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.
One of his first posts talks about the insights he’s gained from reading Margaret Barker’s recent book “Temple Themes in Christian Worship.”
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.