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[XTalk] Re: origins of the doctrine of atonement

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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 1 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 2 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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        [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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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@...



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