I don't imagine anyone reads the old covenant sacrificial record with a sense of inward delight. It all smacks of occultish blood-letting. The violence and suffering doesnt sit well in the stomach. Chapter after chapter repeating Gods emphasis on the importance of the shedding of blood seems contradictory to Jesus telling His followers to respond to personal wrongs suffered by turning the other cheek.
All of this to say, while I'm disappointed, I'm not surprised at the abundance of modern writers trying to bleach the bloodshed from our Bibles. Old covenant sacrifices seem to fit better in the world of witch-doctors and snake handlers. They will never market well in a world where tolerance and live and let live are the new standards of God-like character.
The anti-wrath movement is the new trend. It has many contemporary theologians lined up like ducks all in a row. You can find them all in the same theological box. Brian Zahnd's comments in his book, "Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God" can be found in very similar words in dozens of contemporary church leaders:
"Does God require animal sacrifice? The priests and the Levites say yes, and that's what we find in the Torah. But eventually the psalmists and prophets begin to challenge this. David says, 'Sacrifice and offering you do not desire....Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required' [remember those two verses for later]. In this psalm David brashly contradicts the Torah's unambiguous laws requiring animal sacrifice! Later Hosea claims that God doesn't want sacrifice but mercy."
"...The Bible itself is on the quest to discover the Word of God....The Old Testament begins with a primitive assumption that God requires ritual sacrifice but eventually moves away from that position....It seems obvious that we should accept that as Israel was in the process of receiving the revelation of Yahweh, some unavoidable assumptions were made. One of the assumptions was that Yahweh shared the violent attributes of other deities worshiped in the ancient Near east. These assumptions were inevitable, but they were wrong..."
Just to be clear, Zahnd is saying these Old Testament priests and prophets and leaders thought they were receiving the instruction for these animal sacrifices from God, but they weren't. They were merely copying the idolatrous pagan nations around them and those nations had these monstrous ideas that the gods demanded these violent, bloody sacrifices to make them happy.