Review of Bokovoy, David E. “Ancient Temple Imagery in the Sermons of Jacob.”

Bokovoy, David E.  “Ancient Temple Imagery in the Sermons of Jacob.”  In Temple Insights: Proceedings of the Interpreter Matthew B. Brown Memorial Conference “The Temple on Mount Zion” 22 September 2012, edited by William J. Hamblin and David Rolph Seely, 171-85.  Temple on Mount Zion Series 2.  Orem and Salt Lake City, UT: The Interpreter Foundation / Eborn Books, 2014. [Israel/Mormon/Symbolism]

Bokovoy’s essay is simple in concept.  The temple, though not frequently mentioned in the Book of Mormon was a focal point of religious devotion and this importance may be seen by reading many of the sermons in the book through the lens of temple worship.  They reflect temple imagery and performances.  This is especially true in two sermons by Nephi’s younger brother Jacob whom Nephi had consecrated a priest–presumably a temple priest.  These are found in 2 Ne. 9 and Jacob 1-3.  Jacob’s sermons “suggest a profound familiarity on” his part “with the rituals and concepts connected with Israelite temple worship.” (p. 173) His sermons treat such temple-related concepts as coming unto Christ, entering his rest or coming into his presence.  The Psalms of prayer are cited or alluded to in temple contexts, and Jacob places great stress on holiness (pp. 177-180), as well as referring to the gate and the way, also both temple-related concepts.  For the most part the argument is cogent and sensible.  Only in a place or two does it seemed unnatural and forced. He concludes something quite different in his discussion of the gate and the way from that which Elder Stapley draws from those ideas.  Thus I have reservations here, but remain open to his ideas based on further study and thought.

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