Author Topic: Shedding of blood!  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline prodromos

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Shedding of blood!
« on: October 13, 2003, 08:04:03 AM »
This is a question that occasionally bubbles to the surface of my undisciplined brain, only to pop and vanish until the next time it bubbles up. Since I happened to be sitting at the keyboard this time I thought I ought to ask the collective wisdom assembled here so that I can put it away for good and make room for more important questions to froth and bubble.

Why was it necessary for the Jews to offer lambs, doves etc. as an offering for the forgiveness of their sins? I realise that they are a type of the sacrifice that Jesus would offer of himself, but it wasn't as if God needed these animals to be killed in order to forgive the people their sins.

One thought I have had is that it was to act as restraint on the people.
It is one thing to go to the temple and confess your sins before God and run off with a clean slate. No pain, no suffering in fact nothing to make you think twice about just running off and sinning again.
It is another thing again when you see some poor animal getting its throat cut or its neck rung because of stuff you did.
Of course this wouldn't work for everybody as there are always a few perverse individuals who would get a kick out of it, so I don't give the above much credence.

Has anyone come across Patristic works dealing with this topic? Is anyone able to help me put this question to bed for good?

unworthy John.

Offline Keble

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Re:Shedding of blood!
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2003, 08:34:29 AM »
Isn't this dealt with at length in the Epistle to the Hebrews?

Offline prodromos

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Re:Shedding of blood!
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2003, 09:01:30 AM »
[Me runs off to read Hebrews again - its been a while]

In the mean time, can you give me the Readers Digest condensed version ;)

unworthy John.

Offline Robert

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Re:Shedding of blood!
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2003, 09:02:50 AM »
Well, we know that the Torah explicitly prohibited human sacrifice, so that is certainly out.  

I wrote a  paper a long time ago on the book of Leviticus.  It is pretty comprehensive in addressing the issue, notably in the 17th chapter.

The idea of Jewish sacrifice was called Qorbanot. There's an entire section in the Talmud devoted to this subject.

There are three basic concepts underlying qorbanot. The first the aspect of giving. A qorban requires the renunciation of something that belongs to the person making the offering. Thus, sacrifices are made from domestic animals, not wild animals (because wild animals do not belong to anyone). Likewise, offerings of food are ordinarily in the form of flour or meal, which requires substantial work to prepare.

Another important concept is the element of substitution. The idea is that the thing being offered is a substitute for the person making the offering, and the things that are done to the offering are things that should have been done to the person offering. The offering is in some sense "punished" in place of the offerer

Hope this helps,
Bobby