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Towards A Theology Of The Tabernacle And Its Furniture

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Chapter Summary

It has long been noted that the priestly instructions about the construction of the Tabernacle exceed the bounds of what would be expected. This chapter concerns the role the Tabernacle and its furniture assume in the Second Temple period and beyond. It shows (1) that the furniture of the Tabernacle was treated as quasi-divine in Second Temple Jewish sources of both a literary and iconographic nature; and (2) the high valuation put on these pieces of furniture made them dangerous to look at but at the same time, and quite paradoxically, desirable or even compulsory to contemplate. The chapter also shows that the fact that it was impossible to divide with surgical precision the house of God from the being of God led to the adoption of this Jewish theologoumenon by early Christians as a means of clarifying how it was that Jesus could be both God and man.

Keywords: early Christians; Jesus; Jewish theologoumenon; Second Temple period; Tabernacle



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