Prophets and Kings in Lehi’s Jerusalem and Margaret Barker’s Temple Theology

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For an introduction, see Benjamin L. McGuire, “Josiah’s Reform: An Introduction.”
For a counterpoint, see William J. Hamblin, “Vindicating Josiah.”

Abstract: King Josiah’s reign has come under increasing focus for its importance to the formation of the Hebrew Bible, and for its proximity to the ministry of important prophets such as Jeremiah and Lehi. Whereas the canonical accounts and conventional scholarship have seen Josiah portrayed as the ideal king, Margaret Barker argues Josiah’s reform was hostile to the temple. This essay offers a counterpoint to Professor Hamblin’s “Vindicating Josiah” essay, offering arguments that the Book of Mormon and Barker’s views and sources support one another.

 

The first time I read anything memorable about King Josiah was in Richard Elliot Friedman’s popular introduction to the documentary hypothesis, Who Wrote the Bible? Friedman pointed out how crucial the reign of King Josiah was for the formation of the Bible as we have it, noting the appearance of the Book of the Law in connection to the reforms he launched and the evidence that an edition of the Deuteronomic histories appears to have been written during his lifetime, idealizing him as the perfect king. Friedman goes on to highlight additions and editing done to Second Kings in response to the calamity of Josiah’s unexpected death and later the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the exile. This picture of a reform movement progressing in phases with layers contributed to my initial approach to Margaret Barker’s work for my paper [Page 178]entitled, “Paradigms Regained: A Survey of Margaret Barker’s Scholarship and Its Significance for Mormon Studies.”1

The problem was to see how Lehi related to the Josiah reforms because Lehi must have been a witness to them as a youth or young man with his own ministry, beginning in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, one of Josiah’s sons. Clearly, Barker’s reconstruction of first-temple theology converges remarkably with the picture in the Book of Mormon. Initially, I took the Josiah phase of the reform at face value and decided that it was the later phases that accounted for the tensions between the Book of Mormon and the traditional biblical picture and the harmonies between the Book of Mormon and Barker’s view of temple theology. However, when Barker came to BYU in 2003 and spoke on “What Did King Josiah Reform?” one particular comment struck me. “Josiah’s changes concerned the high priests, and were thus changes at the very heart of the temple.”2

I had by this time read other books on Josiah and have since read and seen more. Most commentators approach the relationship of Josiah to Jeremiah in terms of language, politics, social connections, law, social issues, and the like. Several portray Jeremiah as a court propagandist working for Josiah’s court in support of the reform, which does not sound much like a real prophet. For all the impressive learning and valuable observations, few contemporary scholars pay much attention to theology, the temple, or the notion of revelation. Barker seems to be seeing things no one else was noticing, in large measure because she was looking in terms of theology, the temple, and revelation, rather than politics.

[Page 179]My starting point for approaching Jeremiah and Lehi in relation to Josiah was Friedman’s comment that Jeremiah agrees with the Deuteronomic history on “practically every important point”3 and agrees with Deuteronomy “on virtually every major point.”4 Such statements contain a hidden assumption that we do not have to think any further about what is most important. I expected to see extensive harmony. The extensive harmony that Professor Hamblin sees between Jeremiah and Josiah in his “Vindicating Josiah” and elsewhere really exists.5 The issue for me is what those harmonies mean in light of everything else I see?

I was alerted to the importance of key tensions between Deuteronomy and Lehi by comparison with the Book of Mormon. In The Great Angel, Barker cites the “preface to Deuteronomy”—now chapter 4 of that book—as showing what this group set out to remove from the religion of Israel:

First, they were to have the Law instead of Wisdom (Deut. 4:6). . . [W]hat was the Wisdom which the Law replaced? Second, they were to think only of the formless voice of God sounding from the fire and giving the Law (Deut. 4:12). Israel had long had a belief in the vision of God, when the glory had been visible on the throne in human form, surrounded by the heavenly hosts. What happened to the visions of God? And third, they were to leave the veneration of the host of heaven to peoples not chosen by Yahweh (Deut. 4:19–20). Israel had long regarded Yahweh as the Lord of the hosts of heaven, but the title Yahweh of Hosts was not [Page 180]used by the Deuteronomists. What happened to the hosts, the angels?6

In The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Barker adds references to two other Deuteronomic proscriptions. The Jews were not to “enquire after secret things which belonged only to the Lord (Deut. 29:29). Their duty was to obey the commandments bought down from Sinai and not to seek someone who would ascend to heaven for them to discover remote and hidden things (Deut. 30:11).”7

I observed in “Paradigms Regained” that “Lehi’s vision in the first chapter of the Book of Mormon contains most of the elements these Deuteronomy passages explicitly reject,”8 and this “in spite of the deep affinity that the Book of Mormon shows for Deuteronomy.”9 See 1 Nephi 1:8–12 for Lehi’s report of seeing anthropomorphic God on the throne, surrounded by the hosts, and his reading from a book that presumably includes knowledge of the hidden and secret things. I also noticed that “Nephi qualifies remarkably well as a representative of the wisdom tradition as Barker reconstructs it,”10 which has implications for the reform as a replacement for the older wisdom. The older wisdom appears intact in the Book of Mormon, something Margaret Barker recognized.11 Nephi and Lehi seem not to agree with Deuteronomy on the restriction of worship to the Jerusalem temple, as Nephi’s temple building shows.

[Page 181]When I started reading and re-reading Jeremiah, I found that certain passages began to jump out at me in light of Margaret Barker’s work and also that few of those passages elicited any comment or notice in the other Josiah/Jeremiah studies I was reading. Start with the key passage from the preface to Deuteronomy: “Keep therefore and do them [that is, the statutes and judgments of the law] for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deuteronomy. 4:6).

Barker points out that the Law here is put forward as a substitute for wisdom. She points out several places where poems in praise of wisdom have been changed to become praises of the law.12 She discusses how often the texts that refer to this period lament the loss of Wisdom in terms of characteristic teachings as well as the female personification of Wisdom, whose great symbol was the tree of life. Jeremiah seems here to be commenting on this very passage: “How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jeremiah 8:8–9).

Friedman and Bright both offer a stronger translation. “How can you say, ‘Why we are the wise, For we have the law of Yahweh’? Now do but see—the deception it’s wrought, the deceiving pen of the scribes.”13 With respect to the law and those who had charge of it, Jeremiah comments that “they that handle the law knew me not” (Jeremiah 2:8). “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbor” (Jeremiah 23:30). “And the [Page 182]burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God” (Jeremiah 23:36).

Whereas Deuteronomy relates the following: “And the Lord spoke unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice” (Deuteronomy 4:12). Barker notes the direct contradiction with the account in Exodus 24:9–11, which reports that Moses, Aaron, and seventy elders of Israel “saw the God of Israel.” Jeremiah speaks as one who has seen: “For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?” (Jeremiah 23:18. Compare Isaiah 6, Ezekiel, and 1 Enoch). “But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jeremiah 23:22).

The counsel is specifically the divine counsel, the sôd, as Professor Peterson and Professor Hamblin recently discussed.14 Whereas Jeremiah treats the sôd knowledge as one of the tests for a true prophet, the current form of Deuteronomy does not. (The Dead Sea Scrolls version of Deuteronomy 32:8–9 does allude to the council referring to El Elyon as the Most High and Yahweh as one of the sons of God, but the Masoretic Hebrew has been changed to remove these ideas.) Jeremiah’s understanding of the council also shows in his frequent use of LORD of Hosts as a divine title that is absent from Deuteronomy and only very rarely found in the Deuteronomic histories.

Deuteronomy says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this [Page 183]law.” Further, it explains that “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven and bring it unto us that we may hear and do it?” (Deuteronomy 30:11–12).

Against this, Jeremiah speaks as one who has been invited to learn and declare the secret things: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah. 33:3).

In her recent book, The Mother of the Lord: Volume 1: The Lady in the Temple, Margaret Barker cites Baruch 3.29–30 as a near quotation of this crucial Deuteronomy 30 verse that shows how it was understood, at least when the apocryphal book of Baruch was composed. The book of Jeremiah names Baruch as Jeremiah’s scribe (Jeremiah 36:3). A book of Baruch is included in the Greek apocrypha, so the text has possible ties to Jeremiah. She cites lines that those who have “forsaken the fountain of wisdom” (Baruch 3:12, which seems to allude to Jeremiah 2:13) should repent and “Learn where there is wisdom.” Barker points out lines in Baruch that echo the descriptions of Wisdom in Proverbs 3. For instance, Baruch 3:21 refers to “wisdom’s paths” and the need to “lay hold” of them. Barker compares those lines to Proverbs 3:18, a passage that that calls to mind Lehi’s experiences:

She is the tree of life to those who lay hold of her,
Those who hold her fast are called happy.

She then cites this passage from Baruch, noting the verbal similarity to Deuteronomy 30:11–12:

Who has gone up to heaven and taken her
And brought her down from the clouds?
[Page 184]Who has gone over the sea and found her,
And will buy her for pure gold?15

Barker observes that here wisdom becomes the implied object of Deuteronomy 30:11–12. The imagery is of the temple, where the Holy of Holies represents heaven, the clouds are a feature of the burning incense, and the sea is represented in the brass basin filled with water. The symbol of wisdom in the temple had been the tree. Jeremiah 9:12 continues to lament over the corruption of Jerusalem and a prophecy of the coming doom by saying, “Who is the wise man who may understand this; who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord had spoken that he may declare it,” and adds that the situation has come because “they have forsaken my law, which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice.” Barker also cites several places where poems originally written as praises to wisdom had been edited into praises of the law, all of which provide evidence that scribes were establishing the law as a replacement for an older wisdom tradition. The Book of Mormon treats the law differently, not as an end in itself but as “a shadow of those things which are to come” (Mosiah 16:14), and thus a complement to wisdom, not as a rival or replacement.

These points of difference between Jeremiah, Lehi, and Deuteronomy have to do with the very heart of the temple. Key differences between the Deuteronomic histories of the kings and Chronicles also have to do with the heart of the temple. That is, Chronicles includes details about temple ritual and practice the books of Samuel and Kings leave out.16 Barker has also shown, and Professor Hamblin reported, that many of the [Page 185]practices purged during the reforms were practiced by the patriarchs and restored with Christianity.

Whatever might be agreeable and proper about the Reform is worth considering. When Jeremiah reproves those in Egypt who were “baking cakes to the Queen of Heaven” in Jeremiah 44, we should compare that with his complaints about those who trusted in the temple without taking care to “thoroughly amend your ways and your doings,” that is, trusting ritual without repentance and sacrifices without personal obedience. Jeremiah does look forward to valid worship in the house of the Lord (Jeremiah 33:11). Despite describing its status as a “den of robbers” (Jeremiah 7:11), he is not anti-temple. He is against those who would forsake “the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

Few of the commentaries I have read noted that Jeremiah appears to have been called against the very people who put Josiah in power and thus against the very people and institutions implementing the reforms at the time of his call:17

For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. (Jeremiah 1:18)

Ezekiel 22 provides an extended diatribe directed at the actions of these same social groups, the princes, the priests, the people of the land, and adds false prophets. Ezekiel’s description of their activities explains why a true prophet would be called against those groups. The people of the land installed the eight-year-old Josiah as king (2 Kings 21:24), and these social [Page 186]groups later implemented the reforms. Their heirs edited the Hebrew scripture we now have.

And there is the issue of blindness. In describing conditions in Jerusalem at the end of the first temple period in the sixth century BC, Margaret Barker often refers to passages in 1 Enoch 93:7–8 that describe a condition of blindness that prevailed in Jerusalem at that time.

And after that in the fifth week, at its close, The house of glory and dominion shall be built for ever. And after that in the sixth week all who live in it shall be blinded, And the hearts of all of them shall godlessly forsake wisdom. And in it a man shall ascend; And at its close the house of dominion shall be burnt with fire, And the whole race of the chosen root shall be dispersed.

Several of the Biblical prophets who lived at Jerusalem also described both the blindness and the consequent forsaking of wisdom. By comparing the passages that describe the blindness, we can get a better view of what defines the condition, what wisdom was lost at the time, and the contrasting condition of vision. Each prophet gives part of the picture, and by seeing how the parts interconnect, we get a clear view of what happened. For example, Ezekiel, a priest taken as part of the first group of exiles, writes: “Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 12:2).

Notice that Ezekiel credits the blindness to rebellion, which implies a willful internal enemy. Ezekiel also relates the contrasting condition of seeing with his eyes and hearing with his ears to what he has been directly shown during a vision of God (see Ezekiel. 40:2-4, also 44:5).

Jeremiah also talks about the blindness and relates it to a loss of understanding (which implies a lack of wisdom that [Page 187]corresponds to the description in 1 Enoch). “Hear now this, O foolish people, without understanding, which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not” (Jeremiah 5:21).

Jacob, like Ezekiel, a temple priest, provides important details about the blindness in a passage that I read as a direct comment on the reform:

But behold, the Jews [whom Lehi knew in Jerusalem in the period before the destruction] were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things which they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken his plainness away from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand because they desired it. And because they desired it, God hath done it that they may stumble. (Jacob 4:14. cf. 1 Nephi 13:32 also on the blindness, and Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob as those who have seen and heard, 1 Nephi 9:1, 1 Nephi 11:3, and Jacob 7:12)

Jeremiah had also described the violence against prophets as something very public: “Your own sword hath devoured your prophets like a destroying lion . . . also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search but upon all of these” (Jeremiah 2:30, 36). In looking back at the accounts leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem, the most conspicuous account of extensive public violence conducted by the people in power is that of Josiah’s reform in 2 Kings 23:20.

Also pointing back to the upheavals around 600 BC, Barker provides the best clue to what the “mark” Jacob refers to actually was. Barker points to Ezekiel, like Jacob a temple priest and Jacob’s exact contemporary. In a vision of the angels of destruction [Page 188]summoned to the Jerusalem temple, Barker explains how Ezekiel saw that:

[A]n angel was sent to mark the faithful: “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who groan and sigh over all the abominations that are committed in it” (Ezek. 9:4). The LORD then spoke to the other six angels: “Pass through the city after him and smite . . . but touch no one upon whom is the mark . . .” (Ezek. 9:5–6). The mark on the forehead was protection against the wrath.

“Mark,” however conceals what that mark was. The Hebrew says that the angel marked the foreheads with the letter tau, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the ancient Hebrew script that Ezekiel would have used, this letter was a diagonal cross, and the significance of this becomes apparent from the much later tradition about the high priests. The rabbis remembered that the oil for anointing the high priest had been lost when the first temple was destroyed and that the priests of the second temple were only “priests of many garments,” a reference to the eight garments worn on the Day of Atonement (m. Horayoth 3.4). The rabbis also remember that the anointed high priests of the first temple had been anointed on the forehead with the sign of a diagonal cross (b. Horayoth 12a). The diagonal cross was the sign of the Name on their foreheads, the mark which Ezekiel described as the letter tau.18

Jacob’s “mark” must be a reference to the anointed high priest of the first temple. Those who received the anointing were those who took upon themselves the name of the anointed, the Messiah. Barker explains that: “It was also remembered [Page 189]that the roles of the anointed high priest and the priest of the many garments differed in some respects at Yom Kippur when the rituals of atonement were performed. The anointed high priest, they believed, would be restored to Israel at the end of time, in the last days.”19

Why does this matter? We will recall that the Hebrew Messiah and the Greek Christ, both mean “anointed one.” The implication is that the role of the anointed high priest was changed and that the differences had something to do with the Day of Atonement, which, as Barker observes, is conspicuously missing from the sacred calendar in Deuteronomy 16.

Lehi begins his own ministry in Jerusalem by prophesying of “a Messiah, and the redemption of the world” (1 Nephi 1:19). This clearly points to the “anointed” and to the Day of Atonement, which ritually enacts the redemption of the world and suggests that Lehi acted in direct opposition to those who were making these changes. During his vision, Lehi testified as one who “saw and heard,” (1 Nephi 1:19) which makes him a man of vision like Jeremiah and not a man who was blind and deaf and therefore under the penalty of a consequent loss of wisdom. He later had his vision of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8), the great symbol of wisdom that Josiah had recently removed from the temple and burned (2 Kings 23:5). He read from a heavenly book in which the Messiah and redemption of the world were “manifested plainly,” which points to Jacob’s description of those in Jerusalem who “despised words of plainness.” That is not to say that Lehi would necessarily disagree with everything that was going on any more than Jeremiah or Ezekiel might. There is no reason for Jeremiah or Lehi to complain about reform efforts to secure social justice, follow the law, fight paganism, or end the practice of child sacrifice. Common beliefs can also form the foundation of rivalry about differences. Sherem [Page 190]agrees with Jacob about the Law of Moses but not about revelation or the coming Messiah. (Jacob 7:7) While Nephi agrees with the first two points that Hamblin mentions regarding foreign gods and idols, he clearly does not agree that worship can happen only in the Jerusalem temple. Points of agreement are important, but where the differences touch the heart of the temple, we might want to keep our eyes open.

Professor Hamblin has noted in his essay that the changes during Josiah’s reform did much to ensure the survival of the Jews as a people. But remember that Jacob was concerned at how the blindness and loss of plainness concerning the atonement of Christ would lead them to stumble. He then tells the elaborate allegory of the olive trees as the answer to how people who had so tragically stumbled might eventually be recovered to build on the “sure foundation” (Jacob 4:14–18).

Scriptures do get edited during transmission, and Jeremiah, 1 Enoch, and Jacob 4:14 are among the texts that complain about some aspects of what happened. The state of the Hebrew texts we have provides further clues. Helaman 18:19–20 claims that Jeremiah had prophesied that the “Son of God would come.” John Tvedtnes has shown there is evidence that Jeremiah did utter such a prophecy.20 Barker’s Temple Theology shows a context in which such a prophecy would be meaningful in Lehi’s Jerusalem, why it would get him into trouble, and why it does not appear in our current Jeremiah. Jacob 4:14 suggests the reasons such a prophecy would be suppressed by those who looked beyond the mark of anointing.

[Page 191]

Further Reading

Richard Elliot Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (New York: Harper & Row, 1987). A well-known explanation of the Documentary Hypothesis written for popular audiences (that is, well-informed, simple and clear, addressed to lay readers). He also makes very clear just how important Josiah’s reign was for the formation of the Hebrew Bible as we have it.

Marvin A. Sweeney, King Josiah of Judah: The Lost Messiah of Israel (New York: Oxford, 2001). An academic approach to Josiah, emphasizing the importance of his reign for the formation of the Hebrew Bible.

W. B. Barrick, The King and the Cemeteries: Toward a New Understanding of Josiah’s Reform (Leiden: Brill, 2002). An expensive book, which I read in the BYU library, argues that the archeology suggests some of the activities of the reform actually happened in the south and were edited to describe activities in the north for political reasons. It is a reminder that texts are easier to edit than archeology, though of course, both must still be interpreted.

William G. Dever, Did God Have a Wife? Archeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005). Illuminates the changes in Israel around 600 BC from the perspective of archeology. Also see Alyson Von Feldt’s perceptive review from an LDS perspective, sympathetic to Barker’s views. The pdf version includes high resolution figures of important artifacts discussed.

[Page 192]http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=19&num=1&id=639

Alyson Von Feldt’s paper on “His Secret With the Righteous”: Instructional Wisdom in the Book of Mormon is also very helpful.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/papers/?paperID=9&chapterID=74

David Rolph Seely and Jo Ann H. Seely, “Lehi and Jeremiah: Prophets Priests and Patriarchs” in John W. Welch and David Rolph Seely and Ann H. Seely, eds., Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem (Provo, UT: FARMS 2004), 357–80. Very well informed LDS scholars taking a favorable view of Josiah’s reforms. http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=2&chapid=32.

Margaret Barker, “What Did King Josiah Reform?” in John W. Welch and David Rolph Seely and Ann H. Seely, eds., Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem (Provo, UT: F ARMS, 2004), 521–42 at http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=2&chapid=36.

Margaret Barker, “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion” in BYU Studies 44/4 (2005) provides her direct response to the Book of Mormon at https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=7141.

Margaret Barker, The Mother of the Lord: Volume 1: The Lady in the Temple (London: Bloomsbury, 2012). Her most recent work, extending her previous observations on Josiah’s reform. She offers an extended look at Jeremiah on pp. 54–75.

Also Margaret Barker’s Website, which has several relevant papers available for free reading: www.margaretbarker.com

William Hamblin’s website includes a number of related studies. http://mormonscriptureexplorations.wordpress.com/

Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon Volume 1: First Nephi (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007). An LDS approach that incorporates Barker’s view of the reform towards the Book of Mormon.

LeGrand L. Baker and Stephen D. Ricks, Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord: The Psalms in Israel’s Temple Worship in the Old Testament and in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2011).

Most of my own essays on the topic of how Barker’s work casts light on LDS scripture are linked at Howard Hopkin’s useful site: http://www.thinlyveiled.com/kchristensen.htm

  1. Kevin Christensen, “Paradigms Regained: A Survey of Margaret Barker’s Scholarship and Its Significance for Mormon Studies,” FARMS Occasional Papers 2 (2001). []
  2. Margaret Barker, “What Did King Josiah Reform?” in John W. Welch, David Rolph Seely, Jo Ann H. Seely, eds. Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2004), 526. []
  3. Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1987), 146. []
  4. Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible?, 209. []
  5. See pp. 165-76 in this volume. []
  6. Margaret Barker, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God (London: SPCK, 1992), 13. []
  7. Margaret Barker, The Revelation of Jesus Christ Which God Gave Him to Show to His Servants What Must Soon Take Place (Revelation 1.1) (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000), 17. []
  8. Christensen, “Paradigms Regained,” 15. []
  9. Christensen, “Paradigms Regained,” 15. []
  10. Christensen, “Paradigms Regained,” 21. Also see Alyson Von Feldt, “His Secret is With the Righteous: Wisdom Teaching in the Book of Mormon” Occasional Papers 5 (2007): 49–83. []
  11. See Margaret Barker, “Joseph Smith and Preexilic Israelite Religion” BYU Studies 44/4 (2005): 69–82. []
  12. Margaret Barker, The Mother of the Lord: Volume 1: The Lady in the Temple (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), 73–74. []
  13. John Bright, The Anchor Bible Jeremiah (Garden City: Doubleday and Co. 1965), 60. Compare Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible?, 209. []
  14. Daniel C. Peterson and William Hamblin, “Deseret News,” “Old Testament Divine Council Called a Sod,” http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765621073/Old-Testament-divine-council-called-a-sod.html. See also Hamblin “The Sôd of Yhwh and the Endowment,” pp. 147–54 in this volume. []
  15. Barker, Mother of the Lord, 73. She offers an extended look at Jeremiah on pp. 54–75. []
  16. Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction (London: SPCK, 2004), 15. []
  17. Margaret Barker’s Mother of the Lord is an exception. See p. 57 and pp. 54–75 overall. []
  18. Barker, Revelation of Jesus, 162. []
  19. Margaret Barker, Great Angel, 15. []
  20. John Tvedtnes, The Most Correct Book: Insights from a Book of Mormon Scholar (Bountiful, Horizon, 2003), 98–101. []
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About Kevin Christensen

Kevin Christensen has been a technical writer since 1984, since 2004 working in Pittsburgh, PA.  He has a B.A. in English from San Jose State University.  He has published articles in DialogueSunstone, the FARMS Review of Books, the Journal of Book of Mormon StudiesInsights, the Meridian Magazine, the FARMS Occasional Papers (Paradigms Regained: A Survey of Margaret Barker’s Scholarship and Its Significance for Mormon Studies), Glimpses of Lehi’s Jerusalem, and in collaboration with Margaret Barker, an essay in Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries.  He lives with his wife Shauna in Bethel Park, PA.

3 thoughts on “Prophets and Kings in Lehi’s Jerusalem and Margaret Barker’s Temple Theology

  1. “…Josiah’s reign was for the formation of the Hebrew Bible as we have it.”

    I have often wondered why it is that baptism is never mentioned in the O.T., but Nephi certainly makes a big deal of what we acknowledge today as a saving ordinance. Can we blame Josiah for this ommission?

  2. “She discusses how often the texts that refer to this period lament the loss of Wisdom in terms of characteristic teachings as well as the female personification of Wisdom…”
    It is interesting that the female personification of wisdom remains intact in the Book of Mormon: “O how marvelous are the works of the Lord, and how long doth he suffer with his people; yea, and how ablind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that bshe should rule over them! Mosiah 8 :20

  3. I appreciate the comments on Lehi’s vision on the Tree of Life and the connection that the tree was removed through Josiah’s reform. A further analysis of Lehi’s vision should be made that looks at 1 Nephi chapter 8 as an indictment of the religion of Israel. We may just find the great and spacious building with its people of exceeding fine manner of dress to be symbolic of the Temple and its priest and others who worship there. The tree of life was moved out of the Temple and into the waste places, only accessible by traversing through darkness. This would also be similar to the Essenes, who established what they thought was a more pure religion in the desert.

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