Daly, Robert J. "Part 1: Sacrifice in the Old Testament. Chapter Three: Sacrificial Blood and Atonement." Christian Sacrifice: The Judaeo-Christian Background Before Origen. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1978, 87-136.
By the start of the Christian era, Daly observes that blood was closely associated with sacrifice, though the fire was also prominent (Daly 1978, 87). The functions of blood to give life, to express catharsis, and to signify cleansing in a sacramental manner were all readily recognized (Daly 1978, 87).
Daly describes the blood and atonement rituals from a variety of passages which discuss sacrifice (Daly 1978, 89ff). Among these, the rite regarding the Passover receives a relatively extensive treatment. The ritual regarding the blood at this event was of such importance that by the early Christian period the blood of atonement was considered central to Passover (Daly 1978, 94). Sacrifice and atonement were strongly associated. At the same time, Daly illustrates, within rabbinic culture, by the time of the temple's destruction in 70 A.D., the community had effectively replaced the temple and sacrifice as the means of atonement (Daly 1978, 95). Fasting, aswell as communal actions of humility were understood to atone for sins, particularly in the Diaspora (Daly 1978, 96). Daly considers this idea to be rooted in two concepts which interacted with one another. Sin was seen to bear a communal aspect, in which the community would share in the uilt of individual sins. This concept was coupled with that of a strongly material idea of atonement in which physical actions completed the act of forgiveness (Daly 1978, 99). The idea of a more abstract individual spirituality never caught on.
The laying on of hands at a time of sacrifice, as well as in the scape goat ritual, is an important symbolic action. In some way it associates the person making the offering with the victim. However, Daly is unsure what agreement can be made on the nature of the specific association (Daly 1978, 101). Yet laying on of hands retained a prominent place in Judaic and early Chrsitian rituals.
Application of the sacrificial blood was a prominent part of the sacrifice. In Ezekiel 43, the altar is purified by putting blood on it (Daly 1978, 109). This cleansing is also featured in other descriptions of preparation for services of atonement.
Leviticus 17:11 makes an important connection between blood and life, as it prohibits consumption of blood. This concept, in Daly's estimation, makes sense of much of the Old Testament understanding of sacrifice (Daly 1978, 113). Daly therefore discusses this passage, along with Genesis 9:4 and Deuteronomy 12:23, which also speak against consumption of blood. Critical to the understanding is that since God is the God of life, he can direct how the blood which is associated with life may be used (Daly 1978, 115). After several pages of exegesis of verse 11, Dalty concludes that the sacrificial blood makes atonement because it contains the power of life. He then considers the importance of the concept of substitution in the Old Testament (Daly 1978, 120).
While Daly affirms substitution to be a central Old Testament idea, he considers penal substitution to have been refuted (Daly 1978, 121). His argument is based on the relative lack of interest in the suffering of a sacrificial lamb. Although atonement was made through the lamb's death, the pain of the lamb was not considered important. Daly sees the concept of vicarious suffering of one person for another or for a group to arise in Hebrew thought relatively late, possibly not until the Christian period (Daly 1978, 123). Isaiah 52-53 is considered an outlier and a cryptic text. The concept of martyrdom, which is adjacent to that of penal substitution, arises relatively late in Judaism as well, possibly around the second century B.C. (Daly 1978, 124). However, the idea of a martyr atoning for someone else's sins remained foreign.
Daly finally turns his attention to the Septuagint's translation of Leviticus 17:11, which he suggested early to be possibly misleading (Daly 1978, 127). The heart ofthe problem, as Daly sees it, is the use of the word ψυχή. Where the Hebrew term indicates "life" the Greek rendering is associated with the soul (Daly 1978, 128). In addition, the phrasing ἀντὶ τῆς ψυχῆς makes a strong suggestion of vicarious atonement, which Daly considers to be an unnecessary interpretation of the Hebrew text. Though it may be acceptable, he considers it to point in an interpretive direction not required by the Hebrew (Daly 1978, 131). The line of interpretation was adopted in subsequent translations and interpretations, which led to an assumption that Leviticus 17:11 was necessarily speakingof a vicarious, penal substitution (Daly 1978, 133).
In conclusion, Daly takes blood sacrifice and atonement to be central to Old Testament thought, but not necessarily in the form of a vicarious, penal substitution.