16 Sermons III/11. Newly Discovered Sermons, trans. E. Hill (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1997), 219.

occurring ‘outside the city gate’ (Heb. 13: 11–13). Despite the pervasive cultic imagery, Hebrews ended with a non-cultic version of the sacrifice of Christ, priest and victim. The Letter to the Hebrews encourages eight convictions about Christ’s priesthood and the strictly related reality of sacrifice. (1) We should not simply apply to his sacrifice and priesthood models we have drawn from elsewhere. We would miss much of what Christ did and does as priest, if we try to describe and explain it even along the lines of the Levitical priesthood which, according to tradition, had been developed by Moses at the command of God. There is something radically new about the sacrifice and priesthood of Christ. We should evaluate priesthood and sacrifice in the light of Christ, and not vice versa. The author of Hebrews approached Christ’s death and resurrection in the light of existing notions of sacrifice, only to reinterpret dramatically these inherited images and views.17

17 Apropos of the modern situation, Robert Daly criticizes those who approach the sacrifice of Christ in the light of conventional theories: ‘We have usually started at the wrong end. We should have tried to learn from the Christ event what it was Christians were trying to express when, at first quite hesitantly, in earliest Christianity they began to speak of the Christ event … as sacrificial; instead, we went to look at the practice of different religions in the world, drawing up a general definition of sacrifice, and then seeing if it were applicable to Christ. The usual definition drawn from the history of religions or cultural anthropology is reasonable enough in itself but when made to apply to Christ, it is disastrously inadequate’: ‘Sacrifice Unveiled or Sacrifice Revisited: Trinitarian and Liturgical Perspectives’, Theological Studies, 64 (2003), 24 42, at 25.