Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Leviticus 7-8 ...

Leviticus 7-8

Work has me beat.  No comments from me tonight.


  1. 'Sweet savour to the Lord' maybe, but I bet I'm not the only one thinking that for the poor saps nearer home, all that splashed blood and burned meat must have smelled fairly bad, specially in a hot climate. OK, so you got your meals and some of your clothes provided, but suddenly the priesthood doesn't look like such an appealing career choice, even if it did run in the family...

    Yup, I've got a frivolous mind. Sorry.

  2. @showinginterest

    I agree, there had to have been some putrid smells mixed in with the barbecue-y (I'm pretty sure thats a word!) smells. I'm about over all the blood sacrifice rituals, but I'm sure there are more to be had in the coming text.

    Can't stop thinking about 'Mr. Deity and the Really Unique Gift' episode.

  3. Can't stop thinking about 'Mr. Deity and the Really Unique Gift' episode.

    I love Mr. Deity but hadn't seen that one yet, thanks for the heads up!

    While the minutiae of temple procedure must be fascinating to historians, it really does seem like filler in a book that's supposed to be divine and perfect and eternal. How is ancient animal sacrifice relevant to anyone today?

    Yes, yes, it's all really about Jesus and his blood sacrifice, and how Jesus removed the need for all this. But still- do we really need twelve hundred chapters of minute detail to get that point across?

    I would love to publish a translation of the Bible that took out all the law. It would be a much snappier book.

    Oh, and in chapter 8 Aaron finally gets around to putting the Urim and Thummin in his breastpiece. I thought he'd forgotten them.

    My translation notes that "breastpiece" may be "pouch", which would be more applicable to sacred lots. You can't really use them if they're embedded in your clothes.

  4. I noticed two things in particular the past two days.
    First the use of the word soul referring to an individual and not an incorporeal essence that is not part of the flesh. I know that Jehovahs Witnesses use passages like this to claim that there is no soul.
    Second, God told Moses how to sanctify Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his descendants were supposed to be special as priests, but God never tales to them directly, and used Moses to make them holy. It's as if God liked Moses best

  5. Here's something that I thought was kind of cool about reading through these sacrifice chapters. From a modern perspective, the sacrifice-based rituals of ancient religion seem so remote. I listened to a series of Teaching Company lectures a couple years ago called Religion In the Ancient Mediterranean World, and the professor stressed that ancient religion was very different from what we think of as religion today in that it was not so much about systems of belief or morality but rather about rituals and sacrifices (human, animal, food) to propitiate the deities, securing their beneficence and avoiding their wrath.

    The sacrificial protocols outlined in the first first section of Leviticus and presumably practiced by the ancient Israelites are far from unique and are one of many variations on a theme common to almost all their contemporaries and neighbors. The idea of appeasing a deity by sacrificing animals to it to make up for things you've done to displease it certainly has an ancient feel and is hard for us to relate to, but. . .

    . . . There's some cultural continuity here. Jews continued to maintain and evolve these sacrificial rituals and kept the practices alive at least in spirit. The authors of the New Testament were immersed in this tradition and incorporated it into their framing of Jesus (a proxy blood sacrifice for our sins, the sin offering). The Gospel according to John has John the Baptist addressing Jesus as the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

    Christians have kept this alive throughout the ages to the present day and the sacrifice is commemorated regularly in the Catholic Eucharist and similar Christian rituals. For this reason I, hundreds of times in my life, have earnestly sung or recited the words "Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us." - Referencing the sacrifice of someone standing in for a lamb to make up for upsetting the deity, and asking that the deity looks mercifully on me, just like in ancient times. Despite no longer believing, that makes me feel a small but meaningful connection to ancient cultural ancestors, and I think that's awesome.

  6. @ Abbie
    1. "But still- do we really need twelve hundred chapters of minute detail to get that point across?

    2. I would love to publish a translation of the Bible that took out all the law. It would be a much snappier book."

    1. This is the law library, the constitution, of the theocracy Israel. Ever see law books that were not boring?

    2. Marcion did so, as did Thomas Jefferson. Oh by the way, Marcion was a heretic.

  7. Oh by the way, Marcion was a heretic.

    No, Marcion was from a stream of tradition slightly different from the proto-orthodoxy. His side lost. The proto-orthodoxy won, and so they get to say Marcion was a heretic. If Marcion had won, he'd be saying the same thing about the proto-orthodoxy.

  8. By "he", I mean to say his theological descendants, who would themselves be the orthodoxy, but an alternate one. The fact is that there were a bunch of different religious groups that called themselves Christian and used the NT as holy scripture. Only one group grew large enough to squash the rest.

    If human affairs had gone slightly differently, we would all be Ebionites.

  9. And Jefferson didn't quite take out all the law. He took out all references to the supernatural/miracles in the gospels. Kept all the moral teachings and philosophy. I always like when the founding fathers are called out as such true believers. Apparently, not so much.

  10. Oh noez, the snipe train is fired up

  11. @Euslyss && @Susan
    That Bible by Jefferson was for his personal study, it only became public after his death. Reading about Jefferson i think he was working some things out himself and was not able to finish his study before he died. And that Bible we have was part of that study process. Now those are my thoughts. :-D

  12. @Abbie,
    "The fact is that there were a bunch of different religious groups that called themselves Christian"

    You are correct we still have a bunch running around today claiming the same thing and are not real Christians.
    (II Corinthians 2:17; Titus 1:11) Sums it up. You will need to have the KJV for them to make sense. I know a few other translations corrupt 2 Corinthians 2:17.

  13. Well, I'm having a major epiphany here! And from the comments I can see that you all beat me there, but I'm going to talk about it anyhow! :)

    Growing up as the daughter of a pastor I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the "lamb of god" symbol and later viewing the scriptures as an atheist I figured I got the cultural perspective, but I never really appreciated until now the importance of the Israelite sacrificial cult. (And I use the word "cult" not in its modern, pejorative, sense, but in its anthropological sense as a particular set of rites and rituals.) It's only now occurring to me what the sacrifice of Jesus must have meant for early Christians (who were, of course, Jews). How Jesus' sacrifice just wiped out hundreds or thousands of years of this daily sacrificing of animals and sprinkling of blood to expiate sin, and said no more. I'm sure I'm not explaining this well, but I just never got that for the early Christians this was not just change on a spiritual level but a change in the entire concept of one's relation to deity. It must have been incredibly awesome to the early Christians. Heck, I find it awesome and I don't even believe in it!

  14. (II Corinthians 2:17; Titus 1:11) Sums it up.

    Well, yes it does. Even as early as Paul, there were other forms of Christianity developing.

    That Paul thought they were wrong is unsurprising, and just proves my point.

    Titus is one of the forged "pastoral" letters, decidedly written some time after Paul's churches had developed hierarchy not present in Paul's writing.

  15. I would like to apologize if my post came off as sniping. The last two sentences of it were probably uncalled for.

    This isn't the time or place for a discussion of the Jefferson Bible (although it might rear its head again later), but if anyone cares to read, Belief Net has a great excerpted essay on Jefferson's whole theological struggle:

  16. Interesting. 2Cor2 also includes (in v. 15) the ...unto God a sweet savour... language found in Leviticus.

  17. @Abbie
    Do you subscribe to the will to power, winners write the books theory of history?

  18. Is there some package dealing going on here, or is the idea that the winners tell the story somehow inextricably linked with Nietzsche's will to power? Is there another shoe waiting to drop in which the ideological connections between Nietzsche and Hitler are pointed out?