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The Background and Content of Paul's Cultic Atonement Metaphors
Stephen Finlan
AcBib 19
Publication Date
October 2004


This examination of Gentile and Jewish religious and literary descriptions of sacrificial and expulsion rituals provides a useful background to the study of Paul’s metaphorical use of sacrifice and scapegoat to characterize the significance of the death of Jesus. In addition to offering an overview of Paul's use of cultic metaphors and an assessment of Paul's synthesis of martyrology and cultic metaphor, this work shows how Paul uses still other metaphors (acquittal, reconciliation, adoption) to picture the beneficial after-effects of that death.

“Finlan’s monograph is sweeping. He consistently engages a wide range of literature and scholarship, taking the time to include extended discussions with scholars with whom he disagrees. As such, this work will richly reward the informed reader and prove an invaluable resource for those who seek to gain a fuller understanding of Paul's soteriological language.”
—Christopher McMahon, Review of Biblical Literature

Stephen Finlan, Ph.D., is a researcher at Drew University and an adjunct teacher at Middlesex County College.