Sunday, April 22, 2012

"He Himself is the propitiation (ἱλασμός) for our sins"

"unless we are mistaken, by [ἱλάσκομαι] is expressed in profane literature the action of man on divinity [(actio hominis in divinitatem)], whereas by this word in the O[ld] T[estament] (the LXX) is understood the action of Divinity on man (whether direct or via a mediating priest) [(actio Divinitatis in hominem (sive directa sive mediante sacerdote))].  Here the talk is of the annihilation of sin; there of the propitiation of divinity, of the placation of wrath."

     L. Moraldi, "Sensus vocus ἱλαστήριον in Rom. 3,25," Verbum Domini 26 (1948):  272 (257-276), as quoted by Léopold Sabourin, S.J., in his "Le bouc émissaire, figure du Christ?," Sciences écclesiastiques 11 (1959):  64n85 (45-79).  Thus, in the Comm. in Lev. of Dionysius the Carthusian we have an application of "penal substitution . . . to the sacrifice of the Old Testament.  The sacrifices of animals are not, above all, for Dionysius, the symbolic expression of death to sin on the part of the one who offers them or a figure of the true sacrifice to come; their immolation has a sense in itself [(un sens en elle-même)]:  the beasts, by their sufferings, satisfy [(satisfont à, give satisfaction to)] the justice of God" (Sabourin, 65).
     Sabourin is not, I think, complimenting Dionysius here.


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