Today I presented a paper at the Cambridge graduate New Testament seminar entitled: “Yahweh Comes in the Side Door: The Temple Theology of Luke.” The paper focuses on the distinct way in which the gospel of Luke makes use of the Jerusalem temple as a way to present a certain theology about Jesus Christ. In brief:
It is well-known that the Jerusalem temple plays a major structural role in the of the gospel of Luke (and the book of Acts). The theological purpose of the temple in the gospel has received less attention, however. This paper traces the development of the temple motif in the gospel and presents a comprehensive argument that the author uses the temple setting to present a particular point about Jesus: namely, that his entrance into the temple before the passion week is the long-awaited arrival of the glory of Yahweh back to the temple.
This research is a spinoff of my main dissertation work. I had made the point a while back to my supervisor that a certain aspect of Luke 1–2 is meaningful because it takes place in the temple. He asked me to do a little digging to see if there’s anything special about the temple in Luke relative to Matthew and Mark. As it turns out, there is a lot going on with the temple in Luke (and Acts) — over 14,000 words worth! I am not sure how much, if any, of this will make it into the dissertation itself. However, it was very interesting to research, and I enjoyed making the presentation today to receive feedback from peers.
Special thanks to Hannah Robinson (London School of Theology) for catching something I missed that will further strengthen the thesis of this paper (it’s rare that someone catches an omission that helps you rather than hurts you!). Sincere thanks also to to Monique Cuany, Jim Prothro, Peter Gurry, Mateus Campos, Ruth Norris, Sarah Dixon, Drew Melton and Jeremy Hudson for their helpful comments as well.
Audio of the presentation. For a copy of the handout, please feel free to contact me directly.