This book explores the influence of the Day of Atonement on the Gospels. In the first chapter, Hans M. Moscicke studies the effect of Yom Kippur traditions on Matthew’s Final Judgment episode (Matt 25:31–46), arguing that the evangelist portrays the expulsion of the unrighteous as a purgative event resembling the yearly expulsion of iniquity from the temple by means of the scapegoat. In Chapter Two, he contends that Matthew constructs a goat-for-Yahweh typology in his baptism scene (Matt 3:16–17) and a goat-for-Azazel typology in his temptation narrative (Matt 4:1–11). He argues in the third chapter that Luke’s narrative regarding Jesus’s visit to Nazareth (Luke 4:16–30) has been shaped by Jubilee and Yom Kippur traditions. In Chapter Four he explores the impact of ancient elimination rituals and scapegoat traditions on the Gerasene exorcism pericopae (Mark 5:1–20 parr.). Finally, in the final chapter he investigates the influence of the Day of Atonement on John’s resurrection narrative (John 20:11–23), especially his allusion to the cherubim and atonement slate in John 20:20.
Hans M. Moscicke (PhD in Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity, Marquette University) is currently an instructor at Saint Louis University.
1.The Final Judgment as Ritual Purgation of Cosmos: The Impact of Yom Kippur on “the Sheep and the Goats” (Matt. 25:31-46)
2.Jesus as Goat for Yahweh and Goat for Azazel in Matthew’s Baptism-Temptation Narrative (Matt. 3:16‒4:11)
3.Jubilary Release of Sins and the Scapegoating of Jesus in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30)
4.The Gerasene/Gadarene Exorcism as Apocalyptic Mimesis of the Scapegoat Ritual: A Synoptic Analysis
5.Jesus’s Atonement and Heavenly Ascent in John’s Resurrection Narrative (John 20:11-23)
Moscicke's work provides fascinating and unprecedented insight into how the New Testament Gospels drew upon Leviticus 16 and the Day of Atonement ritual in their portrayal of the life and teachings of Jesus. Engaging an impressive array of primary source material, Moscicke places the Gospels in their proper Second Temple context, revealing how the evangelists utilized imagery from Leviticus 16 and various Yom Kippur traditions to advance their respective theological messages. Goat for Yahweh, Goat for Azazel is clearly written, precise in details, and extremely interesting. For years to come it will benefit both scholars and lay people seeking to recapture the sacrerdotal dimensions of the earliest stories about Jesus.
In his second monograph on the reception of Yom Kippur traditions in the canonical Gospels, Hans Moscicke demonstrates once more the deep roots of early Christianity within the matrix of early Judaism. Engaging with the latest scholarship on the topic, this exciting study offers fresh and original insights into many facets of central New Testament passages. Highly recommended to everyone interested in a serious exploration of the intellectual world of the early followers of Jesus.
Hans Moscicke’s study of the Day of Atonement theme on the canonical Gospels marks a significant and welcome contribution to a largely neglected topic. In noting that Yom Kippur was arguably the most important holy day in the ancient Jewish calendar, Moscicke correctly questions whether modern scholarship has taken seriously enough the influence of this theme on the evangelists and/or their sources. His argument that certain Gospel passages have been influenced by the concepts and rituals of Leviticus 16, either directly or through the prism of later Jewish Yom Kippur traditions, is engaging, stimulating, and provocative.