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Yom Kippur in Mishnah Yoma

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Chapter Summary

Tractates of the Mishnah that describe the Temple cult are traditionally understood as depiction of the cult as it was actually performed in the time of the Second Temple. A more radical solution understands the Mishnaic descriptions as ideal forms of the cult, based exclusively on the biblical text and not at all reflecting the reality of the Second Temple period. An analysis of tractate Yoma in the Mishnah must therefore be read on the background of the biblical text, mainly Lev 16, but also has to take into account all relevant information in the literature of the Second Temple period. The largest part of tractate Yoma is dedicated to the Temple service; only chapter eight, the last chapter of the tractate, norms and describes the Day of Atonement in the religious life of the individual. Therefore the public cult takes pride of place in this chapter, as well.

Keywords:Atonement; Mishnah Yoma; Yom Kippur



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