Ancient Temple Worship; Temple Insights

Book Notice

Ancient Temple Worship: Proceedings of the Expound Symposium, 14 May 2011, edited by Matthew B. Brown, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Stephen D. Ricks, and John S. Thompson (Salt Lake City: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014)

Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference: “The Temple on Mount Zion,” 22 September 2012, edited by Matthew B. Brown, William J. Hamblin, and David Rolph Seely (Salt Lake City: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2014)

Ancient Temple Worship and Temple Insights are both compilations of works by various authors and published as proceedings of symposia organized by the late Matthew B. Brown, who was an author and historian writing for the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship, and the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research. Readers that have ever been mystified by temple symbolism, ancient temples, or modern temple worship will find these books helpful in their pursuit of understanding.

By a thorough analysis of scriptures and historical evidence, Ancient Temple Worship helps readers make connections between ancient worldviews and temple worship. Topics explore the symbolic meaning of measuring tools, hand gestures, the tabernacle, sacred tree iconography, and the Holy of Holies. The book includes broader topics such as the genetics of indigenous populations and how that relates to the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

Temple Insights will enhance readers’ understanding and appreciation of current temples, but in doing so, readers are treated to a panorama of temple worship throughout time and place. The book stands as a witness that the preexilic Hebrews understood the temple concept to originate with Adam, not Moses, which understanding is reflected in Joseph Smith’s teachings. Articles also provide insights on temple worship by exploring temples in the Book of Mormon. Temple Insights was dedicated to Matthew B. Brown after his sudden death, which occurred before Brown finished organizing the conference upon which this book is based.

These two books serve as a fitting dedication to Brown’s love of and appreciation for the temple, along with its symbolism and worship. Brown’s lifelong study and tireless interest in sacred things, which developed into a deep devotion for temple worship, is reflected in the wide-ranging scholarship that the authors undertook in his honor.

Both books enrich previous Latter-day Saint writings on temple symbolism and worship. Readers are brought up to date on how scholars are interacting with such works as Temple and Cosmos, The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, Temples in the Ancient World, One Eternal Round, and Illuminating the Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the Mount. On the pages of Ancient Temple Worship and Temple Insights are found new perspectives about ancient texts and objects that were used in temple worship. No doubt these new insights will give patrons something to contemplate as they seek inspiration in modern temples.


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