The Great High Priest Paperback
The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy
by Margaret Barker (former President of the Society for Old Testament Study);
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The Great High Priest
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The Great High Priest by Margaret Barker (former President of the Society for Old Testament Study) was published by Continuum in May 2003 and is our 18434th best seller. The ISBN for The Great High Priest is 9780567089427.
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The Great High PriestAlan Billings, via The Good Book Stall
First published 2003 and repeatedly after that.
This is a scholarly work written for those who have either a professional interest in the development of early Christian liturgy or are serious non-professionals. As far as the latter are concerned, they will need to apply themselves to the text with great diligence as a considerable amount of information is conveyed on every page and much of it will probably be new. But diligence will have its reward.
The thesis of the book is summed up in the sub-title. Barker believes that if we want to understand the origins of Christian worship, particularly eucharistic worship, we need to discover more about the worship that was offered in the Jerusalem Temple before its destruction in 70 CE. This is not as easy as Christian preachers may sometimes think and much of the book involves the meticulous examination of early texts, both Jewish and Christian. This is not straightforward because some texts have vanished and have to be inferred from other writings that quote them and others have been amended at later dates sometimes for polemical reasons. Her bold claim is that when we do this, we realise that most of the key ideas and practices of Christian worship have their origins in Jewish Temple worship.
The evidence Barker amasses is formidable and detailed. I was, therefore, pretty convinced of the broad thrust of the case. But I was also intrigued by many other snippets of information gleaned along the way that shed light on many things that had puzzled me before. For instance, I have often wondered how Jesus, as a Jew, could tell his followers to drink his blood, even symbolically, given Jewish attitudes towards blood and the draining of blood from sacrifices. Barker believes that in the Day of Atonement ritual the priests ate parts of the sin offering unwashed and with vinegar: that is, with the blood still in it.
The book is full of such points of interest.
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Details for The Great High Priest
|Author / Artist||Margaret Barker (former President of the Society for Old Testament Study)|
|Publisher||Continuum (May 2003)|
|Number of Pages||438|
|Page last updated||5th June 2017|