Cover image for Cult and Character: Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy By Roy Gane

Cult and Character

Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy

Roy Gane

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$54.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-101-6


Cult and Character

Purification Offerings, Day of Atonement, and Theodicy

Roy Gane

Through the swirling smoke of Aaron’s incense, and of scholarly theories, the present volume steps toward the meaning enacted on “the Day of Purgation,” commonly known as Yom Kippur or “the Day of Atonement.” By treating moral evil both as relational/legal breach and as pollution, the Israelite system of “purification offerings” = so-called “sin offerings” addresses both the standing and state of YHWH’s people. This system shows the way not only to freedom from condemnation but also to healing of character, which is defined in terms of loyalty to YHWH. Freedom and healing come together on the Day of Purgation, when purification rituals benefit those who show themselves loyal to YHWH by affirming the freedom from condemnation that they have previously received. The effects of purification rituals on YHWH’s sanctuary and community profile harmony between justice and kindness in the character of YHWH as he deals with imperfect people of various kinds of character by pardoning and clearing the loyal but condemning the disloyal. Thus, Gane ultimately affirms Milgrom’s seminal insight that theodicy is foundational to the Israelite expiatory system. Gane’s conclusions are derived from exegetical study of Hebrew ritual texts, informed by controls to ritual analysis developed in the course of prior research through critical examination of existing ritual theories and by adapting a systems theory approach to human activity systems.

 

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
Through the swirling smoke of Aaron’s incense, and of scholarly theories, the present volume steps toward the meaning enacted on “the Day of Purgation,” commonly known as Yom Kippur or “the Day of Atonement.” By treating moral evil both as relational/legal breach and as pollution, the Israelite system of “purification offerings” = so-called “sin offerings” addresses both the standing and state of YHWH’s people. This system shows the way not only to freedom from condemnation but also to healing of character, which is defined in terms of loyalty to YHWH. Freedom and healing come together on the Day of Purgation, when purification rituals benefit those who show themselves loyal to YHWH by affirming the freedom from condemnation that they have previously received. The effects of purification rituals on YHWH’s sanctuary and community profile harmony between justice and kindness in the character of YHWH as he deals with imperfect people of various kinds of character by pardoning and clearing the loyal but condemning the disloyal. Thus, Gane ultimately affirms Milgrom’s seminal insight that theodicy is foundational to the Israelite expiatory system. Gane’s conclusions are derived from exegetical study of Hebrew ritual texts, informed by controls to ritual analysis developed in the course of prior research through critical examination of existing ritual theories and by adapting a systems theory approach to human activity systems.

Acknowledgments

Abbreviations

Introduction

Part 1 Ritual, Meaning, and System

1. The Locus of Ritual Meaning

2. The System of ‘hatta’t’ Rituals

Part 2 Purification Offerings Performed throughout the Year

3. Outer-Altar Purification Offerings

4. Outer-Sanctum Purification Offerings

5. Purification-Offering Flesh: Prebend or Expiation?

6. Purification Offering: Purgation of Sanctuary or Offerer?

7. Pollution of the Sanctuary: Aerial or Only by Direct Contact?

8. Blood or Ash Water: Detergent, Metaphorical Carrier Agent, or Means of Passage?

9. The Scope of Expiability

Part 3 Phases of ‘kipper’

10. Inner-Sanctum Purification Offerings

11. The Purification Ritual of Azazel’s Goat

12. Two Major Phases of Sacrificial ‘kipper’

13. Trajectories of Evils

Part 4 Cult and Theodicy

14. Divine Justice and the Cost of Kindness

15. Divine Presence and Theodicy

16. Loyalty and Royalty in Hebrew Narrative

17. Yearly Accountability in Mesopotamian Cult

18. Conclusion

Indexes

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