How was it early Christian reflection on Jesus emerged so rapidly and with such a high degree of definition? What patterns of interpretation, already in known in late second temple Palestine, crystallized around the person of Jesus Christ and his work? Margaret Barker believes that Christian theology matured quickly because it was the return to a far older faith. Those who perserved the ancient tradition rejected the second temple, and longed for the restoration of the original, true temple and the faith of Abraham and Melchizedek, the first priest-king. In this fascinating discussion, the author refutes the scholarly assumption that crucial Christian concepts, such as the Trinty, the earth as a reflection of heaven, and the cosmic nature of the atonement, are informed by Greek culture. Rather, she argues, they are drawn from the eclipsed faith of the first temple. '[Margaret Barker's] interpretation of temple theology should not be ignored by anyone in Judaism and the origins of Christian faith.' John McDade, Principal of Heythrop College, University of London.
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