The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook

The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook

The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook

The Jewish Temple: A Non-Biblical Sourcebook

Synopsis

Robert Hayward offers a careful analysis of surviving accounts of the Temple and its service. All the central texts are provided in translation, with a detailed commentary. While descriptions of the Temple and its service are available, discussions of the meaning of these things are less easily found. This study clearly illustrates how the Temple was seen as a meeting point between heaven and earth, its service being an earthly representation of heavenly reality. Jews regarded the Temple service therefore as having significance for the whole created world. The Jewish Temple offers a valuable collection of materials both for those looking for an introduction to the topic and for the scholar interested in grasping the meanings beyond those texts.

Excerpt

In 1990, along with other colleagues in the Department of Theology in the University of Durham, I was invited to take part in a symposium on the theme of the New Jerusalem held at and organized by the Theological Faculty of the University of Aarhus. This invitation carried with it a request that I produce a learned paper, and it therefore encouraged me to undertake detailed work on a text which had long held my interest. the fiftieth chapter of ben Sira’s Wisdom presents the modern reader with one of the very few surviving eye-witness accounts of the Service of the Jerusalem Temple as it was in the days when the Second Temple still existed. Furthermore, a glance at that chapter shows how well disposed was ben Sira towards the Temple and its Service. As my work progressed, it became clear to me that ben Sira had chosen his words with great deliberation, and that attention to the biblical and traditional backgrounds of the words and phrases he had employed revealed an astonishingly rich and varied understanding of the significance of the Temple and its rites.

Study of ben Sira inevitably led to concern with other nonbiblical texts favourable to the Jerusalem Temple in the days of its Service: hence this book. It is a pleasure to be able to thank those who have helped me as I wrote it, most especially all my colleagues in the Department of Theology for providing me with space and time to complete the basic research. My colleagues in Old Testament studies Tony Gelston and Walter Moberly have, as ever, been generous in their helpful comments. Loren Stuckebruck has taken a keen interest in this project, and I am grateful for his expert advice on many points. I am also indebted to Carol Harrison, Jimmy Dunn, and Sheridan Gilley among my colleagues, and to Daniel

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