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Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity: Constituents and Critique
Henrietta L. Wiley, Christian A. Eberhart, editors
RBS 85
Publication Date
September 2017


Critical and creative studies that offer fresh perspectives on ancient ideas and practices

The contributions to this volume deal in various ways with the cult at the Jerusalem Temple that epitomized the religious, cultural, and socio-political identity of Judaism for many centuries. Some essays examine ancient constitutive practices and concepts, such as purification rituals, sacrifices, atonement, or sacred authorities at the temple, with the goal of interpreting their meanings for modern readers. Other essays explore alternatives to ancient cultic meaning and practice. Essays critique established traditions, attempt to renegotiate them, or use metaphor and spiritualization to expand the potential of these phenomena to serve as terminological and ideological resources. Thus they examine and affirm the continuing relevance of ancient Jewish cultic notions long after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

  • An international group of scholars representing different fields and diverse religious backgrounds
  • A thorough examination of traditions as through the lens of contemporaneous interpretive traditions such as Jewish prophecy, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Early Christian literature
  • Examination of topics such as purification, sacrifice, and atonement, and the depiction and development of sacred authority throughout the Bible

Henrietta L. Wiley is Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture in the Religious Studies department at Notre Dame of Maryland University, and a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Her area of scholarship is ancient Israelite religious experience and cultic practice. She lectures extensively on the spirituality of the Psalms and has consulted on the Bible in the Life of the Church project of the Anglican Communion. Wiley chairs the steering committee of the “Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement” Annual Conference Program Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, and serves as president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars.

Christian A. Eberhart is Professor and Program Director of Religious Studies at the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies of the University of Houston. He has authored various books, including Studien zur Bedeutung der Opfer im Alten Testament: Die Signifikanz von Blut- und Verbrennungsriten im kultischen Rahmen (Neukirchener) and The Sacrifice of Jesus: Understanding Atonement Biblically (Fortress). He is also editor of the volume Ritual and Metaphor: Sacrifice in the Bible (Society of Biblical Literature). Eberhart is a member of the steering committee of the “Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement” Annual Conference Program Unit of the Society of Biblical Literature.

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