Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews

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Scholars often explain Hebrews’ relative silence regarding Jesus’ resurrection by emphasizing the author’s appeal to Yom Kippur’s two key moments—the sacrificial slaughter and the high priest’s presentation of blood in the holy of holies—in his distinctive portrayal of Jesus’ death and heavenly exaltation. The writer’s depiction of Jesus as the high priest whose blood effected ultimate atonement appears to be modeled upon these two moments. Such a typology discourages discrete reflection on Jesus’ resurrection. Drawing on contemporary studies of Jewish sacrifice (which note that blood represents life, not death), parallels in Jewish apocalyptic literature, and fresh exegetical insights, this volume demonstrates that Jesus’ embodied, resurrected life is crucial for the high-priestly Christology and sacrificial soteriology developed in Hebrews.
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Biographical Note

David M. Moffitt, Ph.D. (2010) in Religion, Duke University, is Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School. He has published several essays including articles in the Journal of Biblical Literature and the Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft.

Review Quote

"Moffitt's study is an impressive piece of research, benefitting from the responsible use of Second Temple sources and from a patient sensitivity to the internal logic of Hebrews itself."
Grant Macaskill, Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 34:5

"An important contribution on Hebrews. Moffitt is to be commended for this carefully argued volume that raises important questions, new and old. Careful readers will profit from Moffitt’s numerous exegetical insights, particularly his emphasis on the clear presence of Jesus’s resurrection in Hebrews."
Aubrey Sequeira, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kentucky, Credo Magazine 2014

"This well written and persuasively argued book will stimulate further conversation of the status of Jesus’s resurrection in Hebrews."
Alan C. Mitchell, Georgetown University, Religious Studies Review , Vol. 42, No. 4

"David Moffitt has delivered an important and groundbreaking contribution to the field of scholarship in Hebrews. His thesis for the presence and importance of the resurrection in the epistle is well formed and provides clarity to many difficult passages [...] By offering a clear and convincing proposal for the theology of the author of Hebrews, Moffitt brings to light an important and often neglected theme. For that his work should be welcomed by all."
Chris Byrley, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Exhibit(s) an ancient and recently revived commitment to studying the Bible not simply for the intellectual curiosity of academia but ultimately for the life of the church."
Amy L. B. Peeler, Wheaton College, Books and Culture (2013)

"Presents a robust case for a bold thesis: far from being an oversight or deliberate omission, the resurrection is an essential presupposition, in the Letter to the Hebrews and is in particular logically central to the text’s understanding of atonement. [...] Moffitt’s fundamental achievement [...] is to have put the resurrection squarely back on the map of Hebrews scholarship."
Nicholas J. Moore, Keble College, Oxford, Journal of Theological Studies, October 2013

"I highly recommend scholars and theologians to read this text. New Testament scholars would greatly benefit reading this text and
wrestling with its implications. Theologians would do well to read this text in order to bolster current theological expressions of Hebrews Christology, Jesus’ relationship to the angels (Heb 1–2), bodily ascension of Jesus and surrounding Jewish traditions, Adamic and Moses typology, atonement theory, and more."
Shawn J. Wilhite, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fides et Himilitas: The Journal of the Center for Ancient Christian Studies 2014/1

Readership

All those interested in concepts of sacrificial ritual and theories of atonement, Jewish apocalypticism, Second Temple literature, and early Christianity, as well as biblical scholars, theologians, and historians of antiquity.