A Center for the Retrieval of Christian Wisdom

Davenant Discussion: “The Dwelling Place of God Shall Be With Man: Comparative Study of Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern Temple Theology” with Dr. Sam Negus

When Christ proclaimed that he would destroy the temple and raise it up in three days, and when Paul taught his converted Christ-followers that they were each God's image and their bodies were his holy temples, what did such statements mean to their hearers? How did the ancient Hebrews understand the meaning of their temple, and of God's presence within it? To answer such questions, we must look both at the Scriptures themselves and at the religious "worldview" of their ancient near eastern neighbors--the cultures with which ancient Israel and Judah lived "in dialogue". Although God is transcendent, unchanging, and eternal, he reveals himself to mankind in time through human institutions, human language, and human culture. Thus, without understanding the culture, institutions, and symbolic language of the ancient near east, we may struggle to hear all the resonances of God's self-revelation. In this Davenant Discussion, I will use the biblical accounts of the construction and dedication of the Tabernacle and the Temple as a case study in how to read the Bible with the eyes and ears of its original hearers.