A new book includes a detailed study on the meaning of the veil in Israelite and Jewish religion.
Daniel M. Gurtner
The Torn Veil: Matthew's Exposition of the Death of Jesus
Cambridge University Press, 2007
From the blurb:
Daniel M. Gurtner examines the meaning of the rending of the veil at the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:51a by considering the functions of the veil in the Old Testament and its symbolism in Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism. Gurtner incorporates these elements into a compositional exegesis of the rending text in Matthew. He concludes that the rending of the veil is an apocalyptic assertion like the opening of heaven revealing, in part, end-time images drawn from Ezekiel 37. Moreover, when the veil is torn Matthew depicts the cessation of its function, articulating the atoning role of Christ's death which gives access to God not simply in the sense of entering the Holy of Holies (as in Hebrews), but in trademark Matthean Emmanuel Christology: 'God with us'. This underscores the significance of Jesus' atoning death in the first gospel.