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Re: [XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement

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  • Steve Black
    ... Another very interesting book to consider regarding antecedents for Christian theology is Jon Levenson s, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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      On Tuesday, November 11, 2003, at 11:51 AM, Richard H. Anderson wrote:

      > Michael M. Yugovich, greetings and Welcome to Crosstalk2:
      >
      > You ask: Did Christian theology have any antecedents?
      >
      > The core doctrine of Christianity is the statement that Jesus died
      > on the cross for our sins. [snip]...

      Another very interesting book to consider regarding antecedents for
      Christian theology is Jon Levenson's, "The Death and Resurrection of
      the Beloved Son" (1993, Yale University Press) where the theme of the
      loss and subsequent return of a beloved son is shown to be an important
      and recurring theme in the Hebrew Scriptures demonstrating that this
      theme also is not a Christian invention/innovation.

      Steve Black
      Vancouver School of Theology
      Vancouver, BC
      Canada

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Lisbeth S. Fried
      ... From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@comcast.net] Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 9:52 PM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: [XTalk] Re:
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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        -----Original Message-----
        From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 9:52 PM
        To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement


        Michael M. Yugovich, greetings and Welcome to Crosstalk2:

        You ask: Did Christian theology have any antecedents?

        The core doctrine of Christianity is the statement that Jesus died
        on the cross for our sins. Scholars have debated the origins of the
        doctrine of atonement generally referred to as the theology of the
        cross. The true origin of the doctrine is in the death of the Jewish
        High Priest. The death of the High Priest had atoning significance.
        The Jews believed that the death of the High Priest had atoning
        significance. Persons charged with accidental homicide who had fled
        to a city of refuge were permitted to return home after the death of
        the High Priest without facing prosecution [Num. 35: 11, 25, 28,
        32]. The death of the High Priest was regarded as atonement for the
        innocent blood that had been shed. Jacob Milgrom in his JPS Torah
        Commentary on Numbers with respect to Num. 35:25 states 'As the High
        Priest atones for Israel's sins through his cultic service in his
        lifetime (Exod. 28:36; Lev. 16:16, 21), so he atones for homicide
        through his death.

        Dear Richard,
        I respectfully disagree with both you and with Prof. Milgrom here.
        I usually accept Milgrom's opinion's on most everything, but this,
        pardon the expression, is utter nonsense!
        The rabbis delveloped this theme to explain the biblical verse. It
        is totoal midrash, and total rubbish.
        If there is any truth to the notion at all that there were cities of
        refuge where those accused of manslaughter could flee, and if there
        is any truth at all to the notion that the accusation ended when the
        high priest died (all of which I sincerely doubt), then I suspect it may
        be related more to the notion of the anduarum. The anduarum was the
        release of debts which occurred Old Babylonian times when a new king
        came to the throne. The new king would declare a release of debts.
        If the idea of new High Priest is modeled after the new king, the author
        might be trying to suggest that a new priest on his throne would be
        accompannied by a similar release of debts and a general amnesty.
        This has zero to do with an antoning value of the high priest.

        Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian mystery
        religions involving participation in the death and resurrection of the
        dying
        and rising god. It has naught to do with Judaism.

        Best,
        Liz Fried

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      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... [snip] ... I have grave doubts that the center of NT theology is where you say it is. But even if we accept the truth of what you say, your thesis about
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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          "Richard H. Anderson" wrote:

          > Michael M. Yugovich, greetings and Welcome to Crosstalk2:
          >
          > You ask: Did Christian theology have any antecedents?
          >
          > The core doctrine of Christianity is the statement that Jesus died
          > on the cross for our sins.

          [snip]

          > Therefore the origin of the most important doctrine in Christianity
          > can be traced to Judaism and its High Priest.

          I have grave doubts that the center of NT theology is where you say it
          is. But even if we accept the truth of what you say, your thesis about
          the origin of this center seems to me not only highly questionable (have
          you really interpreted the Numbers text or what Milgrom says about it
          correctly? Does Milgrom himself assert that the background of atonement
          theology in the NT is where you say it is? Was there really an idea of
          atonement for **all** sins attached to the high priest's death in first
          century Judaism? And even if there was, does, e.g., Paul, for whom
          "Christ died for us" is an exceptionally important topos, second only,
          as Hengel has argued, to proclamations of Jesus' resurrection, ever
          allude or appeal to this idea? Does the author of 1 Peter? Does
          Mark?).

          It is also something that seemingly ignores the fact that there were
          other -- and far more widely known and more conspicuously analogous --
          "theologies" of atoning death apart from the one you argue for known to
          NT writers.

          Another curious thing about your thesis is that those like Sam Williams
          (_Jesus Death as Saving Event_) ; David Seely (_The Noble Death_);
          Martin Hengel (_the Atonement_) who have dealt with the origins of the
          "dying for others/our sins" formula and the origin of the idea of Jesus
          death as atoning have *never* felt that the place where you see the
          origin of the atonement idea found in early Christianity is where you
          say it is, let alone that your interpretation of the death of the high
          priest as "atonement" is correct.

          Can you explain this?

          Yours,

          Jeffrey Gibson
          --

          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

          1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
          Chicago, IL 60626

          jgibson000@...



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jeffrey B. Gibson
          ... Besides the fact that what you see as part and parcel of the so called mystery religions was actually never one of their emphases or that there was any
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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            "Lisbeth S. Fried" wrote:

            > Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian mystery
            > religions involving participation in the death and resurrection of
            > the
            > dying
            > and rising god. It has naught to do with Judaism.
            >

            Besides the fact that what you see as part and parcel of the so called
            "mystery religions" was actually never one of their emphases or that
            there was any borrowing on the part of early Christianity from these
            "religions" (see David Seeley's deconstruction of these notions in his
            _The Noble Death_ as well as the destruction of the ideas by Burket in
            his _The Mystery Religions_ and by J. Smith in his _Drudgery Divine_) ,
            your assertion about proclamations of Jesus (or any Jewish martyr's
            death) as atoning as having naught to do with Judaism rides roughshod
            over the data in 4 Maccabees. May I recommend that you have a look at
            Sam Williams' _Jesus Death as Saving Event_ and especially at Martin
            Hengel's _The Atonement_? And there's that nice little discussion of
            the Greek background of the "dying for us/our sins" proclamation found
            in Paul available at

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/files/Paul%27sDyingFormula.pdf

            and at:

            http://www.ibiblio.org/corpus-paul/afr/Paul's+Dying+Formula.pdf

            under the title of little "Paul's "'Dying Formula"" Prolegomena to
            Understanding Its Import and Significance".

            Yours,

            Jeffrey


            --

            Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

            1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
            Chicago, IL 60626

            jgibson000@...



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Lisbeth S. Fried
            I have certainly read Burkett s book on Mystery Religion s and see a reinforcement of the theory of Christianity s dependence on these ideas. Paul refers to
            Message 5 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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              I have certainly read Burkett's book on Mystery Religion's
              and see a reinforcement of the theory of Christianity's
              dependence on these ideas. Paul refers to Christianity as
              a mystery. Paul's emphasis on putting off the sinful material
              body and putting on the spiritual body of Christ through baptism
              is the participation in the death and resurrection of the god through
              that rite.
              Sorry, it ain't Jewish -- it's Greek/Egyptian.
              You'll have to show me some *pre-Christian* Jewish evidence in order for
              me to accept the notion that a doctrine of vicarious atonement is
              Jewish.
              Best,
              Liz
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Jeffrey B. Gibson [mailto:jgibson000@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 10:54 PM
              To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement




              "Lisbeth S. Fried" wrote:

              > Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian mystery
              > religions involving participation in the death and resurrection of
              > the
              > dying
              > and rising god. It has naught to do with Judaism.
              >

              Besides the fact that what you see as part and parcel of the so called
              "mystery religions" was actually never one of their emphases or that
              there was any borrowing on the part of early Christianity from these
              "religions" (see David Seeley's deconstruction of these notions in his
              _The Noble Death_ as well as the destruction of the ideas by Burket in
              his _The Mystery Religions_ and by J. Smith in his _Drudgery Divine_) ,
              your assertion about proclamations of Jesus (or any Jewish martyr's
              death) as atoning as having naught to do with Judaism rides roughshod
              over the data in 4 Maccabees. May I recommend that you have a look at
              Sam Williams' _Jesus Death as Saving Event_ and especially at Martin
              Hengel's _The Atonement_? And there's that nice little discussion of
              the Greek background of the "dying for us/our sins" proclamation found
              in Paul available at


              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/files/Paul%27sDyingFormula.pd
              f

              and at:

              http://www.ibiblio.org/corpus-paul/afr/Paul's+Dying+Formula.pdf

              under the title of little "Paul's "'Dying Formula"" Prolegomena to
              Understanding Its Import and Significance".

              Yours,

              Jeffrey


              --

              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
              Chicago, IL 60626

              jgibson000@...



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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            • Bob Schacht
              ... Is it really? According to who? Other core doctrines abound, e.g., that Jesus was THE son of God (GJohn), or the centrality of the Resurrection (Paul),
              Message 6 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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                At 07:51 PM 11/11/2003 +0000, Richard H. Anderson wrote:
                >Michael M. Yugovich, greetings and Welcome to Crosstalk2:
                >
                >You ask: Did Christian theology have any antecedents?
                >
                >The core doctrine of Christianity is the statement that Jesus died
                >on the cross for our sins. ...

                Is it really? According to who?

                Other "core doctrines" abound, e.g., that Jesus was THE son of God (GJohn),
                or the centrality of the Resurrection (Paul), or Soteriological doctrines
                ("What must I do to be saved?"). There were many strands of early
                Christianity before the Nicene Creed (or even the Apostle's Creed) became
                normative, and each had its own "core doctrines."

                The first answer to Yugovich's question should be obvious: Christian
                theology is largely based on Jewish theology. Every response that does not
                begin with that basic fact is off on the wrong foot to start out with. But
                I take it that there is an implicit assumption within the question that
                takes for granted the Jewish connection and seeks to ask what is different
                about Christian theology, when compared with Jewish theology, and where
                does that begin?

                One good place to start is with Jesus himself, and with E.P. Sanders'
                attempts to deal with this question, e.g. in his The Historical Figure of
                Jesus. I start with Sanders here because he is one of the few to seriously
                think of Jesus as a *theologian.* Of course, he does not use that word in
                the modern sense, but in its basic elemental sense, and that is probably
                the best place to start. At this stage, doctrine is not yet an issue,
                although theology certainly is. So I begin by suggesting that Christian
                theology began before Christian doctrine became established.

                Next, we must not jump too quickly to equating theology with Christology.
                Jesus' theology was about God, and what he thought God was doing, or
                wanted, or whatever.

                It is reasonable to ask if Jesus' theology included anything about the
                cross, or at least, in Anderson's words, "that Jesus died on the cross for
                our sins." I think that Anderson's formulation depends on later
                developments (e.g., by Paul and later "Fathers" of the church). However,
                one might argue that the Markan refrain contains the original Christian
                theology, i.e., "Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must
                undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests,
                and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." (8:31 &
                //). The Markan repetition of this point might be taken as an indication
                that it was an early liturgical formula.

                I take it that there were at least several early Christian theologies: One
                was probably Pauline, and another Jewish Christian. They differed as to
                whether Jesus was understood as fully human, or as God incarnate. They
                probably also differed in their theology of the resurrection. Not long
                after Paul and James, additional theological traditions began to emerge,
                e.g. a rather gnostic tendency to see Jesus as fully divine, and
                assimilating ideas from Middle Platonism.

                Whether or not one agrees with these specifics, I want to redirect
                attention from later Christian doctrines to First Century probabilities,
                beginning with Jesus himself, and to the various threads of Jewish theology
                current in the First century (e.g., Pharisaic, Sadducean, Essene). It would
                be interesting to hear Jim Davila's take on this.

                Bob Schacht, Ph.D.
                Northern Arizona University



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... To convince me that you ve not read into Paul what you think is there, you ll have to point me to where Burket says this (especially in the light of his
                Message 7 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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                  "Lisbeth S. Fried" wrote:

                  > I have certainly read Burkett's book on Mystery Religion's
                  > and see a reinforcement of the theory of Christianity's
                  > dependence on these ideas. Paul refers to Christianity as
                  > a mystery. Paul's emphasis on putting off the sinful material
                  > body and putting on the spiritual body of Christ through baptism
                  > is the participation in the death and resurrection of the god through
                  > that rite.

                  To convince me that you've not read into Paul what you think is there,
                  you'll have to point me to where Burket says this (especially in the
                  light of his assertions on p. 23 that "while it is tempting to assume
                  that the central idea of all initiations [in the mysteries] should be
                  death and resurrection ... the pagan evidence for pagan resurrection
                  symbolism is uncompelling at best" and on p. 75 that "There is a
                  dimension of death in all of the mystery initiations, but the concept of
                  rebirth or resurrection of either Gods ot mystae is anything but
                  explicit:.

                  You'll also have to show me why and how G. Wagner, who set out to
                  examine the validity of the claims you are making about what Paul's
                  terminology indicated Paul believed regarding Jesus death in his
                  _Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries: The Problem of the Pauline
                  Doctrine of Baptism in Romans VI, 1-11, in the Light of Its
                  Religio-Historical; "Parallels"_ , came to the conclusion, after
                  examining even the remotest parallels in the primary data on the
                  Mysteries in Greek Roman and Egyptian literature, that the mysteries
                  are not the source for Paul's language about Jesus death or the origin
                  of his beliefs about its atoning significance.

                  You'll also have to show me where it is indicated in the actual primary
                  sources which describe ot attest to the beliefs of the cults of Isis or
                  Osiris, or of Attis and Cybelle, or of Dionysus or Adonis, or of Mithras
                  or Demeter, that there was **any** idea of resurrection of these cult
                  figures or of those who believed in them that was held by members of
                  these cults or that, contrary to what the old History of Religions
                  School asserted early in the 20th century, the whole idea of any
                  ancient Mediterranean acceptance of and belief in "dying and rising
                  saviours" is, as Jonathan Smith (_Drudgery Divine_ 101-105; "Dying and
                  Rising Gods" in M. Eliade, ed. _Encyclopedia of Religion_ 4:521-527 and
                  many others like A. Wedderburn ("Paul and the Mystery Cults: On Posing
                  the Right Questions" , P. Lambrechts (especially _De fenomenologyische
                  Methode in Godsdienst-wetenschap_) , and K. Prumm ("Mystery" in
                  Sacramentum Verbi and "I considetti "dei morti e risort"
                  nell'Ellenisimo") have argued, a product of the modern imagination, a
                  "category of more interest to the history of scholarship than to the
                  history of religions".

                  It's curious, isn't it, if we grant any degree of historicity to Luke's
                  depiction of Paul's Areopagus speech, that no one there amongst the
                  people Paul preached to -- people we would have every reason to expect
                  as knowing what the beliefs of the "Mystery Religions" -- had a clue as
                  to what Paul is talking about when he preaches on Jesus as the
                  resurrected one. This should not have been the case if your scenario is
                  true.

                  As ever,

                  Jeffrey
                  --

                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                  Chicago, IL 60626

                  jgibson000@...



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Richard H. Anderson
                  Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote: Was there really an idea of atonement for **all** sins attached to the high priest s death in first century Judaism? RHA: NO, this
                  Message 8 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
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                    Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote: Was there really an idea of
                    atonement for **all** sins attached to the high priest's death in first
                    century Judaism?

                    RHA: NO, this relates only to manslaughter. see verses cited.

                    And even if there was, does, e.g., Paul, for whom
                    "Christ died for us" is an exceptionally important topos, second only,
                    as Hengel has argued, to proclamations of Jesus' resurrection, ever
                    allude or appeal to this idea? Does the author of 1 Peter? Does
                    Mark?).

                    In my email I cited Heb. 2:17 which states: 'Therefore he [Jesus] had to be
                    made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and
                    faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins
                    of the people'. This response discuss Heb. 2:10 which serves as an
                    introduction to Heb. 2:17.
                    As long as the Temple stood, the High Priest was in office, the Day of
                    Atonement was being observed and Judaism recognized the followers of Jesus
                    as Jews there was no need or reason for Luke to proclaim a theology of the
                    cross. Judaism defined atonement to be the reconciliation between God and
                    man through repentance. The role of the High Priest in obtaining that
                    atonement was recognized by Josephus in Bell. 4.318 wherein he called the
                    Jews' High Priest 'the captain of their salvation.'
                    In Hebrews 2:10 we read: For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and
                    by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the
                    captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. In most
                    translations, archegos [Strong's 747] is translated something other than
                    "captain." By translating as captain, we can draw a direct connection
                    between the Jewish belief of the role of the High Priest in obtaining that
                    atonement and Jesus who becomes the new High Priest and who is called by the
                    author of the Epistle to the Hebrews "captain of their salvation. The author
                    of the epistle intends to draws upon the belief structure relating to the
                    Jewish High Priest including the limited atonement value of his death to
                    show the superior efficiacy of the new High Priest with unlimited atonement
                    value because he died on the cross for our sins. Therefore no further
                    sacrifices are necessary. The author of the Epistle has equated the Jewish
                    High Priest with Jesus the new High Priest only to show the inferiority of
                    the Jewish High Priest. He has done so by appropriating all of the belief
                    structure pertaining to the Jewish High Priest, including but not limited
                    to, the title, "captain of their salvation".
                    Mark does allude by using ransom in 10:45. But there could be no ransom in
                    Judaism when a life has been taken. Luke has no equivalent of the ransom
                    saying (Mk 10:45; Matt 20:28) nor of Matthew's connection of Jesus' covenant
                    blood with the remission of sins (Mt 26:28). [I accept the conclusions of
                    Bart Ehrman that verses {Lk 22:19b-20} were added by second century
                    scribes.]

                    Richard H. Anderson
                    Wallingford, PA
                  • Lisbeth S. Fried
                    ... From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@comcast.net] Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 6:17 AM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [XTalk]
                    Message 9 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@...]
                      Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 6:17 AM
                      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement

                      Dear Richard
                      Y ou write:

                      The role of the High Priest in obtaining that
                      atonement was recognized by Josephus in Bell. 4.318 wherein he called the
                      Jews' High Priest 'the captain of their salvation.'


                      Josephus means that the High Priest effects salvation or atonement by his
                      role
                      in the sacrificial cult, not by his own death.
                      If by his own death, people would pray for the death of the high priest in
                      order to
                      have atonement. That couldn't be further from the truth. Read Ben Sira or
                      Josephus
                      to get the reverential attitude of the people toward the high priest --
                      alive and well
                      and doing his job.

                      Liz

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                    • Richard H. Anderson
                      ... mystery religions involving participation in the death and resurrection of the dying and rising god. It has naught to do with Judaism. Martin Hengel,
                      Message 10 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Lisbeth S. Fried"
                        <lizfried@u...> wrote:

                        > Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian
                        mystery religions involving participation in the death and
                        resurrection of the dying and rising god. It has naught to do with
                        Judaism.

                        Martin Hengel, Atonement: pp. 60-65. Esp. his conclusion on p.
                        64: "As a result, after careful consideration of all the sources
                        indicated, we must agree with Jeremias and Lohse that the vicarious
                        atoning effect of the death or even the suffering of a righteous man
                        was not unknown in the Palestinian Judaism of the first century AD,
                        independently of the question of terminology."

                        Psalm 34 states in verse 22
                        The LORD ransoms the life of his servants, *
                        and none will be punished who trust in him.


                        Joseph Bonsirven, Palestinian Judaism in the Time of Christ,
                        Translated from the French by William Wolf, At page 116 wrote: "The
                        doctrine of vicarious atonement through suffering, by death, and
                        especially by martyrdom, seems to have been generally accepted in
                        the Jewish world before Christ (2 Macc. 7:37; Sifre on Num.,
                        25:13)."

                        Richard H. Anderson
                      • Lisbeth S. Fried
                        ... From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@comcast.net] Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 2:40 PM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: [XTalk] Re:
                        Message 11 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Richard H. Anderson [mailto:randerson58@...]
                          Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2003 2:40 PM
                          To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement



                          Joseph Bonsirven, Palestinian Judaism in the Time of Christ,
                          Translated from the French by William Wolf, At page 116 wrote: "The
                          doctrine of vicarious atonement through suffering, by death, and
                          especially by martyrdom, seems to have been generally accepted in
                          the Jewish world before Christ (2 Macc. 7:37; Sifre on Num.,
                          25:13)."

                          Richard H. Anderson
                          Dear Richard,
                          Again, I don't agree. I do agree, however, that this passage in 2 Macc 7
                          may be the
                          only passage which discusses the pre-Christian Jewish attitude toward
                          suffering. The story is the famous one of the murder of the 7 brothers.
                          7:32 "We are
                          suffering for our own sins.". ..7:36 "For our brothers, after enduring a
                          brief suffering,
                          have fallen into ever flowing life, under God's covenant..." The point is
                          that a person's
                          suffering and death has atoning value for him. This is a well-known
                          doctrine
                          repeated by the rabbis. The punishment that you endure on earth
                          substitutes for any
                          punishment you might have to endure after death. But each must suffer for
                          his
                          own sins.
                          Best,
                          Liz



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                        • Richard H. Anderson
                          ... mystery religions involving participation in the death and resurrection of the dying and rising god. It has naught to do with Judaism. Where did the notion
                          Message 12 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                            --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Lisbeth S. Fried"
                            <lizfried@u...> wrote:

                            > Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian
                            mystery religions involving participation in the death and
                            resurrection of the dying and rising god. It has naught to do with
                            Judaism.

                            Where did the notion that the death of an ordinary person had
                            salvific value originate? As you know I claim, citing Milgrom, that
                            the death of any high priest had limited salvific value. I also
                            claim that the death of the Jewish High Priest is the origin of the
                            NT doctrine of atonement. Boyarin would say that it is difficult
                            when dealing with cultural border crossings to determine if the
                            origin of a particular idea is Jewish or Christian citing his Jewish-
                            Christian martyrdom discussions. In this instance however, I
                            believe I have the better argument in that the idea of substitution
                            is present, in the sense of 'take the place of' or 'substitute for'
                            the necessity of suffering for one's transgression, BCE.

                            The vicarious intercession of a mediator is present in the
                            following: when the people intercede for Jonathan (1 Sam 14:45) and
                            Abraham for Sodom (Gen 18:22-23), when Moses places himself between
                            the people and God's chastising wrath (Exod 32:30-32) and in a
                            prayer of David for the people (2 Sam 24:17).

                            In response to guiltless suffering the idea of a just man atoning
                            vicariously for Israel became common in early rabbinic Judaism,
                            especially in relation to Moses and Isaac. By the third century CE,
                            whatever soteriological significance the Christians claimed for
                            Jesus, the Jews in turn tended to claim for Moses and/or Isaac.

                            Was pre-Christian Judaism familiar with the idea of a suffering,
                            atoning Messiah? Except possibly for Wis 2:13 and 3:19, the 4th
                            servant song was not interpreted this way in early rabbinic
                            Judaism.

                            Both 2 Maccabees (1st century BCE) and 4 Maccabees contain a martyr
                            theology which provides a significant pre-Christian source for the
                            idea of the vicarious suffering and death of the martyrs. These
                            ideas are strongly suggested in 2 Maccabees, esp. 7:37-38 and 12:42-
                            45, and are stated with clarity in 4 Maccabees, esp. in the prayers
                            of the dying martyrs. Eleazar prays to the Lord to be "merciful unto
                            thy people, and let our punishment be a satisfaction in their
                            behalf. Make thy blood their purification and take my soul to ransom
                            their souls" (4 Maccabees 6:28-29).

                            Something interesting happened in the Alexandrian Septuagint (LXX)
                            translation of Lev. 17:11 from the third century BCE. The final
                            phrase of this verse "It is the blood that makes atonement by reason
                            of the life."

                            There is no question that the LXX of Lev. 17:11 is strongly
                            evocative of substitutionary ideas. This may be the source of
                            Eleazar's prayer in 4 Maccabees 6:28-29.

                            Eleazar is not just any person. Eleazar is the High Priest.

                            Richard H. Anderson
                          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                            ... Good quotes. Note though, that not one of the authorities you cite -- or who are cited by the authorities you cite -- sees the High priest as someone
                            Message 13 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                              "Richard H. Anderson" wrote:

                              > --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Lisbeth S. Fried"
                              > <lizfried@u...> wrote:
                              >
                              > > Jesus' atoning death has more to do with Greek and Egyptian
                              > mystery religions involving participation in the death and
                              > resurrection of the dying and rising god. It has naught to do with
                              > Judaism.
                              >
                              > Martin Hengel, Atonement: pp. 60-65. Esp. his conclusion on p.
                              > 64: "As a result, after careful consideration of all the sources
                              > indicated, we must agree with Jeremias and Lohse that the vicarious
                              > atoning effect of the death or even the suffering of a righteous man
                              > was not unknown in the Palestinian Judaism of the first century AD,
                              > independently of the question of terminology."
                              >
                              > Psalm 34 states in verse 22
                              > The LORD ransoms the life of his servants, *
                              > and none will be punished who trust in him.
                              >
                              >
                              > Joseph Bonsirven, Palestinian Judaism in the Time of Christ,
                              > Translated from the French by William Wolf, At page 116 wrote: "The
                              > doctrine of vicarious atonement through suffering, by death, and
                              > especially by martyrdom, seems to have been generally accepted in
                              > the Jewish world before Christ (2 Macc. 7:37; Sifre on Num.,
                              > 25:13)."
                              >

                              Good quotes. Note though, that not one of the authorities you cite --
                              or who are cited by the authorities you cite -- sees the High priest as
                              someone whose death is atoning or finds anything within Judaism that
                              points or attests to the particular theological topos that you would
                              have us believe is the origin of the early Christian proclamations of
                              Jesus' death as atoning.

                              Again, how do you explain this?

                              Yours,

                              Jeffrey
                              --

                              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                              Chicago, IL 60626

                              jgibson000@...



                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Crispin Fletcher-Louis
                              Richard, Geoffrey, Liz and all, I ve come in a little late to this fascinating discussion about the high priest in atonement. But may I offer a few
                              Message 14 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                                Richard, Geoffrey, Liz and all,
                                I've come in a little late to this fascinating discussion about the high
                                priest in atonement. But may I offer a few observations:

                                1. In response to Geoffrey's question, 'how come no one has suggested this
                                high priestly context for atonement before?' I would suggest this is because
                                the high priest has been ignored, period. (see my article at
                                http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/jesus.pdf)

                                2. Richard's ideas need now to be supplemented by a consideration of
                                Margaret Barker's thesis that the goat 'lyhwh' on the Day of Atonement is a
                                substitute for the high priest (who plays the role of YHWH) in the cultic
                                drama. It is the blood of this goat that makes the atonement (in the
                                pre-eminent act of atonement) as a substitute for the life (i.e. Death) of
                                the high priest/yhwh. (See e.g. M. Barker, The Revelation of Jesus Christ
                                (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2000), 45 ...; M. Barker, The Great High Priest.
                                The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy (London: T. & T. Clark, 2003), chapter
                                3). In both books Barker has fascinating interpretative observations on a
                                number of late second temple texts to support her thesis.

                                3. For further texts relating the suffering of the high priesthood and the
                                Day of Atonement - supportive of Barker's thesis, though not explicitly
                                referring to atoning suffering, see C. H. T. Fletcher-Louis, "The Revelation
                                of the Sacral Son of Man: The Genre, History of Religions Context and the
                                Meaning of the Transfiguration," Auferstehung - Resurrection. The Fourth
                                Durham-Tübingen-Symposium: Resurrection, Exaltation, and Transformation in
                                Old Testament, Ancient Judaism, and Early Christianity (eds. F. Avemarie and
                                H. Lichtenberger; WUNT 135; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2001) 247-298 (pp.
                                286-88).

                                4. With regards to the Pauline language of putting off the old body and
                                putting on the new one, that Liz quotes, this too might, in fact, be very
                                adequately explained in terms of a (high) priestly background given the
                                evidence from Philo that different priestly garments were identified with
                                different physical/non-physical states. (Barker mounts an impressive case
                                that here Philo attests mainstream Jewish thinking).

                                Yours

                                Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis


                                Dept. of Theology,
                                University of Nottingham,
                                UK
                              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                ... This link doesn t seem to work. Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1 Chicago, IL 60626 jgibson000@comcast.net [Non-text
                                Message 15 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                                  Crispin Fletcher-Louis wrote:

                                  > Richard, Geoffrey, Liz and all,
                                  > I've come in a little late to this fascinating discussion about the
                                  > high
                                  > priest in atonement. But may I offer a few observations:
                                  >
                                  > 1. In response to Geoffrey's question, 'how come no one has
                                  > suggested this
                                  > high priestly context for atonement before?' I would suggest this is
                                  > because
                                  > the high priest has been ignored, period. (see my article at
                                  > http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/jesus.pdf)
                                  >

                                  This link doesn't seem to work.

                                  Jeffrey
                                  --

                                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                  Chicago, IL 60626

                                  jgibson000@...



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Crispin Fletcher-Louis
                                  Geoffrey, ... Sorry about that. In that case, you¹ll have to go to http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/ And then scroll down the page until you get to ŒJesus and
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                                    Geoffrey,

                                    >> http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/jesus.pdf)
                                    >>
                                    >
                                    > This link doesn't seem to work.
                                    >
                                    Sorry about that. In that case, you¹ll have to go to
                                    http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/
                                    And then scroll down the page until you get to ŒJesus and the High Priest
                                    (Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis)¹ under Theme 14.

                                    I hope that works.
                                    Crispin.



                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                    ... Thanks for this. I look forward to reading your paper. May I note, though, that one of my reasons for not seeing the death of the high priest, whether
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
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                                      Crispin Fletcher-Louis wrote:

                                      > Richard, Geoffrey, Liz and all,
                                      > I've come in a little late to this fascinating discussion about the
                                      > high
                                      > priest in atonement. But may I offer a few observations:
                                      >
                                      > 1. In response to Geoffrey's question, 'how come no one has
                                      > suggested this
                                      > high priestly context for atonement before?' I would suggest this is
                                      > because
                                      > the high priest has been ignored, period. (see my article at
                                      > http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/jesus.pdf)
                                      >
                                      > 2. Richard's ideas need now to be supplemented by a consideration of
                                      > Margaret Barker's thesis that the goat 'lyhwh' on the Day of Atonement
                                      > is a
                                      > substitute for the high priest (who plays the role of YHWH) in the
                                      > cultic
                                      > drama. It is the blood of this goat that makes the atonement (in the
                                      > pre-eminent act of atonement) as a substitute for the life (i.e.
                                      > Death) of
                                      > the high priest/yhwh. (See e.g. M. Barker, The Revelation of Jesus
                                      > Christ
                                      > (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 2000), 45 ...; M. Barker, The Great High
                                      > Priest.
                                      > The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy (London: T. & T. Clark, 2003),
                                      > chapter
                                      > 3). In both books Barker has fascinating interpretative observations
                                      > on a
                                      > number of late second temple texts to support her thesis.

                                      Thanks for this. I look forward to reading your paper. May I note,
                                      though, that one of my reasons for not seeing the "death" of the high
                                      priest, whether on the Day of Atonement or not, as the origin of the
                                      belief in the atoning significance of Jesus is that the language used to
                                      describe the significance of Jesus death -- especially in Paul and in
                                      his "died for us/our sins" formula (the background of which is largely
                                      Greek) ---- has little in common with the imagery or the language
                                      surrounding the Temple cult and never seems to allude to the DoA..

                                      Perhaps you deal with this in your article?

                                      Yours,

                                      Jeffrey
                                      --

                                      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                      1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                      Chicago, IL 60626

                                      jgibson000@...



                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • Brian Trafford
                                      ... mula.pdf Hi Jeffrey Would it be possible for you to link this particular essay into the XTalk archives? Thank you, Brian Trafford Calgary, AB, Canada
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Nov 13, 2003
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                                        --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey B. Gibson"
                                        <jgibson000@c...> wrote:
                                        >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/files/Paul27sDyingFor
                                        mula.pdf

                                        Hi Jeffrey

                                        Would it be possible for you to link this particular essay into the
                                        XTalk archives?

                                        Thank you,

                                        Brian Trafford
                                        Calgary, AB, Canada
                                      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                                        ... It s now at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/Paul%27sDyingFormula.pdf Jeffrey -- Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.) 1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Nov 13, 2003
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                                          Brian Trafford wrote:

                                          > --- In crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com, "Jeffrey B. Gibson"
                                          > <jgibson000@c...> wrote:
                                          > >http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JBGibsonWritings/files/Paul27sDyingFor
                                          > mula.pdf
                                          >
                                          > Hi Jeffrey
                                          >
                                          > Would it be possible for you to link this particular essay into the
                                          > XTalk archives?
                                          >

                                          It's now at:

                                          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/Paul%27sDyingFormula.pdf

                                          Jeffrey

                                          --

                                          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                                          1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                                          Chicago, IL 60626

                                          jgibson000@...



                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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