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Title: kōper et expiation
Author(s): SCHENKER, Adrian
Journal: Biblica
Volume: 63    Issue: 1   Date: 1982   
Pages: 32-46
DOI: 10.2143/BIB.63.1.3220825

Abstract :
This article aims at a more precise understanding of the Hebrew word kōper. The basic text on which the study depends is Ex 21,28-32. With the help of Gen 32,21 and Prov 16,14, where the verb KPR is used in an analogous context, the conclusion is drawn that the noun signifies a 'placating' or a 'mollifying', or a means to mollify or placate. This meaning is then applied to the other biblical passages where the word occurs. Among other things, a distinction is made between a legal kōper and an illegal kōper (the latter is a synonym for šōḥad), and between kōper and pidyôn, 'ransom'. However, dictionaries generally prefer to give the meaning 'ransom' or 'indemnity' for kōper. From a theological point of view, expiation means that God freely offers Israel the possibility of an exchange to avoid definitive punishment: this would be the liturgy of expiation.

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