Temple Themes in Christian Worship

The thesis of Margaret Barker’s book Temple Themes in Christian Worship is simple and straightforward: “Christian worship was modelled on temple worship.”

Three prior theses, amply developed by Barker in her earlier books, underlie this thesis. First, the second temple, begun about 535 bce by the Jews returning from Babylon, was in many ways a false temple. In Temple Theology, Barker explains that despite the reforms of Josiah—or perhaps because of “Josiah’s purge”—the “impure” second temple lacked the essential artifacts and corresponding worship patterns of Moses’ Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple. The theology of Solomon’s Temple was preempted by those whom Barker calls “Deuteronomists,” whose temple worship and theology were based on the Deuteronomic law and not on the original temple. That is why a number of Jewish groups, questioning the temple worship of the time, fled from Jerusalem.

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