Jump to content

Need Some Positive Assistance


Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

I have been a member of this site for a while now, and really enjoy reading the various posts,etc. They have been extrordinarily helpful in my deconversion process. Recently, I had begun to gain confidence in becoming what you would consider to be a total athiest, in the sense that I had begun to reconcile that what I had been taught biblically was not true, and had learned how to find answers to how life had begun through researching scientific evidences, such as evolution, and earth-science.

 

Unfortunately, every once in a while, I tend to accidentely run across something that gets worked up, and then concerned that the bible might be right-- in this case, I became aware of some obscure statements that had been made in the Talmud that talk about the passovers and that when Simeon the Just (a high priest in the second-temple era) was in charge, god always made sure to provide special miracles, such as when lots were chosen, it would always be in the high priest's right hand, and that on the sacrificial animal, a red string would be tied on it that would turn white. Anyway, the Talmud goes on to say that after Simeon died, sometimes the lot would come up in the left hand, and the string would not always turn white, and then eventually, 40 years before the destruction of the temple, the lot would never come up in the right hand, and the string would never turn white. Apparently christians are using this as some sort of confirmation that this is proof that Jesus died and was resurrected, in that god stopped showing favor on the jews in 30ad.

 

Ok, I did a bit of research on this because hearing this frightened me-- I had always assured myself that the resurrection story could not be validated-- so I read what a Rabbi had to say about this-- he stated that nobody even can confirm when Jesus supposedly was crucified, and that god had been showing his displeasure for many years prior to the final 40 years before the temple was destroyed-- it was just that in the last 40 years, the temple priests had become so wicked that they never recieved this special little miracles that they were accustomed to. He also said that the Sanheidran also quit acting as a body of law in the 40 years prior to the temple destruction due to the evilness of the current priests, so that probably accounts for the 40 year period. Lastly, he suggested that perhaps god was angry with the jews for entertaining thoughts of the false messiahs around town at the time. I thought he had some good points. But it still made me scared to even hear about it.

 

My thought on this passage are that this was written probably around 200 years after the destruction of the temple, so it is not even from contemporary sources. The Rabbis writing the Talmud may have been looking for a way to explain the destruction of the temple-- and were showing how the priests had become wicked. The 40 years may have just been a number selected-- because 40 years indicates a generation, or 40 years had some sort of symbolism to it.

 

I then got frightend thinking that maybe there was some validation in the bible-- so that got me looking at the crucifixion and th supposed hours of darkness and the earthquakes. I had heard about some extra-curricular bible sources such as Thallus who supposedly spoke of an eclipse-- so I looke up eclipses that occured during the supposed time of the crucifixion-- I could not find any other than a solar eclipse that happened in November of the year 29ad and a few lunar eclipses. Regarding the solar eclipse in 29ad-- this happend in November, which is not during a time in which a Passover could occur. With regard to the lunar eclipses, the only ones that I saw that even claim close did not seem to occur during the noon hour, and the fact that they are lunar, which means that the earth blocks the suns rays from the moon-- the earth would not be darkened. That helped me a bit. I also believe that Thallus may have been referring to the eclipse in 29 ad, and this information was later corupted by early Christian writers looking for proof of the reported darkness.

 

Anyway, I wrote all of this just to explain the stupid issues that tend to get people like me set off!! I was hoping that if any of you all have researched any of these things and can provide me some more food for thought on the crucifixion issue, as well as any of the supposed jewish coincidences, I would really appreciate it!!

 

I am kind of bummed, because I had just gotten myself to a point where I was really able to enjoy life, and not be worrying about religion at all. I just hate it when I can't fully reason away a christian arguement. I want to get back to being a HAPPY ATHIEST!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about instead of trying to be a happy atheist, just be a happy you? Whether you have an answer for everything. Whether what you're experiencing is consistent with atheism. Just be you. Live, learn, and experience everything life has to offer.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, easier said than done. Unfornately, I am one of those folks who was very damaged by my religious experiences. The only real struggles that I have in life seem to center around religious fears. So, when I am worried about something religious-- I just don't enjoy life!! That being said, that is one of the reasons why I greatly appreciate sites like these. And-- I really do want to be an athiest, and just not believe in god altogether-- because that would make me happy. I just struggle with getting there due to a few ongoing fears.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

any time i am confronted with some sort of "evidence" i allways start from my most fundamental reasons why god is false and work from there. i sugest you learn quite abit about societal evolution it will show you how difrent ideas in religion evolve as well from the experinces and enviorment around them.

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator
I really do want to be an athiest

If you find no evidence to lead you to believe that gods exist, you are by definition an atheist. It's not something to strive for. You believe what you believe and don't what you don't.

 

If you still live in fear or with the vestiges of religious brainwashing, you will still find reasons to believe where they don't exist. I suggest that you stop studying religious material until you are free of the indoctrination you've suffered. Many ex-Christians have irrational fears specific to the religion, but they are really no different than an irrational fear of being abducted by aliens or having your home hit by a meteorite. The condition is treatable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Kris, I have to be away from my computer for now as I must leave for awhile. I'll get back to you on these issues later.

 

Sorry to hear you are having problems. But I can tell you this with complete confidence: there was no resurrection and "god" has not punished the Jews for the death of Jesus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And-- I really do want to be an athiest, and just not believe in god altogether-- because that would make me happy. I just struggle with getting there due to a few ongoing fears.

 

Why would that make you any happier? Happiness doesn't come from what category your beliefs fit into. It comes from you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The stories about this come from cult doctrine, and I've yet to see any contemporary validation from other sources.

In Matt 27 you can read the ripping good yarn about dead people being raised when Jesus died.

They later went into Jerusalem and appeared to folks in town.

This is a far more spectacular event than Jesus being raised.

It's implied that these people appeared to members of the public, where Jesus only appeared to cult members.

Yet, there is no mention of this amazing event by anyone other than the author of Matthew.

If the author of Matthew lied and embellished his story, what does that say for the veracity of the other gospels?

Another great story is the Gospel of Peter, complete with a talking cross:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/gospelpeter-brown.html

 

The point is that this "history" is riddled with inconsistencies and lacks validation from anyone other than cult members, who can't even agree with themselves in many areas.

 

This is a Jewish essay on the trial of Jesus and how it can be classified as a historical fake:

http://members.efn.org/~iahu/gesing.htm

 

There's nothing worse than living in fear, especially when it has such flimsy evidence behind it.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me put it this way-- for a long time, I got away from any church influence at all, and my life was great. I stopped worrying about the bible and what may or may not be true, and just enjoyed life. Unfortunately, some of my deep religous fears came back over the last couple of years, and I found myself obsessing over religion, god and all kinds of nasty stuff. It can be life-ruining!!

 

In the past couple of months, I had come very close to reconciling all of my fears by accepting that there was no god, that Jesus was not god incarnate, and that the things in the bible that had caused me so much pain and fear were simply not true. I reconciled that all of the supposed supernatural events that were mentioned in the bible could not be backed up by any extra-biblical resources. I began to accept evolution as a fact, and was quite content in that decision, as it made me happy. Unfortunately, a random conversation and seeing a few things on the internet regarding supernatural events not specifically in the bible got me scared all over again, because I lost faith in my "un-faith". And that makes me pretty miserable. I would be very happy and VERY RELIEVED if I could just fully reconcile that the bible is not true. And I thought I had, until a few stupid doubts crept back in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that you are absolutely right!! Sometimes I let one little thing get in the way of mountains of other evidence. I also agree that I need to stay away from all kinds of religious business until my mind is much stronger. I thought perhaps it was, but I guess it was mistaken. I appreciate the information from all of you. It helps to discuss these types of things with people who can provide some clarity!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolutely, read the Bible through. I deconverted after doing so, and I didn't do it for that reason at all. I did it, trying to be a good Christian. When I was finished with the OT, a life-long question of mine as to why the Jews had rejected Jesus as Messiah was completely answered. It just took me probably 3 years to get enough courage to face it head-on and take it to its obvious conclusion. I would suggest an easy reading version, such as NIV. It'll do the trick!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did some reading on the issues you raised and think I now understand about what you are speaking.

 

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

 

On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would perform two sacrifices. One was of a bull which was an atonement for the sins of the High Priest. The second sacrifice was of one of two goats. It is in the selection of the two goats that you are speaking. There were two stones placed in an urn. On one stone was written, "For the Lord," and on the other stone was written, "For Azazel." The two goats were on either side of the High Priest. The High Priest would place both of his hands into the urn and, without being able to see which stone he was choosing, he would pick up the stones, one in his right hand and the other in his left hand. He would then assign the fate of the two goats according to in which hand he picked up each stone. The goat on whichever side of the High Priest corresponded to the hand in which he picked up the stone marked, "For the Lord," was the goat which would be sacrificed as an atonement for the sins of the people of Israel. The goat which corresponded to whichever hand the High Priest picked up the stone which was marked, "For Azazel," would not be sacrificed. Rather, to Azazel goat the High Priest would assign all of the sins of Israel and the goat would be taken to the wilderness and set free. So the goat sacrificed was an atonement and the goat set free was the one on which all the sins of the people were placed and by taking that goat into the wilderness, it was a symbolic act of ridding Israel of its sins until the next Day of Atonement.

 

Here are excerpts from the relevant Talmud and/or Mishnah:

 

http://www.ichthus.info/CaseForChrist/Why/Supports/Talmud-Yoma-39.mht

 

http://www.ichthus.info/CaseForChrist/Why/Supports/Talmud-Yoma-39a-b.mht

 

According to the two references above, it was apparently a good omen if the High Priest chose the goat "For the Lord" in his right hand. Jewish legend as expressed in the Talmud/Mishnah was that for the forty years that Simeon the Righteous was the High Priest and administered the sacrifices and duties described above, the stone marked, "For the Lord," always came up in his right hand. But following Simeon's tenure as High Priest, things changed. According to Talmud-Yoma 39a, the stone marked, "For the Lord," sometimes came up in the right hand of the High Priest and sometimes came up in his left hand. However, according to Talmud-Yoma 39b, after Simeon's tenure and for the forty years until the destruction of the temple, the stone marked, "For the Lord," never came up in the High Priest's right hand. An interesting conflict in the story.

 

But, besides which of the High Priest's hands the Lord's stone came up in, there were other irregularities recorded in the Talmud/Mishnah. One of which you speak is that there was a crimson colored ribbon of some type placed in or near the temple during the time of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. This ribbon would always turn white after Simeon would perform his sacrifices, but, depending on whether one reads Talmud-Yoma 39a or 39b, the crimson ribbon either would only sometimes turn white or would never turn white after Simeon's tenure and for the next forty years until the destruction of the Jewish Temple.

 

And there were other alleged irregularities, too. I will quote first, from Talmud-Yoma 39a and then from 39b so you can see the other irregularities as well as the conflicts in the two accounts:

 

From Talmud-Yoma 39a

 

Also: Throughout those forty years the westernmost light13 was shining, from that time on, it was now shining, now failing; also the fire of the pile of wood kept burning strong,14 so that the priests did not have to bring to the pile any other wood besides the two logs,15 in order to fulfil the command about providing the wood unintermittently; from that time on, it would occasionally keep burning strongly, at other times not, so that the priests could not do without bringing throughout the day wood for the pile [on the altar]. [During the whole period] a blessing was bestowed upon the ¢omer,16 the two breads,17 and the shewbread, so that every priest, who obtained a piece thereof as big as an olive, ate it and became satisfied with some eating thereof and even leaving something over. From that time on a curse was sent upon ¢omer, two breads, and shewbread, so that every priest received a piece as small as a bean: the well-bred18 ones withdrew their hands from it, whilst voracious folk took and devoured it. Once one [of the latter] grabbed his portion as well as that of his fellow, wherefore they would call him ¢ben

 

From Talmud-Yoma 39b

 

nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself?5 I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee:6 Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.7

 

From a purely Jewish perspective, these alleged events, these irregularities, had a clear and straightforward significance. These irregularities were a warning that something terrible was about to happen to Israel. And that something was the Roman destruction of the Temple and much of Jerusalem. It was that and nothing more (though that would certainly be enough!!).

 

Now enter the Christian perspective on these alleged events. To certain Christians who look for anything and everything to bolster their view of things, the time period involved is too tasty for them to ignore. Forty years prior to the 70 CE destruction of the temple takes us back to around 30 CE, the time of Jesus crucifixion. But I will note that there is disagreement even among Christians to exactly what year Jesus was allegedly crucified. But be that as it may, the Christian take is that all of these bad omens was god's way of telling the Jews that they had made a horrible mistake in not accepting Jesus as their Messiah.

 

One point which I find particularly interesting is found here:

 

http://www.ichthus.info/CaseForChrist/Why/intro.html

 

Among other points, this author tries to relate the goat sacrifice to Jesus' crucifixion. He compares the two goats used in the Day of Atonement to Jesus and Barrabas. Jesus corresponds to the Lord's Goat and Barrabas corresponds to the Azazel Goat. Thus, the ritual of the Day of Atonement had been fulfilled in Jesus' crucifixion, proving that he was, in fact, the atonement. But the problem with this view should be obvious. To carry this comparison between Jesus and Barrabas and the two goats requires Barrabas to have been the Azazel goat, the one on whom the sins of the people were placed, not Jesus. But from a Christian theological standpoint, this does not work because Christian scriptures tell us that the sins of all people were placed on Jesus. For example:

 

24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

 

1 Peter 2:24

 

Here is another Christian website trying to make the claim that the events of which you are worried proves that Jesus satisfied the requirements of Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement):

 

http://www.ichthus.info/CaseForChrist/Why/Supports/Talmud-Evidence-for-Messiah-in-30AD.mht

 

And a quote from that site:

 

What did the Jewish nation do in 30 CE to merit such a change at Yom Kippur? By some accounts, on April 5, 30 CE (i.e., on the 14th of Nisan, the day of the Passover sacrifice) the Messiah, Yeshua, was cut off from Israel, himself put to death as a sacrifice for sin. To this event there is a transference of the atonement now no longer achieved through the two goats as offered at Yom Kippur. Like an innocent Passover lamb, the Messiah was put to death though no fault was found in Him! But unlike Temple sacrifices or the Yom Kippur events (as detailed above) where sin is only covered over for a time, the Messianic sacrifice comes with the promise of forgiveness of sins through grace given by God to those who accept a personal relationship with Messiah. This is essentially a one time event for each person's lifetime and not a continual series of annual observances and animal sacrifices. The mechanism providing forgiveness of sin changed in 30 CE

 

Again, Christian theology itself proves this wrong because, as I have already pointed out, Jesus is said to have taken on the sins of all people when the Lord's Goat did not take on any sins, that was the Azazel Goat which was not sacrificed, but banished.

 

I haven't addressed whether the events as told in the Talmud/Mishnah actually happened because I do not believe that is necessary to make my point. And my point is simply this: whether those events occurred or not, they were not related at all to Jesus' alleged crucifixion as some Christians like to say.

 

Finally, consider something else. If, as these Christians say, these alleged events prove that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice and thus the Messiah, why haven't these arguments convinced the Jews as a people? If it is so clear as these Christians like to make it look, then why aren't the Jews flocking to Christian churches and asking Jesus into their hearts so they can receive the forgiveness for their sins that only Jesus can provide? The answer is because the Jews laugh at such Christian nonsense. And so should you, Kris. There is nothing to any of this. Nothing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did the scapegoat get sent away in the first place? What was its practical purpose beyond the symbolism mentioned? And then what really happened to the scapegoat and for what reason?

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did the scapegoat get sent away in the first place? What was its practical purpose beyond the symbolism mentioned? And then what really happened to the scapegoat and for what reason?

 

mwc

 

This I don't know. Here is the biblical reference:

 

6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

 

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

 

15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

 

18 “Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

 

20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

 

Leviticus 16:6-22

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did the scapegoat get sent away in the first place? What was its practical purpose beyond the symbolism mentioned? And then what really happened to the scapegoat and for what reason?

 

mwc

 

This I don't know. Here is the biblical reference:

Ahhh...you're no fun. ;) I was expecting a really well written answer.

 

Okay, I'll just do it from memory.

 

We're told this was a very important sacrifice and it had to succeed. So to keep "Azazel" from interfering it would get it's own goat and that would appease it so it wouldn't meddle (hopefully) in the atonement sacrifice that year. So it was a way of appeasing this wilderness creature (whatever it originally was) and keeping it occupied so the real sacrifice could go unimpeded. A bribe if you will. In practice the real goat was led away and shoved off a cliff so it wouldn't wander back into town. So it was killed by priestly underlings. It was essentially a sacrifice.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why did the scapegoat get sent away in the first place? What was its practical purpose beyond the symbolism mentioned? And then what really happened to the scapegoat and for what reason?

 

mwc

 

This I don't know. Here is the biblical reference:

Ahhh...you're no fun. ;) I was expecting a really well written answer.

 

Okay, I'll just do it from memory.

 

We're told this was a very important sacrifice and it had to succeed. So to keep "Azazel" from interfering it would get it's own goat and that would appease it so it wouldn't meddle (hopefully) in the atonement sacrifice that year. So it was a way of appeasing this wilderness creature (whatever it originally was) and keeping it occupied so the real sacrifice could go unimpeded. A bribe if you will. In practice the real goat was led away and shoved off a cliff so it wouldn't wander back into town. So it was killed by priestly underlings. It was essentially a sacrifice.

 

mwc

 

Well, those buggers, disobeying god by shoving that goat off a cliff. :lmao:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, yeah, if your goat that is heaped up with all your sins wanders back to town what does that mean for your sins? Did they just some back too? Can't have that. You have to make sure that your goat stays good and gone. So if you have another goat, let's call this goat "jesus" and you take it outside the walls of the city as a "bribe" to the powers that be, and you want to make sure it's stays good and gone you might just snuff it too but what if it magically reappears? What might that mean? That the whole system has failed? That the "sins" have been magically forgiven and the purified goat can head to the sky? What exactly? This one is much harder to resolve since they all answered it differently so I can't really say.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, a little deeper digging turns up exactly what you say really happened to the Azazel Goat, at least according to one Rabbi. It is found here:

 

(Before we get to Rav Hirsch's lesson, however, it is important to understand two aspects of the service. One is that these two goats had to be almost identical. They had to be worth the same amount of money, they had to be the same height, and they had to have identical appearances. The goats had to be equal. The second is what was done with the second goat - the goat for Azazel. The verse merely says that the goat was sent into the wilderness. The wilderness that is being referred to is rocky and hilly terrain. When the goat reached a certain point, it was "pushed" off a cliff, and it tumbled down the rocky and sharp surface to its death. Now that we know this about the service, we can return to Rav Hirsch's lesson.)

 

http://www.torah.org/learning/yomtov/yomkippur/vol1no43.html#

 

Why might the Azazel Goat have been pushed off a cliff? It is possible that this was a symbolic act meant to anticipate what would eventually happen to Azazel according to the Book of Enoch.

 

Dead Sea Scrolls and 1 EnochIn the Dead Sea Scrolls the name Azazel occurs in the line 6 of 4Q203, the Book of the Giants. This is a part of the Enochic literature about fallen angels found at Qumran.[20]

 

According to the Book of Enoch, which brings Azazel into connection with the Biblical story of the fall of the angels, located on Mount Hermon, a gathering-place of demons from of old (Enoch xiii.; compare Brandt, "Mandäische Theologie," 1889, p. 38). Azazel is represented in the Book of Enoch as one of the leaders of the rebellious Watchers in the time preceding the flood; he taught men the art of warfare, of making swords, knives, shields, and coats of mail, and women the art of deception by ornamenting the body, dying the hair, and painting the face and the eyebrows, and also revealed to the people the secrets of witchcraft and corrupted their manners, leading them into wickedness and impurity; until at last he was, at the Lord's command, bound hand and foot by the archangel Raphael and chained to the rough and jagged rocks of [Ha] Duduael (= Beth Ḥadudo), where he is to abide in utter darkness until the great Day of Judgment, when he will be cast into the fire to be consumed forever (Enoch viii. 1, ix. 6, x. 4-6, liv. 5, lxxxviii. 1; see Geiger, "Jüd. Zeit." 1864, pp. 196–204).

 

“ The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin. ”

— 1 Enoch 10:8

 

According to 1 Enoch (a book of the Apocrypha), Azazel (here spelled ‘ăzā’zyēl) was one of the chief Grigori, a group of fallen angels who married women. This same story (without any mention of Azazel) is told in Genesis 6:2-4:

 

That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. […] There were giants in the earth in those days; and also afterward, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

1 Enoch portrays Azazel as responsible for teaching people to make weapons and cosmetics, for which he was cast out of heaven. 1 Enoch 8:1-3a reads:

 

And Azazel taught men to make swords and knives and shields and breastplates; and made known to them the metals [of the earth] and the art of working them; and bracelets and ornaments; and the use of antimony and the beautifying of the eyelids; and all kinds of costly stones and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray and became corrupt in all their ways.

The corruption brought on by Azazel and the Grigori degrades the human race, and the four archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Phanuel) “saw much blood being shed upon the earth and all lawlessness being wrought upon the earth […] The souls of men [made] their suit, saying, "Bring our cause before the Most High; […] Thou seest what Azazel hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were in heaven, which men were striving to learn."

 

God sees the sin brought about by Azazel and has Raphael “bind Azazel hand and foot and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert — which is in Dudael — and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there forever, and cover his face that he may not see light.”

 

Several scholars have previously discerned that some details of Azazel's punishment are reminiscent of the scapegoat ritual. Thus, Lester Grabbe points to a number of parallels between the Azazel narrative in 1 Enoch and the wording of Leviticus 16, including “the similarity of the names Asael and Azazel; the punishment in the desert; the placing of sin on Asael/Azazel; the resultant healing of the land.” [21] Daniel Stökl also observes that “the punishment of the demon resembles the treatment of the goat in aspects of geography, action, time and purpose.” .”[22] Thus, the place of Asael’s punishment designated in 1 Enoch as Dudael is reminiscent of the rabbinic terminology used for the designation of the ravine of the scapegoat in later rabbinic interpretations of the Yom Kippur ritual. Stökl remarks that “the name of place of judgment (Dudael) is conspicuously similar in both traditions and can likely be traced to a common origin.”[23]

 

Azazel's fate is foretold near the end of 1 Enoch 2:8, where God says, “On the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire. […] The whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azazel: to him ascribe all sin."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azazel

 

If Azazel is as depicted in Enoch which found its way into Jewish tradition, then my original message to Kris still holds. And that message is that there is no way that Jesus fulfilled Yom Kippur. And the reason is that Jesus could not be both the Lord's Goat and Azazel's Goat at the same time. The point of the Azazel Goat appears to be symbolically to banish Azazel to his final doom and that doom was not resurrection and sitting at the right hand of god as Christian theology says happened to Jesus.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much OF, for doing all of this research-- as usual, you are awesome. I also very much appreciated your input too MWC, as you clarified the fact that "men" had to complete certain activities in order make sure that the process of sacrifice went as planned.

 

You helped me to better understand the entire process--but I will even go so far as to say, that none of this entire story in the Talmud can even be validated. From what I can tell, these are written conversations that took place hundreds of years from the actual events, clearly enough time for embellishments to occur!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The following is from wikipedia (I've highlighted a few things which I'll talk about below):

Seven days prior to Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol was sequestered in the Palhedrin chamber in the Temple, where he reviewed (studied) the service with the sages familiar with the Temple, and was sprinkled with spring water containing ashes of the Red Heifer as purification. The Talmud (Tractate Yoma) also reports that he practiced the incense offering ritual in the Avitnas chamber.

 

On the day of Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol had to follow a precise order of services, sacrifices, and purifications:

 

Morning (Tamid) Offering The Kohen Gadol first performed the regular daily (Tamid) offering — usually performed by ordinary priests — in special golden garments, after immersing in a mikvah and washing his hands and feet.

 

Garment Change 1 The Kohen Gadol immersed in a special mikvah in the Temple courtyard and changed into special linen garments, and washed his hands and feet twice, once after removing the golden garments and once before putting on the linen garments.

 

Bull as Personal Sin-Offering The Kohen Gadol leaned (performed Semikha) and made a confession over the bull on behalf of himself and his household, pronouncing the Tetragrammaton. The people prostrated themselves when they heard. He then slaughtered the bull as a chatat (sin-offering) and received its blood in a bowl.

 

Lottery of the goats At the Eastern (Nikanor) gate, the Kohen Gadol drew lots from a lottery box over two goats. One was selected “for the Lord,” and one “for Azazel.” The Kohen Gadol tied a red band around the horns of the goat “for Azazel.”

 

Incense Preparation The Kohen Gadol ascended the mizbeach (altar) and took a shovel full of embers with a special shovel. He was brought incense. He filled his hands and placed it in a vessel. (The Talmud considered this the most physically difficult part of the service, as the Kohen Gadol had to keep the shovelful of glowing coals balanced and prevent its contents from dropping, using his armpit or teeth, while filling his hands with the incense).

 

Incense Offering Holding the shovel and the vessel, he entered the Kadosh Hakadashim, the Temple’s Holy of Holies. In the days of the First Temple, he placed the shovel between the poles of the Ark of the Covenant. In the days of the Second Temple, he put the shovel where the Ark would have been. He waited until the chamber filled with smoke and left.

 

Sprinkling of Bull's Blood in the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol took the bowl with the bull’s blood and entered the Most Holy Place again. He sprinkled the bull’s blood with his finger eight times, before the Ark in the days of the First Temple, where it would have been in the days of the Second. The Kohen Gadol then left the Holy of Holies, putting the bowl on a stand in front of the Parochet (curtain separating the Holy from the Holy of Holies).

 

Goat for the Lord as Sin-Offering for Kohanim The Kohen Gadol went to the eastern end of the Israelite courtyard near the Nikanor Gate, laid his hands (semikha) on the goat “for the Lord,” and pronounced confession on behalf of the Kohanim (priests). The people prostrated themselves when he pronounced the Tetragrammaton. He then slaughtered the goat, and received its blood in another bowl.

 

Sprinkling of Goat’s Blood in the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol took the bowl with the goat’s blood and entered the Kadosh Hakadashim, the Temple’s Holy of Holies again. He sprinkled the goat’s blood with his finger eight times the same way he had sprinkled the bull’s blood. The blood was sprinkled before the Ark in the days of the First Temple, where it would have been in the days of the Second Temple. The Kohen Gadol then left the Kadosh Hakadashim, putting the bowl on a stand in front of the Parochet (curtain separating the Holy from the Holy of Holies).

 

Sprinkling of blood in the Holy Standing in the Hekhal (Holy), on the other side of the Parochet from the Holy of Holies, the Kohen Gadol took the bull's blood from the stand and sprinkled it with his finger eight times in the direction of the Parochet. He then took the bowl with the goat's blood and sprinkled it eight times in the same manner, putting it back on the stand.

 

Smearing of blood on the Golden (Incense) Altar The Kohen Gadol removed the goat’s blood from the stand and mixed it with the bull's blood. Starting at the northeast corner, he then smeared the mixture of blood on each of the four corners of the Golden (Incense) altar in the Haichal. He then sprinkled the blood eight times on the altar.

 

Goat for Azazel The Kohen Gadol left the Haichal and walked to the east side of the Azarah (Israelite courtyard). Near the Nikanor Gate, he leaned his hands (Semikha) on the goat “for Azazel” and confessed the sins of the entire people of Israel. The people prostrated themselves when he pronounced the Tetragrammaton. While he made a general confession, individuals in the crowd at the Temple would confess privately. The Kohen Gadol then sent the goat off “to the wilderness.” In practice, to prevent its return to human habitation, the goat was led to a cliff outside Jerusalem and pushed off its edge.

 

Preparation of sacrificial animals While the goat “for Azazel” was being led to the cliff, the Kohen Gadol removed the insides of the bull, and intertwined the bodies of the bull and goat. Other people took the bodies to the Beit HaDeshen (place of the ashes). They were burned there after it was confirmed that the goat “for Azazel” had reached the wilderness.

 

Reading the Torah After it was confirmed that the goat “for Azazel” had been pushed off the cliff, the Kohen Gadol passed through the Nikanor Gate into the Ezrat Nashim (Women’s Courtyard) and read sections of the Torah describing Yom Kippur and its sacrifices.

 

Garment change 2 The Kohen Gadol removed his linen garments, immersed in the mikvah in the Temple courtyard, and changed into a second set of special golden garments. He washed his hands and feet both before removing the linen garments and after putting on the golden ones.

 

Offering of Rams The Kohen Gadol offered two rams as an olah offering, slaughtering them on the north side of the mizbeach (outer altar), receiving their blood in a bowl, carrying the bowl to the outer altar, and dashing the blood on the northeast and southwest corners of the Outer Altar. He dismembered the rams and burned the parts entirely on the outer altar. He then offered the accompanying mincha (grain) offerings and nesachim (wine-libations).

 

Musaf Offering The Kohen Gadol then offered the Musaf offering.

 

Burning of Innards The Kohen Gadol placed the insides of the bull and goat on the outer altar and burned them entirely.

 

*Garment change 3 The Kohen Gadol removed his golden garments, immersed in the mikvah, and changed to a new set of linen garments, again washing his hands and feet twice.

 

Removal of Incense from the Holy of Holies The Kohen Gadol returned to the Holy of Holies and removed the bowl of incense and the shovel.

 

Garment Change 4 The Kohen Gadol removed his linen garments, immersed in the mikvah, and changed into a third set of golden garments, again washing his hands and feet twice.

 

Evening (Tamid) Offering The Kohen Gadol completed the afternoon portion of the regular (tamid) daily offering in the special golden garments. He washed his hands and feet a tenth time.

 

The Kohen Gadol wore five sets of garments (three golden and two white linen), immersed in the mikvah five times, and washed his hands and feet ten times. Sacrifices included two (daily) lambs, one bull, two goats, and two rams, with accompanying mincha (meal) offerings, wine libations, and three incense offerings (the regular two daily and an additional one for Yom Kippur). The Kohen Gadol entered the Holy of Holies three times. The Tetragrammaton was pronounced three times, once for each confession.[15]

Out of the list of chores the high priest had to do on this day there are only some that matter to us. I've highlighted those and will quickly touch on them. Out of all of those items only some of them appear within the gospel narratives and the reason for that is the others have no purpose in the story. Like in a movie when the character has some bit of business that the audience doesn't need to see. The character moves off-screen and the business, we assume, gets done but it never gets shown and possibly never mentioned. A president will go do "presidential things" whatever they may be but the audience doesn't need to have an entire laundry list of what he did while he was away. We just assume it was in-line with his job. The same applies here. There is a high priest and he has a number of tasks he must accomplish. We aren't told that he's carrying them out but they must be done, or else, so we assume he's doing them.

 

 

Lottery of the goats - [present in narrative]

 

The two goats needed to be functionally identical. Since they were chosen by lot both had to be able to be sacrificed to the "Lord" as well as being sent away. So applying this to the gospel narrative means that when the choice is given both people have to be functionally identical. In this case "Jesus of Nazareth" and "Barsabbas" are identical. We should be able to assume that both are "unblemished" if they are to be sacrifices on any level but it's noted by Pilate that "jesus" has no flaws while "barsabbas" has defects. They are not equal and "barsabbas" is not an acceptable sacrifice. But he is chosen to go "to the Lord." Or is he? The Yoma is long, and hard to read, but almost indicates that "barsabbas" could have been part of a pair that was found to be flawed, was put to pasture and replaced by "jesus." He will be left to die at pasture while "jesus" will be the sacrifice in his stead. There will still be a goat for the "Lord" but we're not following that story here.

 

Here's just a bit of Yoma 65a (not meant to be a complete case for any argument but just a taste of what is written):

We learned: R. JUDAH SAYS: IT SHALL BE LEFT TO DIE. It is quite right in the view of R. Johanan who said that the second of the first pair must be left to pasture [that is, according to the Rabbis]5 and [it is this one which] according to R. Judah be left to die,6 so that he obtains atonement through the second one of the second pair; but if the view of Rab who said that the second of the second pair must be left to pasture, and [it is this one which] according to R. Judah must be left to die, then according to R. Judah7 through which can he obtain atonement? — Do you understand that R. Judah refers to the second of the second pair? R. Judah refers to the second of the first pair.8

 

Mark 15

1 And as soon as it was morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate.

[...]

6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barab'bas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he was wont to do for them. 9 And he answered them, "Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?" 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barab'bas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?" 13 And they cried out again, "Crucify him." 14 And Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him." 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barab'bas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

[...]

20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

 

 

Matthew 27

2 and they bound him and led him away and delivered him to Pilate the governor.

[...]

15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner, called Barab'bas.

[...]

26 Then he released for them Barab'bas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified

[...]

31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.

 

Goat for the Lord as Sin-Offering for Kohanim - [not present in narrative]

The "Goat for the Lord," as per this description, is a sin-offering for the kohanim or priests. This is not what "jesus" was supposed to be (meaning an offering for the priests use only which is what this is). And as such this is not something that is portrayed in the gospels. This also explains why we won't be seeing much in the story when it comes to the Lord's goat at all. It's just not the angle the author intended.

 

Depending on which gospel we read will determine what the priests do and what their overall involvement is during this phase of the story. Normally the priests are present in the house when Peter denies the three times, they're present when handing "jesus" over to Pilate and in the crowd, they're present when Judas returns the money and they're present after the resurrection. But the high priest really only appears in his house during the trial. He's not wandering around and we don't know what he's up to. Which makes sense. I'm not going to quote a bunch of bible verses since most of us already know these stories.

 

Sprinkling of Goat’s Blood in the Holy of Holies - [not present in narrative]

We've no idea what the high priest is up to, as I've already said, since this isn't about him and his so none of the things that occur in the temple are represented.

 

Sprinkling of blood in the Holy - [not present in narrative]

 

Smearing of blood on the Golden (Incense) Altar - [not present in narrative]

 

Goat for Azazel - [present in narrative]

The sins of the people are explicitly confessed in the line (it's implicit in their actions):

 

Matthew 27

24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." 25 And all the people answered, "His blood be on us and on our children!"

 

Also in Yoma 41b:
MISHNAH. HE BOUND11 A THREAD OF CRIMSON WOOL ON THE HEAD OF THE HE-GOAT WHICH WAS TO BE SENT AWAY,12 AND [MEANTIME] HE PLACED IT [AT THE GATE] WHENCE IT WAS TO BE SENT AWAY; AND THE HE-GOAT THAT WAS TO BE SLAUGHTERED, AT THE PLACE OF THE SLAUGHTERING.13

 

This is in the gospels as (I'll just quote one but it's found in them all):

Mark 15:17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him.

 

The footnote for (12) has:
(12) Destined for Azazel, in the wilderness, whence it was hurled to its death from a rock. The word Azazel has been variously interpreted, but it seems to be the name of a place (a rough rock) rather than that of a demon.

Which should help clarify the place chosen for the crucifixion.

 

Preparation of sacrificial animals - [not present in narrative]

 

Reading the Torah - [possibly present in narrative]

(could have to do with women at tomb/disciples in room but I haven't explored this)

 

Burning of Innards - [not present in narrative]

 

-----

 

Hmmm....for some reasons quotes aren't working right so I've replaced some with indents and got rid of some things (it keeps saying mismatched quotes but removing/replacing the exact number of quotes with anything else works fine and I'm well under the quote limit).

 

Anyhow, Pilate and the Romans appear to be cast as the high priest but are they? Or are they really Azazel? They seem more suited to the role of the "Satan" figure to which a sacrifice was delivered "in the wilderness" as it were (outside the temple) and hopefully they will accept this "bribe" so that all other atonement operations will go smoothly. These are the things we're not privy to in this story because, really, we're concerned if the "people" will get their atonement and not so much whether the priests succeed in whatever it is they do since we're not really believers in the temple operations anyhow and the whole of the gospels tend to repeat the belief that this isn't for them either.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a quick look at Yoma 65a, and what I got out of it, was that extra goats had to be on hand in case one of the original sacrifical goats died-- particularily if the "for the lord" goat bit the dust prior to it's sacrifice!! This was just a discussion on what to do with the extra goats from what I could tell-- which even lends more credence in my humble opinion about how ridiculous all of jewish temple customs really were. You had to have back up plans, wardrobe changes, sprinklings, incense burning, etc. Ugggh.. Seems like you should just be able to ask god to forgive you for your sins directly right???

 

The other thing that I keep coming back to when I read all of this business, is that all of these details are being written hundreds of years after the "actual" events took place-- and have been handed down orally prior to the mishnah writings-- the talmud discussions are even later than that and are expansions of the mishnah. Who knows what really went down with regard to these sacrifices-- kind of like magic that never really happened, but people say it did, and they tell someone, and that person tells someone, and eventually, it becomes fact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a quick look at Yoma 65a, and what I got out of it, was that extra goats had to be on hand in case one of the original sacrifical goats died-- particularily if the "for the lord" goat bit the dust prior to it's sacrifice!! This was just a discussion on what to do with the extra goats from what I could tell--

As I mentioned when I posted I only posted a snippet and it was from Yoma 65a just to give an idea of the type of discussion that was taking place. Reading just Yoma 65a will not give you the full story. It is spread through the entire tractate and it wanders about a bit (and is a bit of a pain to follow). They were pretty interested in this topic. It gets touched upon in several other tractates as well but Yoma is really where they dig in.

 

which even lends more credence in my humble opinion about how ridiculous all of jewish temple customs really were.

You had to have back up plans, wardrobe changes, sprinklings, incense burning, etc. Ugggh.. Seems like you should just be able to ask god to forgive you for your sins directly right???

I don't think this was just your opinion. But to the Jews it demonstrates that they took this business extremely serious. They didn't want to leave any room for any errors at all. Remember that breaking the law in a dream would disqualify a high priest from performing his duty at a function such as Yom Kippur. So if he dreamed about his wife? He's out. That's an impurity. Time to call in the backup. This is how serious they took all this stuff.

 

Downright stupid to us but it would mean not gaining favor of their god and possibly bringing ruin onto their people. Superstitions make people do strange things. But it's important to remember all of this when looking into these things otherwise it's easy to forget these were real people doing real things for real reasons and they start to become almost cartoon in nature. Who else could do all this silly shit with a straight face? They did. There's no real need to respect it but it's important to understand it.

 

With that in mind your question makes perfect sense. You *should* be able to go to god directly. And they did. They prayed directly to god and maybe it got answered and maybe it didn't. If you're life was "good" then god liked you and if your life wasn't so good then he didn't. Kind of like Job. They just didn't do their own sacrifices. They relied on a central service for that. It was the law. People forget that since they were essentially a theocracy that biblical law was just the law. They didn't have a secular law and a religious law so much (Roman laws would be the "secular" law but it allowed them pretty free reign to follow their own laws in most things).

 

The other thing that I keep coming back to when I read all of this business, is that all of these details are being written hundreds of years after the "actual" events took place-- and have been handed down orally prior to the mishnah writings-- the talmud discussions are even later than that and are expansions of the mishnah. Who knows what really went down with regard to these sacrifices-- kind of like magic that never really happened, but people say it did, and they tell someone, and that person tells someone, and eventually, it becomes fact.

Yep. Most of it is after the temple fell. There is almost nothing that explains what the temple was like in the 1st century CE. And things that came before may, or may not have, been in effect at a later period. We can only try to guess if they followed any of those writings (even the ones in the law) very closely. They contradict one another. They don't have many details. They aren't always workable. So they were left to interpret them. And this caused lots of fights. So they may have followed the law but how they actually followed the law at any given time isn't always known. So when it is known that is what is used. There's not much choice. We know they had to have done something since doing nothing wasn't really allowed (and the times we're told they did nothing it was usually because an outside force was acting upon them making them do nothing).

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to add a bit from a journal that discusses Herodotus and his use of scapegoats in the hope that some of what I've posted becomes more clear. Even though this article is on Herodotus it demonstrates how scapegoats were generally used. The article is quite long so I'll just post from the opening and then the closing summary:

 

Thus Herodotus (2.39. 2-3), followed apparently by Plutarch (de I. et O., 31), describes the Egyptian bull-sacrifice: for the specific curse on the head the commentators note a lack of explicit corroboration in the Egyptian sources and typically cite the scapegoat parallel in 'Leviticus' 16:211. Yet in the biblical source the scapegoat is sent 'to the wilderness' apparently without any intention that it be received by a foreign population2, whereas what Herodotus describes seems to be a case of hostibus eveniat3.

 

1 A. B. LLOYD, Herodotus Book II, Commentary 1-98 (Leiden 1976) 178; Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, ed. J. G. GRIFFITHS (Cardiff 1970) 416; see also W. W. How and J. WELLS, A Commentary on Herodotus (Oxford 1928) ad loc.

2 Unless this is the mysterious Azazel: see W. BURKERT, Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual (Berkeley 1979) 64; cf. Deut. 14: 21.

3 H. S. VERSNEL, Two Types of Roman Devotio, Mnemosyne 29 (1976) 390.

 

The narrative pattern may be summarized thus. A foreign individual (or small group of two or three) comes to a settled community; he is either, as the typical result of some treacherous lie, received by this population to their great harm or, on two occasions relating to Xerxes, intentionally sent back to his homeland, in which case the community to which he had come escapes immediate disaster and his own homeland may suffer the transferred discomfort. The incomer is normally afflicted by some particular burden or liability, frequently one which he has voluntarily accepted: he may be under a curse which he has undertaken to 'pay off' or have impure hands as a result of fratricide; he may have voluntarily mutilated himself, suffered torture, or willingly accepted the status of wretched vagabond; in one exceptional case he is literally a slave whose status improves as a result of his actions. His presence among the receiving population usually results in some special deception: he may tell an outright lie, make a treacherously false claim of friendship, or unintentionally become the agent through whom a tricky oracle is fulfilled. The narrative pattern is thus the inverse of the familiar Herodotean motif of the wise adviser: for whereas such 'warners' (e. g. Solon before Croesus or Demaratus before Xerxes) may appear as unexpected strangers whose sage advice ought to be accepted29, the character-types discussed here typically represent a danger which is being transmitted from elsewhere against the kings or communities before whom they present themselves.

 

It is the suggestion of this paper that the origin of this narrative pattern is to be found in the religious idea of the transference of evil from one's own community to that of one's enemy via a scapegoat. The figure in Herodotus' versions who plays the central role has the established indicators. He is of ambivalent status - a prince transformed into a lowly victim or a slave who becomes a wealthy citizen; through his treachery or his unintentional error he will bring destruction to the population that has not the cleverness to reject him. Most importantly, he is recognized by some particular handicap or affliction which he has in most instances volunteered to accept. In the strictly religious examples this affliction will appear as a religious taint or pollution; in the parallel secularized cases a physical impairment or mutilation will typically substitute. In all versions the plot-structure remains essentially the same, although in the secularized cases the religious origin of the pattern is barely any longer to be discerned. Instead, in these secondary instances the basic motivation in the narrativeb ecomes straightforwardm ilitaryo r political strategy. Thereafter, the pattern itself is integrated by Herodotus into the overall scheme of the 'Histories': in this regard two points emerge most clearly. First, the story of Sicinnus, which demonstrates the ultimate folly of Xerxes' generals, who now fail the test their king had twice passed, is an episode which shows how the natural genius of Persia within its own borders is weakened as the forces of Xerxes invade a foreign land and fall into its trap. And secondly, the narrative pattern which has been the subject of this paper reinforces a commonplace of Herodotean thought: that cleverness and intelligence - the wit to distinguish the wise adviser from the polluting stranger - are especially required in leaders who would be successful.

 

29 See especially R. LATTIMORE, The Wise Adviser in Herodotus, Cl. Phil. 34 (1939) 24-35 and S. FLORY, The Archaic Smile of Herodotus (Detroit 1987) 13-14 and passim.

 

Scapegoat Narratives in Herodotus

Author(s): Jacob Stern

Source: Hermes, 119. Bd., H. 3 (1991), pp. 304-311

 

Then there's this from a different article:

Concluding observations : The legislation concerning the forgiveness of sins on the Day of Atonement is illumined once we see that it harks back to the first occurrence in the history of the nation when forgiveness is sought for an act of wrongdoing. The issues that come up in the story are the issues that the lawgiver has under review. The story is about the concealment of a transgression by the first sons of Israel. There is a move to have them openly acknowledge their offenses when Joseph trips them up by actions (claiming they are concealed spies, placing money in their sacks) that mirror their original actions against him (concealing their treatment of him, seeking money for him). The brothers do recall their wrongdoing and own up to it in his presence when his identity is still hidden from them (Gen. xlii 21-23). Eventually forgiveness is openly extended to them.

 

The Day of Atonement too is about concealed offenses, the offenders' owning up to them in a context of giving cryptic expression to them (the ritual involving the goat), and forgiveness is extended to those seeking it. The lawgiver focuses on the brothers' method of concealing an offense, namely, by having it transferred to an animal, and exploits it as part of his aim to have his fellow Israelites focus on their offenses by transferring them to an animal. In the story, the brothers receive forgiveness, but they do not openly recount the various sins they have committed. The later descendants of Israel are not to conceal their offenses but, it is implied, are to confess them when seeking forgiveness.20 The ritual is largely commemorative in function and is not, as is generally thought, a relic of a rite with decidedly magical overtones from pre-Israelite times. There is no need for critics to be bewildered by the ritual and to complain that there are "absolutely no elements that are specifically Israelite or that derive specifically from the Yahweh religion."21 One indication that the ritual is commemorative is its sheer impracticality. How does one cause a goat to go off into the wilderness? Lev. xvi 21 speaks of how a man "at hand" ('itti) sends the goat away (possibly reflecting the fact that the story does not single out any one brother as coming up with the idea of killing the goat and saying that a wild beast had killed Joseph). Little wonder that, making an actual institution of the ritual, later Jewish understanding has the animal led away and pushed over a ravine (m. Yoma vi 3-6).22

 

The author of Jubilees spells out in plain terms that the Day of Atonement and the Joseph story are very much bound together. It is a connection that continued to enjoy recognition in later Jewish tradition. 23 Thus Maimonides states: "The Sages... consider the reason for which the congregation is constantly atoned for by means of se''^rmi [(kids of) goats] is that the whole congregation of Israel committed their first act of disobedience [the brothers' offense against Joseph] with the help of a kid [ie'fr] of goats." Equally interesting is Maimonides' observation about the relationship between the brothers' action with the goat and the priests' use of the goat on the Day of Atonement. He comments: "For the end of all these actions [using goats to atone for sin] is to establish firmly in the soul of every disobedient individual the constant need for remembering and making mention of his sin... and that he, his descendants... must seek forgiveness for the sin by an act of obedience belonging to the same species as the act of disobedience."24 I have argued that the atoning ritual with the goat-Maimonides' act of obedience-imitates the brothers' use of it to convey that a wild beast had killed Joseph-Maimonides' act of disobedience. In the language of Gen. 1 20, if forgiveness for evildoing is sought, God will reverse the evil and transform it into good.

 

20 B.A. Levine points out that the verb hitvadddin Lev. xvi 21 means "to reveal oneself" in the matter of one's sins and is the opposite of concealing them. See Leviticus, p. 106.

21 So Gerstenberger, Leviticusp, . 220. He asks how theologians of the 5th century B.C.E. "could have allowed this kind of 'polytheistic' idea to pass through" (p. 221). For him the entire ritual seems so opposed to early Jewish belief.

22 Targum Yerushalmoin Lev. xvi 21 also sees the difficulty with the goat when it has it hurled down a precipice to its death by a gust of wind sent by God.

23 Contrary to the view of R.H. Charles, The Book of Jubilees (London, 1917), p. 171: "The reason [Jacob's mourning on account of what the blood-stained coat signified] here given for the institution of the Day of Atonement (cf. Lev. xvi) seems to be peculiar to our Book." Despite ranging over Rabbinic sources, Wright and Milgrom curiously pay no attention to what, earlier than these sources, the author of Jubilees has to say about the Day of Atonement. In the Judaism of the last centuries B.C.E. other laws in the Pentateuch came to be linked to events recounted in it. Thus the Feast of Weeks commemorates the promulgation of the Law on Sinai, and the Feast of Booths the forty years sojourn of the Israelites in the wilderness. See Bent Noack, "The Day of Pentecost in Jubilees, Qumran, and Acts," ASTI 1 (1962), pp. 73-95.

24 Maimonides, Guideo f the Perplexedt,r ans. Shlomo Pines (Chicago, 1963), Part III 46 (p. 589); also Siphra on Lev. ix 3. See also Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Philadelphia, 1946), vol. 2, p. 27 notes 62 and 65; E.E. Urbach, The Sages, pp. 521-23; and Jacob Neusner, ed., Sifra:A n AnalyticalT ranslationB, JS 139, vol. 2 (Atlanta, GA, 1988), p. 125.

 

The Origin of the Scapegoat Ritual

Author(s): Calum Carmichael

Source: Vetus Testamentum, Vol. 50, Fasc. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 167-182

So the scapegoat is not specifically tied to the Jews religion and can be seen in the story of Joseph and his brothers, which precedes the story of Moses and the Exodus, and is also in the Jubilees.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.