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Supersessionism and the Cult Attitude of Stephen and Hebrews

Moore, Nicholas J.

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Nicholas J. Moore


In the face of continued debates about Christian supersessionism with regard to Judaism, this article revisits two texts which have been thought to display the harshest anti-temple attitudes in the New Testament: Stephen’s speech in Acts 7, and the Letter to the Hebrews. Many scholars believe these two texts are connected, and a perceived anti-cultic attitude forms one of the key alleged similarities between the two. The article first examines shared lexical and conceptual points between the two texts, affirming their proximity. It then examines each text’s cult attitude in turn. Stephen portrays the temple as divinely given yet always subordinate to God’s heavenly presence. Hebrews frames deficiencies in the Levitical cultus as divinely intended in light of the heavenly tabernacle. These texts therefore do not condemn but instead relativize Israel’s earthly sanctuary/ies, in keeping with themes in Israel’s Scriptures, and thus should not be regarded as supsersessionist.


Moore, N. J. (2024). Supersessionism and the Cult Attitude of Stephen and Hebrews. Irish Theological Quarterly, 89(2), 133-150.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2024
Online Publication Date Feb 13, 2024
Publication Date 2024-05
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2024
Journal Irish Theological Quarterly
Print ISSN 0021-1400
Electronic ISSN 1752-4989
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 89
Issue 2
Pages 133-150
Keywords heaven, tabernacle, transcendence, cult critique, sanctuary, Acts of the Apostles
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Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (304 Kb)


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Copyright Statement
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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