The Israelite Roots of Atonement Terminology


The Israelite Roots of Atonement Terminology

TitleThe Israelite Roots of Atonement Terminology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsT. Spackman, Benjamin
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
Volume55
Issue1
Pagination39-64
KeywordsAlma; Alma 26; Alma 26:17; Atonement; Israelite; Mosiah; Mosiah 27: 28; Mosiah 27:29; Redeemer; Redemption
Abstract

This article focuses on three common English terms—atonement, salvation, and redemption; their usual Hebrew equivalents as rendered in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV); and their associated conceptions found within the Hebrew Bible. In general, ancient Israelites understood redeem primarily in terms of kinship and family law and secondarily as a covenantal term. Salvation was found more often in political or martial contexts. And atonement was primarily a priestly term, dealing with ritual purity and pollution. The semantic lines between these Hebrew terms have been blurred in modern English usage, if not erased entirely; they have also become highly theological, eschatological, and heavenly, whereas their conceptual Israelite linguistic origins are often grounded in the concrete, this-worldly, and practical. The article suggests that recovering the Hebrew sources of the three terms yields more clarity about the theology of atonement.

URLhttp://byustudies.byu.edu/content/israelite-roots-atonement-terminology