Sin, Impurity, Sacrifice, Atonement: The Priestly Conceptions (Sklar)

I really love Leviticus, and I finally got around to this book. As the title suggests, Sklar investigates how the four concepts of sin, impurity, sacrifice, and atonement relate to one another. Leviticus is a foreign world to us in a number of ways, so thinking through the social matrix of ancient Israel can be difficult. Here’s the puzzle (taken from page 1). The sacrifices of atonement address sin in some contexts and impurity in others. Both, however, lead to atonement (kipper) for the one offering the sacrifice. In contexts of sin, the result is forgiveness. In contexts of impurity, the result is purification or consecration. In both, however, an atoning sacrifice is required and the priest makes atonement for the offerer. So, why is atonement required in both? How should we think about these priestly conceptions.

Read the book and find out! It’s a really great study that is less than 200 pages. Highly recommended.

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