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The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity [Paperback]

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Item description for The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity by Margaret Barker...

The Older Testament is a radically new approach to many problems of both Old and New Testaments. It takes as a basis the theology of the book of Enoch, lost to western Christendom for many centuries, but here recognized as providing the most consistent set of clues to the nature of Israel's pre-exilic religion. Reformers and editors of the Second Temple period sought to remove from the biblical texts all traces of the older ways, which now survive only in the apparently bizarre themes and imagery of certain Pseudepigrapha. Margaret Barker traces some of the ways in which the Deuteronomic standpoint came to dominate future readings of the Hebrew Bible as well as scholarly conceptions of Israel's religious development. Her reconstruction of the pre-Deuteronomic religion throws a startling light on much of the imagery of the New Testament and shows how closely the earlier Christian expectations were based upon the ancient royal cult in Jerusalem. This book represents an important and original contribution to our understanding of Judaism and early Christianity.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   328
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.06" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.87"
Weight:   1.06 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 5, 2005
Publisher   Sheffield Phoenix Press Ltd
ISBN  190504819X  
ISBN13  9781905048199  

Availability  129 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 04:37.
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More About Margaret Barker

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Margaret Barker is a former President of the Society for Old Testament Study, and author of numerous works, including The Older Testament, The Lost Prophet, The Gate of Heaven, The Great Angel.

Margaret Barker currently resides in Freeville, in the state of New York.

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity?

Barker's new book-  Mar 4, 2007
The Older Testament is an excellent book.

If you like Barker's books, you may want to obtain four of her papers that were placed in book form under the title of: "The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God" - ISBN - 0281058466 - available at [...]

Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: SPCK Publishing (1 Jan 2007)

The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God was developed from four lectures given for the Temenos Academy in London in January 2006. It traces the origin of the idea of the Kingdom of God to the high priestly traditions of the holy of holies in the temple. The book covers: the rejection of the second temple and the hope for the restoration of the true temple in the time of the Messiah; the angel kings of Jerusalem; the role of Adam; the Enoch traditions and the rewriting of the Hebrew Scriptures; the belief in mystical ascent and theosis - becoming divine; the Servant of the Lord and the Wisdom of the Kingdom; Melchizedek as an ancient name for the Lord; Aaron; Miriam; the Book of Revelation as the earliest Christian text; the Kingdom as a vision; Jesus's visions recorded in the Book of Revelation; how the Church adapted the original vision of the Kingdom; how the original vision is relevant today to issues of politics and environment.
An Important Contribution  Oct 3, 2005
I'm pleased to see this remarkable book back in print. As Barker explains in her introduction, "What I have done is to select from a wide range of material sufficient to formulate a theory which brings together many problems in this field and presents them as different aspects of a fundamental misreading of the Old Testament. This misreading is one which has been forced upon us by those who transmitted the text." (Barker, 1).
The principle transmitters to whom she refers are the Deuteronomists and their heirs.

To look beneath their work, Barker's describes her approach this way:

"We have to find something appropriate for a group of Galileans, relevant to their needs and aspirations, but sufficiently coherent (and even recognizable) to draw the hostility of Jerusalem Judaism, as a threat to the Law ... Our task is to reconstruct a background quite independent of New Testament considerations, appropriate to the world of Jesus' first followers, and known to exist as a single set of ideas which threatened the Law ...
"In order to reconstruct such a background, it is necessary to dig deep, and to work back through the writings of several centuries. I shall begin with the pseudepigraphon known as 1 Enoch (Ethiopic Enoch), and shall then devote the rest of this book to establishing the antecedents of this work, which is known to have been used by the earliest Christians ... This mythology underlies the creation theology of Romans 8, the exorcisms and miracles of the Gospels, the heavenly archetypes of Hebrews, and the first Temple imagery of the Fourth Gospel. It is the imagery of Revelation, Jude and the Petrine Epistles, and the song of its angels became the Sanctus of the eucharistic liturgy. Little of this is derived directly from Enoch; the process rather has been one of following the Enochic stream to its source, and seeing what other waters have flowed from it. (Barker, 6-7)"

Following her introduction, subsequent chapters in the Older Testament survey the Book of Enoch (the longest chapter, 72 pages long), Wisdom traditions, Old Testament passages using the title "The Holy One," "Isaiah of Jerusalem" (that is, the chapters from 2-36, which are generally dated to the time of Ahaz and Hezekiah), Deuteronomy, The Second Isaiah (chapters generally assigned to an Exilic writer, with her focus on 40-48), The Era of the Restoration, The Third Isaiah ( chapters 57-66, which she sees as critical of the returning Exiles and Deuteronomy), chapters on the Menorah and Eden stories, a study of the divine title Elyon, a study of Job in light of her hypothesis, and finally, a concluding chapter that lays our her view of the Older Testament, a mythology that was suppressed by the Deuteronomists and their heirs, but which was retained and used by those who became the Christians. As she explains:

"The life and works of Jesus were, and should be, interpreted in terms of something other than Jerusalem Judaism. This other had it roots in the conflicts of the sixth century B.C. when the traditions of the monarchy were divided as an inheritance among several heirs. It would have been lost but for the accidents of archeological discovery and the evidence of pre-Christian texts preserved and transmitted only by Christian hands." (Barker, 7)

This is rewarding and challenging study. It sets out the foundation upon which her subsequent books are built. It ranges over an astonishingly wide range of sources, but demonstrates an uncanny ability to discern important patterns, and make plausible connections between those sources. She can write beautifully, but also where necessary gets into the very close readings in the original languages of her source materials, at times quoting the Hebrew and Greek, comparing telling variations between the Masoretic Hebrew, the Septuagint Greek, the Aramaic targums, the Dead Sea Scrolls, a wide range of Midrashic and Talmudic traditions. She also shows a firm grasp on a range of scholarly interpretations. She is able to relate evidence from close readings to larger movements and patterns, and from larger movements she finds a context for the tiny details. Compared to her recent Temple Theology, which summarizes her views for a general audience, this is more detailed and challenging, more akin to The Great High Priest which requires an academic temperament and serious effort to fully appreciate. Nevertheless, I find it richly rewarding to study and re-read. There is more here than can be grasped with a glimpse and a sip. This is a feast for the mind and spirit.
For those waiting  Jan 23, 2005
For all those people searching for this book, it is being republished, April 2005, by Sheffield-Phoenix Press. Look for ISBN 1 90504 819X. I am sure this will carry it when it is out.

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