The Last Supper, the Temple Incident, and the “Spiritualization” of Sacrifice in the New Testament

Jonathan Klawans

in Purity, Sacrifice, and the Temple

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780195162639
Published online January 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199785254 | DOI:
                      The Last Supper, the Temple Incident, and the “Spiritualization” of Sacrifice in the New Testament

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This chapter reexamines New Testament traditions concerning the Last Supper and Jesus’ overturning the tables in the Jerusalem temple. It argues that the last supper can be understood as a symbolic act seeking to emulate the temple, affirming its efficacy and meaning. The temple incident is understood as a development of earlier prophetic notions concerning the rejection of stolen sacrifices. In his concern for the poor — and in line with his communitarian social message — Jesus overturned the tables in the temple because he rejected the idea that the poor should be charged at all for their sacrifices. The differing rabbinic perspective on this question is also explored. The chapter concludes with brief survey of anti-temple polemics found in Acts, Hebrews, and Revelation.

Keywords: New Testament; spiritualization; Paul; Acts; Hebrews; Gospels; symbolic action; Revelation; poor; Rabbinic literature

Chapter.  17630 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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