Margaret Barker argues that the theology of the temple before the time of Christ and during the Old Testament period was "Christianity."

Margaret Barker

Margaret Barker, On Earth as it is in Heaven: Temple Symbolism in the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1995)

T&T Clark
Margaret Barker
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There must have been another to account for the non-canonical books and theology (theologies?) emerging from the Qumran material. This must have been the temple tradition, strange because temple theology is largely unknown to such, but sufficiently familiar to excise curiosity. What is recognizable in temple theology is what we know as Christianity. Having established a considerable degree of correspondence between the two, we may eventually be able to use primitive Christian texts to reconstruct the earlier traditions of Judaism.

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s more and more is being discovered about the beginnings of Christianity, a whole new understanding of the context of Christian origins is emerging. Any serious student now needs a knowledge of the traditions of the Temple.

This book breaks further new ground, showing how the symbols and rituals of the Temple shaped the lives of the early Christians, and illustrates the striking relevance of Temple Theology to the New Testament. As there are no ancient texts of direct bearing, the influence of the Temple cult has to be reconstructed by drawing on the increasing number of non-biblical texts now available. These include those written in the early churches; fragments from among the Dead Sea Scrolls; and Jewish texts written in the early Christian period. Piece by piece the world of the Temple is emerging from this material.

The examination of such important evidence has become one of the fastest growing areas of biblical studies, it is not too much to claim, will eventually have an impact comparable to the first vernacular translations of the Bible.

Through this close study of the Pseudepigrapha and other non-canonical writings, Margaret Barker examines four symbols of temple Theology: Light, Life, Blood and the Robes of Glory. She shows how details missing from the Old Testament descriptions can be recovered from other ancient texts to throw new light upon many significant passages of the Bible.

Written with such clarity that preaches and students as well as other scholars can immediately benefit from the new findings, this book will illuminate and enrich any reading of the New Testament. original contribution to our understanding of Judaism and early Christianity.

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