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xv + 86 pp.

£12.50 / $18.50 / €14.95

On Earth as It Is in Heaven
Temple Symbolism in the New Testament
Margaret Barker

As 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, a supplement to Margaret Barker’s The Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem, 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.

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. 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.

This is a reprint of the volume published by T. & T. Clark in 1995.

Margaret Barker, a former President of the Society for Old Testament Study, is a prolific author specializing in reconstructing the background of NT thought in the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism.

Series: Classic Reprints
978-1-906055-75-2 paperback
Publication June 2009

Barker presents her case clearly and cogently, guiding the general reader through the somewhat daunting imagery of the pseudepigraphical literature. Roy Porter, Times Literary Supplement

In the past two decades, Margaret Barker has managed a miracle: in a prodigious output of a dozen scholarly books and book chapters, as well as numerous articles and conference addresses, Barker … has successfully shaken the very foundations of Old Testament and early Christian scholarship. Is it not obvious that the Christianity of Jesus’ day and shortly thereafter was heavily influenced by Greek culture? Is it not clear that Jesus’ teachings were a product of the Jewish culture, especially the synagogue culture, of his day? ‘No’, says Barker to these claims; it is neither obvious nor clear that Christianity had its origin in these influences. A careful reading of non-canonical sources such as the Enoch literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that Jesus was influenced by something much more ancient than Hellenistic or synagogue culture. He seemed to have in mind the theology and ordinances of the first Jewish temple, the temple as it had existed before the accretions of paganism and the “reforms” of King Josiah in the seventh century BCE. Indeed, if Barker’s thesis holds up to scholarly scrutiny, everyone will be forced to redefine Jesus as a restorer of a religion that had been lost rather than as an inventor of something new.
Dean W. Collinwood and James W. McConkie, BYU Studies