Abstract of Barker, Margaret. “Temple Imagery in Philo: An Indication of the Origin of the Logos.”

Barker, Margaret.  “Temple Imagery in Philo: An Indication of the Origin of the Logos.”  In Templum Amicitiae: Essays on the Second Temple Presented to Ernst Bammel, edited by William Horbury, 70-102.  Sheffield: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Press, 1991. [Israel/Christian/Symbolism/Theology]

Philo is one of the most difficult of all the ancient authors of Judaism and early Christianity.  Yet, Margaret Barker has a penchant for him as for all the ancient sources.  As the Hugh Nibley of Protestantism, she brings together in this article, as in all her writings, data and evidence from a vast array of ancient sources to illuminate the meaning both Philo and the Bible.  Her openness is admirable.  She believes one of the difficulties of modern religious scholarship is the habit of reading present-day orthodoxies of the later rabbis and Fathers into first century Judaism and Christianity, which causes us to miss some very important, though controversial things, for example, the fact that ancient sources speak of two Gods in very anthropomorphic terms.  Another issue to which she is open is theosis, or the potential deification of man.  Both these issues appear in this paper, though the latter is treated much less extensively than the former.   It is Barker’s belief that much of the imagery Philo uses and discusses is temple-related.  This paragraph from page 100 illustrates the point.  “The imagery underlying Philo’s exposition of the Logos is unmistakable; the temple cult of Jerusalem was the source of a very great deal of it, and given that we only know of that cult fragments that can be reconstructed from many sources, it may well be that far more of his allusions and imagery could fit did we but know the master picture.”

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