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

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  • 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 1 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
      "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 2 of 21 , Nov 11, 2003
        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 3 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
          -----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 4 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
            --- 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 5 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
              -----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 6 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                --- 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 7 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                  "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 8 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                    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 9 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                      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 10 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                        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 11 of 21 , Nov 12, 2003
                          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 12 of 21 , Nov 13, 2003
                            --- 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 13 of 21 , Nov 13, 2003
                              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@...



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