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The scapegoat between northern Syria, hittites, israelites, greeks and early Christians

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Chapter Summary

In the Old Testament a curious purification ritual occurs. It is the escape of the goat that has given its name to a certain ritual complex: the (e)scapegoat ritual, whereas the German Reformer Martin Luther wanted to emphasize the transfer of sins and therefore introduced the word Sündebock, ?sin-goat', into the German language. Yet, in all probability, the Israelite ritual was not indigenous but derived eventually from Northern Syria. At the same time, a clearly related ritual in ancient Greece can also be found. Moreover, there are strong indications that the ritual played a significant role in the development of the Christian doctrine of the atonement. That is why this chapter studies its occurrence first in Northern Syria and among the Hittites, then the Israelites, the Greeks, and concludes with the early Christians.

Keywords: atonement; Christians; Greeks; Hittites; Israelites; northern Syria; Old Testament; purification ritual; scapegoat ritual



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