David Tayman from the blog Visions of the Kingdom, and David Larsen from Heavenly Ascents, have teamed up to produce a series of short YouTube videos on the ancient temple. The focus of the presentations will be to explore the nature, function, doctrine and ritual of the ancient temple. This is done with the purpose of providing a richer experience and understanding to our modern temple worship. They are very well done, with great sound, video, and narration. I will feature them here as they are produced.
Thanks to the Davids for providing these fantastic videos! Did you gain any new insights from the video above? Feel free to share with us your thoughts in the comments below.
David Larsen at Heavenly Ascents continues to provide excellent notes from his attendance at the Temple Studies Group Symposium in London last weekend. Recently he posted his notes on Archimandrite Ephrem‘s presentation about the Holy Oil in the Orthodox Church. Father Ephrem gave out a handout which included detailed notes on the anointing rite in the Orthodox Church, which includes this portion:
The one to be baptized is brought forward. The Priest takes some of the oil and makes the sign of the Cross on the forehead, breast and back of the candidate, saying: The servant of God, N., is anointed with the oil of gladness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. As he signs their breast and back he says: For healing of soul and body. On the ears: For the hearing of faith. On the feet: For your feet to walk. On the hands: Your hands made me and fashioned me. And when the whole body has been anointed the Priest baptizes the person, holding them upright and facing East, as he says: The servant of God N. is baptized, in the name of the Father. Amen. And of the Son. Amen. And of the Holy Spirit. Amen. At each invocation the Priest immerses them and raises them again [three-fold immersion]. ((Handout from Archimandrite Ephrem in notes on Heavenly Ascents blog. Notes in brackets are mine.))
Check out David Larsen’s Heavenly Ascents blog for more details from Father Ephrem’s presentation.
My friend David Larsen has some great notes at Heavenly Ascents on the presentation given by Dr. Margaret Barker at the Temple Studies Symposium III in London this past weekend. Her words were an introduction to the symposium which focused on the topic of “The Holy Anointing Oil”:
Anointing with myrrh oil was the most holy mystery of the Jerusalem temple. It passed into Christianity and gave the faith its name. This symposium will explore the temple rite and its meaning, and then look at some of the ways in which Christians preserved the ancient tradition. ((TempleStudiesGroup.com))
David’s notes on Barker’s presentation include some interesting facets of anointing:
- The Messiah, the Christ, was the Anointed One, and so the holy anointing oil is central to Christian identity. It gives the Christians their name.
- Christian teaching concerning anointing is a conscious continuation of the ancient temple teaching.
- The oil was understood to impart holiness… It was part of the secret teaching of the high priesthood.
- The anointing with oil was a part of the “secret teaching” passed on to Christianity from Christ through the apostles.
- The high priests were “christs” — they represented Yahweh by being anointed and wearing name “YHWH” on forehead.
See the Heavenly Ascents blog for David’s full notes on Barker’s presentation. Hopefully her presentation will also become available on TempleStudiesGroup.com. Other speakers included Dr. John F. Hall (Professor from BYU), Archimandrite Ephrem, The Rev. Dr Richard Price, Dr Sebastian Brock, and Rev. Dr Laurence Hemming. David has some notes on their presentations here, and will post more notes about their presentations soon.
Our long-time reader and commenter at TempleStudy, David J. Larsen, has begun a terrific blog – “Heavenly Ascents.” David received his BA from BYU in Near Eastern Studies in 2001, and is a current graduate student in Theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, studying under Dr. Andrei Orlov who is a prominent Enoch scholar. David’s background includes Biblical studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Christian Studies, and Apocalyptic Literature. His language study has included Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. In other words, he is well-qualified to speak on the topic he has chosen (but he’s still a non-authoritarian like the rest of us). The subject matter of his blog looks very interesting:
This blog . . . will cover a wide range of topics that have to do with theological/religious studies, based on what I am studying in school and other ventures into my own related interests. . . . Some of my research interests include Temple studies, Temple roots of early Christian beliefs, apocalyptic writings, intertestamental literature, and pseudepigrapha. . . .
It will focus on insights I learn in my graduate program in Theology at Marquette University and will include my reviews of books by authors such as Margaret Barker and other religious scholars of interest to LDS readers. ((Heavenly Ascents blog, and email communication June 2, 2008.))
Discussions such as these will be very helpful for Latter-day Saints and others to learn more about our religious traditions, and the symbolism and origin of our temple practices.
To begin her study of “temple themes in Christian worship,” Barker begins by giving evidence that there was, in fact, a “secret tradition” of beliefs/practices that had its roots in the ancient Temple of Solomon. Many of the early Church Fathers knew of “authentic Christian traditions not recorded in the Bible” (p. 1). ((Insights from Margaret Barker’s “Temple Themes in Christian Worship”, Heavenly Ascents.))
Examples are given from early Church Fathers about the a tradition of unwritten, guarded, and secret practices or mysteries in the early Church, handed down from Christ to his apostles.