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

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  • 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 1 of 21 , Nov 11 8:17 PM
      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 2 of 21 , Nov 12 2:09 AM
        -----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 3 of 21 , Nov 12 4:39 AM
          --- 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 4 of 21 , Nov 12 4:52 AM
            -----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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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • 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 5 of 21 , Nov 12 5:03 AM
              --- 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 6 of 21 , Nov 12 5:40 AM
                "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 7 of 21 , Nov 12 7:03 AM
                  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 8 of 21 , Nov 12 7:15 AM
                    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 9 of 21 , Nov 12 7:17 AM
                      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 10 of 21 , Nov 12 7:34 AM
                        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 11 of 21 , Nov 13 12:37 PM
                          --- 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 12 of 21 , Nov 13 12:54 PM
                            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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