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Margaret Barker In Yonkers January 29


Kevin Christensen

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It was a very nice event, with perhaps 200 attendees, among whom were the head of the Orthodox Church in America, and five Mormons. (Afterwards, he was very gracious and spoke of the need for dialogue with LDS, since we have many things in common. As part of his introduction of her work and influence, the Dean mention that LDS were among those who appreciate her work.) Margaret spoke on the The Great High Priest, working from that identification of Jesus in Hebrews, and ranging through various associated Temple themes. The Day of Atonement, the changes wrought by Josiah's reform, the restoration of the things lost in Christianity, changes to the Hebrew text, implications of the Dead Sea Scrolls versions, the Melchizedek texts. The Q&A session was interesting and lively. Most seemed very excited about the implications. The first man asked her what she thought of Jesus, since she had been talking about symbolic meanings of some things. She replied that Jesus meant everything to her, and that she preached from the pulpit almost every Sunday. Things can be both symbolic and real. (As Nephi says, "both temporal and spiritual.) Her talk will be broadcast on their radio station, and the text posted on the Seminary's website. The selection of her books on the sale desk outside the meeting room evaporated. Many people came and spoke with her and she was wonderfully gracious. She invited the Dean of the Seminary to come stay at her home when he came to England. She talked about the Temple Studies group.

Shauna and I got a few moments to speak with Margaret before and after her talk. She spoke highly of the temple knowledge of LDS scholars, and said that she and I ought to collaborate again. Shortly after I published Paradigms Regained, I got a note from M. Catherine Thomas, wondering whether Margaret would have felt a need to distance herself of the LDS associations as a potential "kiss of death" for her scholarship. She has fearlessly embraced it, and and that, I think, will open doors that otherwise would not be opened.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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  • 2 weeks later...

Audio problems apparently forced her to re-record the talk. In the re-recorded version, the following Q&A occurred at 59:00:30

Q. Why [are] people of the Mormon faith interested in your work; maybe again you can explain their attraction to temple worship.

A. Well, you never know whose going read your books. And many years ago now, I was contacted by a leading scholar of the Latter-day Saints and he came to see me when he was in England. And he said when had read this particular book, The Great Angel, he couldn't believe it hadn't been written by one of their community. And he was intrigued how somebody working outside their community, just using the conventional tools of scholarship could come up with something very, very similar--usually identical to their teachings. And we explored this and I have developed a very happy relationship with many top Mormon scholars, really good biblical scholars, who know their temple stuff. And what they come up with and what I've come up with is just about identical. So I work with Mormons because, in terms of temple scholarship, they are the best available. Full stop.

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Audio problems apparently forced her to re-record the talk. In the re-recorded version, the following Q&A occurred at 59:00:30

The LDS scholar who visited her after reading The Great Angel would be Noel Reynolds. The meeting happened in the fall of 2002. I had a hand in setting that meeting up, as an informal go-between. Their visit at her home led directly to her susequent invitation to go to BYU in 2003. And many interesting things have happened since.

I knew they had told her that they had to re-record the talk, but I didn't know they'd do a Q&A for that. Very interesting. In introducing her for the audience, the Dean of the School did include the LDS as one of the groups most interested in her work.

I'll have to listen to see what sorts of things came up in the re-recording.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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The LDS scholar who visited her after reading The Great Angel would be Noel Reynolds. The meeting happened in the fall of 2002. I had a hand in setting that meeting up, as an informal go-between. Their visit at her home led directly to her susequent invitation to go to BYU in 2003. And many interesting things have happened since.

I knew they had told her that they had to re-record the talk, but I didn't know they'd do a Q&A for that. Very interesting. In introducing her for the audience, the Dean of the School did include the LDS as one of the groups most interested in her work.

I'll have to listen to see what sorts of things came up in the re-recording.

Thanks for pointing this out.

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

IIRC I think I introduced Barker's books to Reynolds. In the re-recording, I think she just reread the talk, so it wouldn't be much different from her original presentation. There were three questions at the end.

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