In response to criticisms of my proposal to understand the term ἱλαστήριον in Rom 3,25 as “votive offering”, both theologically and lexicographically, this article tries to develop the matter a step further. Therefore, it first discusses the various problems concerning the widely held interpretation that the term refers to the “mercy seat” of Lev 16LXX and describes the death of Jesus as the establishment of a new place of atonement. Furthermore, the philological possibility of translating ἱλαστήριον as “votive offering” or, more precisely, as “propitiatory offering” is elaborated in detail. Finally, the article discusses the application of the ancient practice of propitiatory offerings to Rom 3,25, directing attention to its possible reception by the listeners and to the theological significance of this process.
A highly reputed journal published since 1900, the Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft is an international journal for the exegesis of the New Testament and knowledge of the early church (patristics).