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2022 Temple on Mount Zion Conference

Program and Abstracts

Friday November 4, 7:00 pm: Evening Session
(Live-streaming only)

 

Session Chair: Stephen Ricks
7:00 C. Wilfred Griggs,
The Temple and the Sacred in Early Christianity
  Discussants: Stephen Ricks and John S. Thompson

 

Saturday November 5, 8:00 am: Morning Session
(In-person and live-streaming)

 

Morning Session Chair: TBD
8:00 Welcome and prayer
8:15 Margaret Barker (remote presentation)
The Lead Books Found in Jordan: Areas of Special Interest for Latter-day Saints
9:30 Discussant and audience questions: Samuel Zinner (remote)
9:45 Break
   
Session Chair: Stephen Ricks
 
10:00 T.K. Plant
“She Took the Veil and Covered Herself”
10:30 Stephen O. Smoot
Temple Themes in the Book of Abraham
11:00 Samuel Zinner (remote presentation)
The Cosmic Temple of Divine Names: Sapiential, Nomistic, and Numerical Properties
11:45 Discussant and audience questions: David Calabro
12:00 Lunch break

 

Saturday November 5, 1:00 pm: Afternoon Session

 

Session Chair: Jasmin Gimenez Rappleye
 
1:00 David J. Larsen (remote presentation)
Psalm 89 in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran Reflections on the Coming Messiah and the “True Service” of the Temple
1:30 Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen
Jacob’s Temple Journey to Haran and Back
2:00 Rebecca Stay
Eastward in Genesis 2-4: An Exercise in Visual Discovery
2:30 Matthew L. Bowen and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, (remote presentation)
From Jared to Enoch to the Tower to the Temple: The Descensus of Divine Beings in Genesis, the Book of Moses, and the Enochic Tradition
3:00 Break
3:15 Stephen D. Ricks
Temples beyond Jerusalem
   
Session Chair: Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
 
3:45 David Calabro
Ancient Israelite Temple Ritual through the Telescope of Restoration Scripture
4:15 Spencer Kraus
“That I May Lift Up My Eyes”: Bartimaeus as a Temple Petitioner before the Veil
4:45 John S. Thompson
How Luke’s Gospel Portrays Jesus as the Exodus or Way of the Temple
5:15 Closing Prayer (TBA)

 

Abstracts

 

The Temple and the Sacred in Early Christianity
C. Wilfred Griggs

 

The Lead Books Found in Jordan: Areas of Special Interest for Latter-day Saints
Margaret Barker

The tiny lead books found in Jordan are written in various forms of Hebrew script and may be copies of pre-Christian artefacts – or even originals. They are illustrated with temple symbols and describe the world of the first temple. Written in patterns rather than lines, the vocabulary has clear links to Isaiah.

 

“She Took the Veil and Covered Herself”
T.K. Plant

The first two references of the veil in the Old Testament are found in the account of the Patriarchs, which specifically identify Rebekah and Tamar covering themselves in the Hebrew veil (צָעִיף), transliterated as tsaif. The phrase “to cover,” as included in the accounts of Rebekah and Tamar has been found in Sumerian, Neo-Sumerian, and Hittite texts as early as the third millennium BCE. The specific use of the term “to cover,” is likely an early idiom meaning the accepted performance of a culturally-legitimate consummation or marriage. Based on Assyrian Law Code (1550 BCE), the veil is an endowment authenticating the rights, privileges, and protections of the married woman. Based on ancient Near East context the Old Testament account of Rebekah and Tamar covering with the tsaif veil is significant to the narration as validation of their matriarchal authority.

 

Temple Themes in the Book of Abraham
Stephen O. Smoot

The Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price is replete with temple themes, although not all of them are readily obvious from a surface reading of the text. Temple themes in the book include Abraham seeking to become a high priest, the interplay between theophany and covenant, and Abraham building altars and dedicating sacred space as he sojourns into Canaan. In addition to these, the dramatic opening episode of the Book of Abraham unfolds in a cultic or ritual setting. This paper will explore these temple elements in the Book of Abraham and discuss how they heighten appreciation for the text’s narrative and teachings, as well as how they ground the text in an ancient context.

 

The Cosmic Temple of Divine Names: Sapiential, Nomistic, and Numerical Properties
Samuel Zinner

The typical ancient Near Eastern creation story tends to end with the establishment of a divine temple. By contrast, Genesis’ first creation story reaches its apex with the establishment of the divine Sabbath. In view of this correlation, we can not only identify the entirety of creation as a temple, but more specifically the Sabbath functions as a temporal temple where/when God and the divine name rest. Additionally, more locally we can identify the land/earth of Eden as the first temple in which humans were to serve God. Most essentially, YHWH is “the Name” that rests in the temple (2 Chronicles 6-7). This paper surveys and discusses the correlation between the Tetragrammaton, its numerical value of 26, and the temple throughout various passages of the TANAKH, with an emphasis on the Hebrew Psalter.

 

Psalm 89 in the Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran Reflections on the Coming Messiah and the “True Service” of the Temple
David J. Larsen

Several compositions found among the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that the authors saw their community as a “replacement temple” for the “defiled” sanctuary in Jerusalem and that their communal rituals were the “true service” of the temple maintained exclusively by their priests in the wilderness. These texts suggest that this “true” temple service may have included belief in human access to the divine council in the celestial temple of God and liturgical communion with angelic beings as they participated together in the heavenly worship. This paper will argue that these concepts were informed by the traditions and practices of the Jerusalem Temple itself, as can be understood from numerous Second Temple texts, and also the biblical Psalms. Following the premise that many of the Psalms were used in or informed by temple worship, this research will demonstrate the importance of the Psalms to the Qumran community and how some of them (Psalm 89 in particular) contributed to the community’s understanding of “true” temple worship.

Furthermore, a text known as 4QPsx (or 4QPs89) contains a version of Psalm 89 that is substantially different than what is found in our Bibles. In this text, the psalm has been reworked and adapted in a way that is eschatological in perspective, specifically envisioning a messianic figure elected by God to assist the chosen community in the End Times. Much like Nephi’s method of “likening” the Scriptures to himself and his community, the author of 4QPsx reworks and interprets Scripture in a way that makes it more clearly relevant to his own beliefs and situation.

 

Jacob’s Temple Journey to Haran and Back
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw and Matthew L. Bowen

In this presentation, we argue that the general trajectory of departure and return along the covenant pathway is mirrored both spiritually and geographically in the story of Jacob. Taking leave of his family in Beersheba (Hebrew “well of the oath”—figuratively, the source of the covenant), Jacob travels north and east by way of Beth-el (Hebrew “House of God”—a place of instruction about the covenant) to Haran (Akkadian ḫarranu[m] = “road,” “way,”). The journey to and from Haran is a “road,” “way,” or “path” of testing for Jacob (see Genesis 28:10, 20; 29:4). Leaving Haran, Jacob at last returns to Beth-el, where God’s previous promises are made sure. Each major step of the way along Jacob’s personal covenant path (his vision of the “ladder” at his first visit to Beth-el, his testing in Haran, his wrestle/embrace of the angel, his new name, and God’s confirming promises on his final stop at Beth-el), his experiences are remarkably infused with temple themes. While we will focus on selected stops along Jacob’s itinerary as the foreground of the sacred scenes we witness in scripture, we must keep in mind that the constant backdrop that illuminates the entire sequence is the repeated quest in Israel’s history to transform every corner of the promised land into a holy place, the home of a Zion people through which Canaan will eventually be filled with God’s presence.

 

Eastward in Genesis 2-4: An Exercise in Visual Discovery
Rebecca Stay

By carefully charting the eastward movement in the story of Adam and Eve as presented in Genesis 2-4, we can use visual clues to tease out details of how the plan of salvation may have been depicted in the Old Testament tabernacle and temples.

 

From Jared to Enoch to the Tower to the Temple:
The Descensus of Divine Beings in Genesis, the Book of Moses, and the Enochic Tradition

Matthew L. Bowen and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

In this paper, we will endeavor to show the temple significance of several descensus scenes—scenes in which divine beings “descend” or “come down” out heaven for various purposes. These scenes are frequently tied to name of Enoch’s father, Jared. In the book of Moses, the mention of the name Jared (“God shall descend” or “God has descended,” from the Semitic root wrd/yrd) as the name of a righteous father who “taught” his son Enoch (“initiated”) “in all the ways of God,” functions as a narrative signal. It initiates a Hebraistic wordplay on the name Jared in Moses 6:24-27: “And it came to pass that all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years … And it came to pass that Enoch journeyed in the land, among the people; and as he journeyed, the Spirit of God descended out of heaven.” Enoch’s experience and the wordplay on Jared links to Enoch’s subsequent teaching on Adam who “was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man” (Moses 6:65-66).

 

Temples beyond Jerusalem
Stephen D. Ricks

 

Ancient Israelite Temple Ritual through the Telescope of Restoration Scripture
David Calabro

Many scholars, including Menahem Haran and Jacob Milgrom, consider animal sacrifice to be the quintessential temple ritual of ancient Israel. However, the restoration of ancient scripture and temple ordinances through Joseph Smith suggests that ancient Israelite temple ritual included a more diverse set of practices. Studies by Hugh Nibley, Stephen Ricks, and others have argued for the existence of a complex temple drama that included a review of the creation, the fall of man, and the redemption of our first parents through the sacrifice of the Son of God. The present study will combine the insights of these previous studies with a new understanding of the Book of Moses as an early Christian ritual text incorporating elements of a more ancient version, and thus as an indirect witness to ancient Israelite practice. I will discuss what can be extrapolated about the ancient Israelite ritual drama based on a close reading of the Book of Moses, the Book of Mormon, and the Hebrew Bible as understood by Joseph Smith in his discourses. Viewed through the telescoping lenses of the Restoration, the ancient Israelite temple was a place of instruction and of redemptive ordinances centered on the atonement of Jesus Christ, all administered in ways that resonated with the ancient Near Eastern context.

 

“That I May Lift Up My Eyes”: Bartimaeus as a Temple Petitioner before the Veil
Spencer Kraus

Mark 10 contains the last miracle recorded in Mark’s Gospel. While many scholars have proposed that the healing of blind Bartimaeus is best understood as a call to discipleship, many key words and images point this narrative to the temple of Jerusalem. In this new light, I submit a new interpretation that the healing of blind Bartimaeus is best understood as a temple ascent text. This ascent is performed in a ritual manner, including a threefold petition made between God and man, overcoming difficulties or evil, the disclosure of a sacred name of the Lord, preparing for the reception of new and sacred clothing, a plea to lift one’s eyes to see the Lord, a blessing offered by the Lord, body parts anointed (in other textual traditions), and finally the veil being rent allowing Bartimaeus to see the face of the Lord and overcome his fallen state. In so doing, Bartimaeus becomes a covenantal “son of the Honored One,” as is suggested by his name. By following the example of Bartimaeus, we too can become sons and daughters of the Honored One, and through our covenantal fidelity and love for God we can enter His presence and follow Him in the way

 

How Luke’s Gospel Portrays Jesus as the Exodus or Way of the Temple
John S. Thompson

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