The use of those two words together, resurrection in mortality, appears to be perfectly incongruous at first glance. In our common parlance in the Church we understand resurrection to be something that can only happen after mortality. The resurrection “consists in the uniting of a spirit body with a body of flesh and bones, never again to be divided” ((“Resurrection.” LDS Bible Dictionary. http://scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/r/28)). This is an event which happens only after there has been a separation of the spirit body from the mortal body through the process called death. In my reading over the weekend, however, I came across a fascinating perspective from Margaret Barker which gives added meaning to the word resurrection, and our understanding of it, a meaning which can apply to us while still in our mortal estate. [Read more…]
1 : having a roofless central space
2 : open to the sky ((“hypaethral.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 26 November 2008
What caught my interest was that this word is applied mostly to ancient temples. The example sentence that was given was:
During our tour of Egypt, we visited the hypaethral temple of Philae, which was dismantled and relocated after the construction of a dam caused its original site to be submersed. ((Email – “hypaethral: M-W’s Word of the Day,” November 26, 2008.))
Webster’s given etymology of the word explains why it is often associated with temples:
Ancient Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius used the Latin word “hypaethrus” to describe temples in which the “cella” (the part of the temple housing an image of the deity) was wholly or partially uncovered. “Hypaethrus” is a word sculpted from the Greek prefix “hypo-,” meaning “under or beneath,” and the Greek word “aithēr,” meaning “air or heaven.” In the late-18th century, English classicists adopted the remodeled form “hypaethral” in their writings of ancient architecture. Another adjective that they occasionally employed is “cleithral,” which designates temples having roofed central spaces. (“Cleithral” comes from “kleithra,” the Greek word for “lattice.”) ((ibid.))
In other words, the innermost sanctuary of ancient temples (known in the Israelite tradition as the Holy of Holies) was sometimes open to the sky, hyp-aethral, or “under heaven.” This was likely due to the temples’ often association with the cosmos. While although the “Hypaethral Temple” at Philae may not have actually been open to the sky in its heyday, a couple examples of this scenario might be found in Stonehenge and Göbekli Tepe.
Read more in the Wikipedia article on hypaethral. Dr. William R. Long also has a good description and study of this word, including this interesting quote from Henry David Thoreau ((Elder Perry spoke of this philosopher in the last General Conference)), who used the term figuratively:
Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself – an hypaethral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? ((Hentry David Thoreau, “Life without Principle.”))
Some of our critics have been quick to contend that our modern temples and practices have no relationship whatever to the temples of ancient Israel. This is a quick judgment indeed. If one is willing to open their eyes that they may hear, and their ears that they may see, then many marvelous understandings of God’s purposes may be unfolded to their view (D&C 136:32; 3 Nephi 11:5; Isa. 35:5; 1 Ne. 10:19; Mosiah 2:9; D&C 6:7; D&C 11:7). [Read more…]
There is an interesting post at The T&T Clark Blog with a transcription of an address that BYU’s John Welch gave on March 5th in London at a conference about Margaret Barker’s latest book, Temple Themes in Christian Worship, and her scholarly work on temple subjects in ancient Christianity and Judaism. FARMS lists Welch as serving on the executive committee of the Biblical Law Section of the SBL, but in this review he also mentions that he has been selected as one of the organizers of a new section on Temple Studies in the SBL. I am not very familiar with the SBL, but this sounds like a fantastic leap forward in temple studies among biblical scholars.
Some highlights from this address are: [Read more…]
The Testament of Levi is one of the books in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and is an apocryphal and pseudopigraphal work so we do not know its original author or source. The Testament of Levi, as we have it today, was composed in its final form in the second century B.C. It is also considered an apocalyptic work, relating visions similar to John’s book of Revelation. Fragments of this text have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, lending more credibility to them than some of the other “testaments.”
One particularly interesting passage is about Levi’s vision of his priestly ordination in heaven, including washings, anointings, and investiture: [Read more…]