- Paperback: 112 pages
- Publisher: SPCK Publishing (23 April 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 028105634X
- ISBN-13: 978-0281056347
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Temple Theology: An Introduction Paperback – 23 Apr 2004
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Study of the Jewish Temple is very important at present - but often studies remain at the archaeological level. What has been less studied is the theological reason for the artefacts discovered by the archaeologists. Margaret Barker, already a published expert in this area, gives a general introduction, and then focuses on four areas of meaning: Creation, Covenant, Atonement and Wisdom. The book also discusses how Jesus related to the Temple.
About the Author
Margaret Barker is an independent biblical scholar and former President of the Society for Old Testament Study and a member of the Ecumenical Patriarch's Symposium on Religion, Science and the Environment; and a Methodist local preacher.
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Temple, the doctrine of the Son of God, the Trinity are not later importations but beliefs which were expunged by post-exilic Judaism.
One of the main problems shown by MB is that the modern Bible is very different to the scriptures accepted by Jesus and the early church and that the post-reformation church has too readily accepted the rabbinic redaction of the Old Testament.
I could say a lot more, but read it for yourself.
This particular title may be considered as a general introduction to her work and was originally presented as a series of lectures given at Heythrop College, London University in 2003. It is a surprise to learn from her research that Christianity is older than Judaism, but her arguments (which are extensively explained and argued in great detail in her other writings) are solid and clear. Her argument being that Christian theology developed very quickly because it had evolved out of a preceding and fully formed and earlier faith - one which was not Judaism or the faith of the second temple, but the theology of the first, Davidic temple, and to which Jesus and his followers were the successors. She is therefore also parenthetically refuting the usual assumption that a mature Christian theology necessarily developed gradually through a confluence with Greek philosophy and culture.
Unlike many academics in this field - and one thinks here of writers such as Dominic Crossan - Barker does not project concepts framed within her/our culture upon the culture that she is researching. Consequently she attempts to explain the researched facts rather than falling into the trap of taking preconceptions drawn from our culture and projecting them upon the one under investigation.
This is intended as an introduction to Barker's extensive and ongoing work, much of which is very detailed and challenging to read. Read this one first! Cutting edge.
Barker also over-emphasises the divisions between first and second temple Judaism, seeing developments or changes as somehow being deviations from the true Judaism, whereas one must be open to the possibillity that just as God's revelation of Himself is ongoing to the Church, so too the Jews may actuaslly have been led by him and so not have had a static faith.
There are the odd moments when Barker identifies interesting links between different themes, but frequently she then refers to these later as though they have been firmly established and uses them to propose other theories which often left me muttering to myself that she had not established her ideas in strong enough ways to make such jumps.
Overall an intersting book that is very readable, and certainly raises some fascinating questions, I learned things from it and was left thinking about God in new ways. However, the strong Protestant approach was ultimately unsatisfying, it would be good to have someone more firmly rooted in the Church deal with these issues.
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