Friday, January 16, 2009

A ritual leads to a ritual leads to a...

After discussing the idea that a perceived problem can lead to a ritual, which solves the problem, Klingbeil notes:

Interestingly, some ritual action may resolve the initial problem, but may require a further ritual cycle at a later stage to provide a more complete solution. The Israelite sacrificial system and its culmination in the Day of Atonement as an elimination rite is a good example for this category of rituals. The final outcome of these “problem-solving” rituals was the rebalancing of life threatening circumstances that led to a reintegration of those involved into community with Yhwh and the larger community of Israel. During the Day of Atonement ritual, this experience of a new beginning and the re-creation of new relationships are publicly shown by means of the particular subrite. The second male goat, over whose head all the sins and all the transgressions of the Israelites have been confessed (Lev 16:21), is taken after the cleansing of the sanctuary (Lev 16:20) and is led into the desert never to return. He is not a sacrificial animal but the carrier of all the sins of Israel, for whom no return is possible. Yhwh’s forgiveness is practically illustrated, and thus the holiness of the sanctuary is reestablished.—Bridging the Gap, page 142

<idle musing>
I'm going to have to chew on that one for a while. I'm sure there is some profound thought there, but it just barely is escaping me at the moment. Anybody care to comment?
</idle musing>

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