Original Research

Between family and temple: Jesus and sacrifices

Adriana Destro, Mauro Pesce
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 58, No 2 | a561 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v58i2.561 | © 2002 Adriana Destro, Mauro Pesce | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2002 | Published: 17 December 2002

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Adriana Destro, University of Bologna, Italy
Mauro Pesce, University of Bologna, Italy

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Abstract

Sacrifice generally aims at obtaining from and by supernatural force the right to exercise control over life. As far as Jewish sacrifices are concerned, according to
Leviticus, victims’ blood serves to purify the holy places of the temple and no sacrifices can expiate voluntary sins. In Mt  6:12 God’s forgiveness is obtained through a trilateral relationship between the sinner, the “debtor”, and  God, without any expiatory sacrificial act being required. Jesus did not, however, reject the  sacrificial rituals of the temple, those rituals that did not serve to expiate voluntary sins. In Jesus’ proposal, the forgiveness by one individual of another implies a social conception, which includes the absence of debt,  reconciliation, justice and equality. Jesus transforms and relocates two aspects of the religion of the Second  Temple. In his conception, the forgiveness of sins and  a new beginning of people’s lives brought about by the Jubilee can happen anywhere (not only in the temple)  and at any time (not only once a year for Yom ha-
kippurim).

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