has fetched as much as nine bulls, and a passage from Aulis to Troy has been quoted at a princess. For six yoke of oxen and a robe, Athene sold Hecuba a reprieve for Troy; and it is to be presumed that a cock, a garland, a handful of frankincense, will each buy something.” Despite his mockery directed at Christians, Lucian adopts a quasi-Christian attitude toward sacrifice.
Among others, he is anticipated by Philo, who insists that it is impossible to express gratitude to God in sacrifice, but only “by means of hymns of praise” (Noah’s Work as a Planter, 126). One wonders what effect this disapora Jewish perspective had on ancient attitudes toward sacrifice. In every major city, pagans encountered Jews who worshiped God without a temple.