«Continuity and Discontinuity: The Temple and Early Christian Identity by Timothy Scott Wardle Department of Religion Duke University Date:_ Approved: ...»
Continuity and Discontinuity: The Temple and Early Christian Identity
Timothy Scott Wardle
Department of Religion
Joel Marcus, Supervisor
Lucas Van Rompay
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Religion in the Graduate School of Duke University 2008
ABSTRACTContinuity and Discontinuity: The Temple and Early Christian Identity by Timothy Scott Wardle Department of Religion Duke University Date:_______________________
Joel Marcus, Supervisor ___________________________
Eric Meyers ___________________________
Lucas Van Rompay ___________________________
Christopher Rowe An
of a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Religion in the Graduate School of Duke University 2008 Copyright by Timothy Scott Wardle 2008 Abstract In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he asks the readers this question: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16).
Although Paul is the earliest Christian writer to explicitly identify the Christian community with the temple of God, this correlation is not a Pauline innovation. Indeed, this association between the community and the temple first appears in pre-Pauline Christianity (see Gal 2:9) and is found in many layers of first-century Christian tradition.
Some effects of this identification are readily apparent, as the equation of the Christian community with a temple (1) conveyed the belief that the presence of God was now present in this community in a special way, (2) underlined the importance of holy living, and (3) provided for the metaphorical assimilation of Gentiles into the people of God.
Though some of the effects of this correlation are clear, its origins are less so.
This study contends that the early Christian idea of the Christian community as a temple should be understood in relation to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, this nascent Christian conception of the community as a temple should be seen in light of the existence of other Jewish temples which were established as alternatives to the one in Jerusalem: namely, the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim, the Oniad temple in Leontopolis, and the “temple of men” at Qumran. Though the formation of each temple was a complex affair, in each case the primary motivating factor appears to have been conflict with the Jerusalem religious establishment.
community also developed through conflict with the Jerusalem chief priests charged with oversight of the temple, and that the creation of a communal temple idea should be understood as a culturally recognizable way to register dissent against the Jerusalem priesthood. As a result, we are better able to situate the early Christians in their originally Jewish nexus and see the extent to which tension in Jerusalem helped to forge the nascent Christian mindset.
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 The Question
1.2 The Scope of the Project
1.3 History of Research
1.5 Methodological Issues
Chapter 2: The Centrality of the Temple and High Priest in Second Temple Judaism.... 18
2.1 The Jerusalem Temple
2.1.1 Religious Significance
2.1.2 Excursus on the synagogue as a religious institution
2.1.3 Economic impact
2.1.4 Socio-Political significance
2.1.5 Summary Observations on the Role of the Temple in Second Temple Judaism
2.2 Priests and Politics
2.2.1 Persian and Hellenistic Eras
2.2.2 Hasmonean Era
2.2.3 Excursus on the Gerousia and Sanhedrin
2.2.4 Roman Era
3.1 Exilic and Post-Exilic Biblical Literature
3.2 The Hellenistic Period prior to Antiochus Epiphanes
3.2.2 Enochic Literature: the Astronomical Book and the Book of the Watchers.... 81 3.2.3 Aramaic Levi
3.2.4 Conclusion to earliest works
3.3 The Period of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Early Maccabean Years.................. 92 3.3.1 Jubilees
3.3.2 The Animal Visions
3.3.3 The Apocalypse of Weeks
3.3.4 Testament of Moses
3.3.5 The Qumran Scrolls
3.3.7 Damascus Document
3.3.8 The Rise of Jewish Sects
3.3.9 Conclusions about the Period of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Rise of the Maccabees
3.4 The Late Second Century B.C.E. to the Destruction of the Temple
3.4.1 Second Maccabees
3.4.2 Greek Testament of Levi
3.4.3 Pesher Habakkuk
3.4.4 Psalms of Solomon
3.4.6 Sibylline Oracles 3-5
3.4.7 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch
3.4.8 Conclusion to Literary Evidence from the Second Century B.C.E. to the First Century C.E
3.5 Concluding Observations
Chapter 4: The Emergence of Alternative Temples
4.1 The Samaritans
4.1.1 The Relationship Between Samaritans and Jews
4.1.3 Role of Temple in Dispute
4.1.4 Recent Archaeological Evidence
4.1.5 Destruction of Temple
4.1.6 What gave Gerizim legitimacy, and why was it destroyed?
4.2.2 The Jewish War
4.2.3 The Jewish Antiquities
4.2.5 Description of Temple/Tower
4.2.6 The prophecy of Isaiah
4.3.2 Priestly Influence at Qumran
4.3.3 Qumran and Sacrifice in the Temple?
4.3.4 Three Responses to Separation from Jerusalem Temple
4.3.5 The Eschatological Temple
4.3.6 Participation in the Heavenly Temple
4.3.7 The Community as Temple
4.4 Concluding Thoughts
Chapter 5: The Jerusalem Temple and Early Christian Identity
5.1 A Note on the Use of the Gospels and Acts as Historical Sources
5.2 Jesus’ View of the Temple and Jerusalem Priesthood
5.2.1 Jesus’ Demonstration in the Temple
5.2.2 Sayings Regarding the Future Destruction of the Temple
5.2.3 Parable of the Vineyard and the Wicked Tenants
5.2.4 Concluding Observations on Jesus’ View of the Temple and Priesthood..... 282
5.3 The First Followers of Jesus, Acts, and the Temple
5.3.1 Evidence of Early Christian Criticism of the Chief Priests
5.3.2 The Use of Psalm 118:22
5.4 The Community as a Temple in Earliest Christianity
5.4.1 Galatians 2 and Revelation 3
5.4.2 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 6
5.4.3 Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-10
5.4.4 A Shift in Emphasis: Individual Believers as Temples
5.5 Conclusions: Jesus and the Christian Community as a Temple
Chapter 6: Concluding Reflections and Implications
of how indebted I am to a number of individuals, and I am grateful for this opportunity to publicly thank them for their support, guidance, and friendship.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my wife Cherie, my dearest friend and partner in life for nearly 10 years. She has been a constant source of encouragement and has graciously allowed me to spend more hours in the library than either of us would have liked. Thanks for your love and faithfulness. Thanks also to my daughters Autumn, Aspen, and Brooke, whose smiles, laughter, and hugs are a source of endless delight.
Second, I would like to thank the members of my committee. Joel Marcus’s careful attention to detail and uncanny ability to hone in on weaknesses in an argument have greatly improved the prose and argumentation of what follows. As the director of this dissertation, I owe him a special thanks for his perseverance in seeing this project through to its completion in these final months. Additionally, Eric Meyers’s expertise in Second Temple period archaeology and material culture, Kavin Rowe’s knowledge of all things related to Luke-Acts, and Luk Van Rompay’s love of Syriac Christianity have all had an impact on this dissertation. A special thanks to these three for their insightful comments and encouragement in these last months.
Third, I would like to thank the many friends and colleagues at Duke who have helped make these years at Duke University such enjoyable ones. I am especially thankful to Rodrigo Morales, Matt Thiessen and Seth Dowland for their aid in improving
The Jewish temple in Jerusalem cut a majestic and imposing figure. Situated atop the Temple Mount in the eastern half of the city, the sanctuary towered over all other structures on its side of the Tyropolean Valley. For most Second Temple Jews, however, the metaphorical shadow cast by this institution far exceeded its literal one. Josephus, Philo, and a whole host of other Jewish, Greek, and Roman writers of this period remark on the magnificence of the city and temple and the magnetic pull that the sanctuary exerted upon Jewish hearts and minds in both Palestine and the Diaspora. 1 The temple and its cult created a shared religious and emotional experience that knit together Jews all around the ancient world. 2 In a very real sense, the temple, and participation in it, fashioned both an individual and a collective Jewish identity.
Not all, however, participated in the worship of the God of Israel in the Jerusalem temple. Most Jews did not dwell in Palestine, 3 and even many Palestinian Jews did not live close to the city of Jerusalem. As a result, though many Diaspora Jews traveled to Jerusalem in order to participate in the thrice-yearly pilgrimage festivals, a significant number probably never set eyes upon Jerusalem or the temple. While it is uncertain that all Jews the world over pined to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, many who wished to visit 1 E.g. Philo, Spec. Laws 1.67-78; Josephus, Ant. 15.392-425; Ag. Ap. 2.193; Pliny the Elder, Nat. 5.70; b. B Bat 4a.
2 E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE - 66 CE (London: SCM, 1992), 256-57; Richard Bauckham, "The Parting of the Ways: What Happened and Why," ST 47 (1993): 135-51, esp. 139.
On the phenomenon of Diaspora Judaism, see John M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora:
From Alexander to Trajan (323 B.C.E. to 117 C.E.) (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996), passim.
On the other end of the spectrum, three distinct communities living in and around Judea in the Second Temple period separated themselves from the Jerusalem temple on ideological grounds, deliberately cutting themselves off from the temple and its worship.
This physical detachment from the temple, however, did not entail a rejection of the temple per se. Rather, these groups formed alternative temples to that in Jerusalem, with some erecting physical sanctuaries (the Samaritan and Oniad Temples) and another establishing a communal temple identity (the Qumran community).
The present study focuses upon a fourth community which toward the end of the Second Temple period established another alternative temple to the one in Jerusalem.
The formation of this new temple occurred in Jerusalem amongst the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, who had begun to proclaim and worship him following his death and resurrection. Animating their proclamation was the belief that God, through Jesus, had fulfilled many of the promises originally given to Israel. The application of temple terminology and ideology to their community represents one important manifestation of this new conviction; these early Christians came to believe that a new temple had been founded in their midst, and that they themselves were constituent parts of it.
This idea of the Christian community as a new, eschatological temple is deeply embedded in early Christian tradition and appears throughout the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul first refers to the Christian community as a temple, and his reference to Peter, James, and John as those “reputed to be pillars” (Gal 2:9) indicates
documents develop this idea, as depictions of the community as a temple, both explicit and implicit, appear in Ephesians, 1 Peter, Mark, Acts, Revelation, and early noncanonical Christian texts. 4 This metaphorical temple language appears to have been both descriptive and normative for the early Christian community, serving not only as a way in which early Christians could describe themselves to fellow Jews (or Gentiles, as the case may be), but also as an expression of their real and tangible belief that their community had been transformed into a temple.
The prominence of this idea in the storehouse of early Christian imagery is not difficult to discern. 5 As early as Paul and continuing into later centuries, the application of temple imagery to the community was closely tied to the belief that God’s presence, his Spirit, now inhabited this communal temple in a special way. 6 Indeed, the persistence of this view of the community as a temple attests to the resonance that this particular image held, especially in a largely pagan society in which many converts had formerly frequented pagan temples. In contrast to their previous way of life, these Christians could now proclaim the powerful conviction, “God dwells in our midst, and we are his temple.” This understanding of God’s presence in the community carried with it several important corollary convictions, including an emphasis on the unity and holiness of the 4 E.g. Eph 2:20-22; 1 Pet 2:4-8; Mark 14:58; Acts 15:16; Rev 3:12; Barn. 4:11; 6:15-16; Ign. Eph. 9:1;