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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with sacrificial practice and language among the earliest Christians according to New Testament literature. It notes the ambivalent attitude of Jesus towards Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem and its sacrificial worship, which is manifest in the episode called ‘Cleansing of the Temple’ (Mark 11:15–19). This tendency probably led early Christians to discontinue actual sacrificial practices in their own worship; New Testament texts mention the Jewish sacrificial cult occasionally, but mostly employ sacrificial metaphors. The only exception is the celebration of the Eucharist, which appears as a renewal ritual to substitute for the early Jewish sacrificial cult. Hence this chapter explores sacrificial rituals in the Hebrew Bible, first, through a ritual theory approach and, second, with a theological perspective. The New Testament authors embrace the latter in their use of sacrificial metaphors in Christological concepts and paraenetic contexts.

Keywords: burning rite, Cleansing of the Temple, covenant, blood, eucharist, metaphor, sacrifice, Temple

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