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David Bokovoy

Biblical Temple Worship

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A great quote from a great book that should interest LDS posters:

"The conception underlying the description of God and his place of habitation, as it had crystallized in Israelite Priestly theology, is patently an anthropomorphic one. The worship of God is delineated in the Priestly source and in the sources antedating it against a background in which the Divinity is personalized and depicted in the most tangible corporeal similitude. God, who posses, as it were, a human form, has need of a house or a tabernacle. Within the inner recesses of the tabernacle, removed and veiled from the human eye, sits the Deity ensconced between the two cherubim, and at his feet rests the ark, his footstool." Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 191

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A great quote from a great book that should interest LDS posters:

"The conception underlying the description of God and his place of habitation, as it had crystallized in Israelite Priestly theology, is patently an anthropomorphic one. The worship of God is delineated in the Priestly source and in the sources antedating it against a background in which the Divinity is personalized and depicted in the most tangible corporeal similitude. God, who posses, as it were, a human form, has need of a house or a tabernacle. Within the inner recesses of the tabernacle, removed and veiled from the human eye, sits the Deity ensconced between the two cherubim, and at his feet rests the ark, his footstool." Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 191

So, what are you saying?

:P

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A great quote from a great book that should interest LDS posters:

"The conception underlying the description of God and his place of habitation, as it had crystallized in Israelite Priestly theology, is patently an anthropomorphic one. The worship of God is delineated in the Priestly source and in the sources antedating it against a background in which the Divinity is personalized and depicted in the most tangible corporeal similitude. God, who posses, as it were, a human form, has need of a house or a tabernacle. Within the inner recesses of the tabernacle, removed and veiled from the human eye, sits the Deity ensconced between the two cherubim, and at his feet rests the ark, his footstool." Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 191

David, you just don't get it. They don't want an anthropomorphic god. They want a mystery. Just as Jacob described the Jews as "looking beyond the mark", so do many Christians today. As Nibley stated, it is the battle between revelation and reason. Revelation tells us how it really is, but man thinks himself smart enough to reason out just what he should and shouldn't know about God.

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"Know ye not that we are the tabernacles of God even temples".

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David, you just don't get it. They don't want an anthropomorphic god. They want a mystery. Just as Jacob described the Jews as "looking beyond the mark", so do many Christians today. As Nibley stated, it is the battle between revelation and reason. Revelation tells us how it really is, but man thinks himself smart enough to reason out just what he should and shouldn't know about God.

Excuse me? Perhaps I get it much better than you get it. When I was converted (in 1977)"The Anthromorphic God" concept made more sense than any other doctrine I was introduced. In fact so much so I did save my priesthood manuals from that time describing this doctrine.

What happened? Fast forward twenty years Prophent GBH was put on the spot by Mike Wallace, what did he say? He said this was a doctrine we do not know too much, we do not understand too much, so your paragraph could be directed to him because what the Priesthood manuals said left no doubt what the doctrine was about.

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Excuse me? Perhaps I get it much better than you get it. When I was converted (in 1977)"The Anthromorphic God" concept made more sense than any other doctrine I was introduced. In fact so much so I did save my priesthood manuals from that time describing this doctrine.

What happened? Fast forward twenty years Prophent GBH was put on the spot by Mike Wallace, what did he say? He said this was a doctrine we do not know too much, we do not understand too much, so your paragraph could be directed to him because what the Priesthood manuals said left no doubt what the doctrine was about.

He didn't deny an anthromorphic God. That is well accepted. What we don't know much about is the famous couplet. To say that we do KNOW a lot about it is to be delusional. We speculate, but we really KNOW very little.

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David,

I hope you are keeping track of all these great quotes to put in a future book. I'll be the first to buy it!

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A great quote from a great book that should interest LDS posters:

"The conception underlying the description of God and his place of habitation, as it had crystallized in Israelite Priestly theology, is patently an anthropomorphic one. The worship of God is delineated in the Priestly source and in the sources antedating it against a background in which the Divinity is personalized and depicted in the most tangible corporeal similitude. God, who posses, as it were, a human form, has need of a house or a tabernacle. Within the inner recesses of the tabernacle, removed and veiled from the human eye, sits the Deity ensconced between the two cherubim, and at his feet rests the ark, his footstool." Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 191

Does the Priestly source reflect the true gospel better than the other sources? Or better than, say, the perspective of the Johannine school? Just curious.

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I'll be the second to buy it David! I have been prodding into the historical context and content of the Trinity, and how it arose for some podcasts, and I have found that many Christian thinkers in the late 1800's thought of the plural Elohim as a proof of the trinity, but which actually has been archaeologically shown to be about the Council of the Gods. I think that is rather interesting how the trinity bias shows up in their theologizing.......

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I just watched from BYU channel the presentation "Between Heaven and Earth" and if there is one doctrine that convinces me of Joseph Smith's legitimacy as a prophet (along with the Godhead, and baptism of children and work for the dead) it is the reinstitution of the temple and its importance, especially when seen in its historical context.

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I just watched from BYU channel the presentation "Between Heaven and Earth" and if there is one doctrine that convinces me of Joseph Smith's legitimacy as a prophet (along with the Godhead, and baptism of children and work for the dead) it is the reinstitution of the temple and its importance, especially when seen in its historical context.

You have been restored, and now it is time to be made glorious.

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That sounds like a movie that could be based on Margaret Barker's materials........

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That sounds like a movie that could be based on Margaret Barker's materials........

Margaret Barker?

Have believers not been restored?

I usually look at what is stated, not try to categorize by personality in order to miss the point.

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Does the Priestly source reflect the true gospel better than the other sources?

This is an interesting question since Weinfeld goes on to point out that "in contrast to this priestly anthropomorphism, the theological conceptions of the book of Deuteronomy and the deuteronomic school are abstract ones. . . . There is not one example in the deuteronomic literature of God's dwelling in the temple or the building of a house for God. The temple is always the dwelling of his name, and the house is always built for his name" (Weinfeld, Deuteronomy, 193; emphasis in original).

As Elliot Wolfson observes, "it has long been recognized by scholars that a fundamental tension emerges from the various literary units of the Bible with respect to the question of anthropomorphism and the description of God" (Elliot R. Wolfson, Through a Speculum That Shines: Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994], 25). That being said, however, it is surely noteworthy that "the manifestations of God in the biblical period primarily took the form of anthropomorphic theophanies--that is, YHWH was seen almost exclusively in the form of an anthropos" (Wolfson, 17).

Naturally, LDS writers do tend to privilege anthropomorphic conceptions of God over those of the anti-anthropmorphic Deuteronomists--which is one reason why many here find the writings of Margaret Barker so congenial.

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A great quote from a great book that should interest LDS posters:

"The conception underlying the description of God and his place of habitation, as it had crystallized in Israelite Priestly theology, is patently an anthropomorphic one. The worship of God is delineated in the Priestly source and in the sources antedating it against a background in which the Divinity is personalized and depicted in the most tangible corporeal similitude. God, who posses, as it were, a human form, has need of a house or a tabernacle. Within the inner recesses of the tabernacle, removed and veiled from the human eye, sits the Deity ensconced between the two cherubim, and at his feet rests the ark, his footstool." Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1992), 191

Two questions...

1. It doesn't really come at any great surprise that the ancient Israelites conceived of God in anthropomorphic terms since they came from an environment that saw God as having human qualities. Therefore, the above quote indicates a belief in a pagan deity and not worship of an "unseen God". My personal gripe is seeing God in anthropomorphic terms since man is a result of 5 million years of evolution and not a spontaneous development. If anything God placed a soul in a body that has been developed for the express purpose of housing a soul so it could expand to the fullest of its ability.

2. How in the world can you afford all these books? Either that or you must have a real intimate relation with the Brandeis Library. :P

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Does the Priestly source reflect the true gospel better than the other sources? Or better than, say, the perspective of the Johannine school? Just curious.

Not necessarily. Iâ??m interested in all of the conflicting theological views featured in the Bible. The ones I accept as â??trueâ? are those which are in harmony with Latter-day revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors. I believe that we can find portions of that truth in all of the biblical sources.

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I just watched from BYU channel the presentation "Between Heaven and Earth" and if there is one doctrine that convinces me of Joseph Smith's legitimacy as a prophet (along with the Godhead, and baptism of children and work for the dead) it is the reinstitution of the temple and its importance, especially when seen in its historical context.

I like that program a lot (I own the DVD), although I think it downplays some significant differences between ancient and modern temples. I also got the feeling that Lawrence Schiffman was quoted out of context. I suspect many viewers take his comments on the Jerusalem Temple as an endorsement of LDS temples or temple theology--which I very much doubt is the case.

But I agree with you that the reinstitution of temple worship and the theology that accompanied it is a powerful evidence of Joseph Smith's prophetic calling.

As one non-LDS scholar has recently written:

It has usually been thought that Judaism at the turn of the eras neither believed in the inherent divinity of humanity nor did it countenance the possibility of an apotheosis for the righteous. There was, it was assumed, an absolute qualitative difference between God and man which would not permit such an anthropology. . . . However, recent scholarship questions many of these assumptions in the light of closer attention to Jewish texts from the period. . . .

It has long been known that Samaritan theology and the somewhat heterodox movements surrounding the likes of Simon Magus in the first century adopted a openness to a divine humanity. In the past this phenomenon had tended to be bracketed out of the discussion of "orthodox" Jewish practice and belief because the Samaritan texts were perceived to be too late (200 A.D. onwards) to be of trustworthy testimony to the Second Jerusalem Temple period and, in any case, from a form of Judaism that was to all intents and purposes hermetically sealed off from its Judean rival.

There is a growing body of opinion that such a sharp divide between "Judaism" and Samaritanism is unwarranted and Jarl Fossum has done much to rehabilitate the relevance of Samaritan traditions for an understanding of the broader phenomenon of Jewish theological anthropology. He has shown that there is a rich tradition within Samaritan thought according to which the righteous, particularly Moses and those like him, possess a divine identity in as much as they are assimilated to God's Glory and his principal Angel by virtue of their bearing his Name. Far from being a phenomenon isolated to Samaritanism, Fossum has shown how closely related, literarily and conceptually, such ideas are to contemporary Jewish, Christian and developing gnostic thought.

-- Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis, All the Glory of Adam: Liturgical Anthropology in the Dead Sea Scrolls (STDJ 17; Leiden: Brill, 2002), 1-4.

Of particular relevance to our discussion here, Fletcher-Louis goes on to explain that "the principal socio-religious life setting for a Jewish divine anthropology, particularly in its earlier formative stages of development, was the Jewish Temple, its sacred space and priesthood."

That Joseph was able to connect "divine anthropology" and temple and priesthood--connections which scholars have only recently begun to make--is a testament to me of his prophetic calling. Even the literary critic and agnostic Harold Bloom was struck by Joseph's ability to recover ancient elements that had been censored out the Bible: "I can only attribute to his genius or daemon his uncanny recovery of elements in ancient Jewish [tradition] that had ceased to be available either to normative Judaism or Christianity, and that had survived only in esoteric traditions unlikely to have touched Smith directly" (Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation [New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992], 101).

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How in the world can you afford all these books? Either that or you must have a real intimate relation with the Brandeis Library.

It's easy to afford books when that's all you're interested in buying and you don't care about debt.

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It's easy to afford books when that's all you're interested in buying and you don't care about debt.

I'm beginning to understand. Scholarly books of the like that you reference are soooo expensive. I love Amazon!

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Nevo:

Naturally, LDS writers do tend to privilege anthropomorphic conceptions of God over those of the anti-anthropmorphic Deuteronomists--which is one reason why many here find the writings of Margaret Barker so congenial.

True enough Nevo......we are not alone. I just finished marking up and preparing the very astonishing and fine paper by ole whatshisname, ummmmm, Cherbonnier (?) I don't have the source right at my finger tips at the moment, concerning the LOGICAL stance of Biblical Anthropomorphism. It is a stunning tour de force showing that the Biblical God is wholly and justifiably and powerfully anthropomorphic. I am going to use it in a new podcast I am developing. I am finding it rather difficult to get podcasts up every week, so I gotta rededicate my enthusiasm to them because it is pure hedonism, and I don't care either. :P

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