Tuesday, December 06, 2011

More thoughts on the cosmos as temple

“In reality, it could be claimed that, by reading Genesis 1 in the context of ancient Near Eastern temple building, the canonical flow of the Hebrew Bible or even the entire Christian Bible comes into clearer focus. Levenson, for instance, notes the inclusio that is present in the Hebrew Bible:

Perhaps it is not coincidence that the Hebrew Bible begins with an account of the creation of heaven and earth by the command of God (Gen 1:1) and ends with the command of the God of heaven “to build him a Temple in Jerusalem” (2 Chron. 35.23 [sic 36.23]). It goes from creation (Temple) to Temple (creation) in twenty-four books. [Levenson, “Temple and the World,” 295. For the Christian canon, one could point to a similar inclusio with the end point being the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21–22.]

The Genesis account is distinguished from the temple theologies of its ancient Near Eastern context by virtue of the application of the temple identity to the entire cosmos; in the Hebrew Bible, the temple is much more than just the hub of the cosmos that sometimes represents the whole; it is the entire cosmos.” — Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, page 192

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