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For a long time scholarship has been seeking the origins of Christian worship in the synagogue. In this new major book, Margaret Barker traces the roots of Christian worship back to the Jewish temple. By proposing a temple setting, a great deal more can be explained, and the existing rather limited resources can be more fruitfully used. By working with a great variety of sources (canonical, extra-canonical and Fathers, all presented here in tranlsation), it is possible to reconstruct something of the early Christian world view, which shows the Church as the conscious continuation of the temple worship. Fundamental practices such as baptism and the Eucharist had Temple Roots, and familiar words in the liturgy of the church such as Maranatha and Hallelujah derived from the ancient belief that the Lord appeared in the Temple. Jesus was the God of Israel manifested as a the Great High Priest, and the Christians were his new angel priesthood, singing the angelic liturgy to restore and renew the earth.
The chapters in this book cover baptism, in theology and practice, the Eucharist, with special emphasis on the symbolism of the elements, the significance of music and hymns, festivals and pilgrimage, use of the Scriptures, both what the early Christians used and how they read them, prayers, including the Lord's prayer, and the shape of church buildings.
Margaret Barker is a former President of the Society for Old Testament Study, and author of numerous works, including The Older Testament, The Last Prophet, The Gate of Heaven, The Great Angel.