Margaret Barker 
and the Kings of Misrule

Margaret Barker

Fellow Travelers
How Many Gods?
Divine Kings
Lost Book
Julius Wellhausen
The Lady
Philo Judaeus
Only Begotten
Great Angel
Not Left Orphans
Authentic Islam

Fellow Travelers

Margaret Barker is a modern author who is very popular with Mormons as well as some Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers. Not only that, her 'temple theology' seems to be catching on in its own right: before our eyes, a new religious movement is taking shape. She is an interesting and engaging writer whose works are filled with valuable insights. Unfortunately, she is not a monotheist. She believes the original and authentic religion of Israel to be polytheism, which included devotion to 'The Lady,' the Mother of the Gods.

  • “Not only had there been another high priesthood in the first temple, but before the influence of the Deuteronomists the Hebrews had known of more than one divine being. The other nations had other gods, but they also recognized more than one divine being in their own Jerusalem temple. There was God Most High (El Elyon) who had sons, the Firstborn of whom was the LORD (Yahweh) the God of Israel, and the Mother of the LORD was the Lady of the temple.”
  • (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 1493).

Her time arrow runs, not forward but backward; her slogan is not, 'Onward and upward!' Rather, she looks back to a lost Golden Age. Her 'Jesus' is no new thing, God come to dwell amongst His own people, but a restorationist: ". . .people were expecting the LORD to come, and just as he had once been present with his people in the Davidic king, so too the Christians believed that he was present in Jesus, the restored Davidic king." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 1199). She realizes that ascribing divine kingship to ancient Israel is not compatible with either the law or the histories, and so she tosses those out, as late forgeries.

It may be objected, that her work is descriptive, not prescriptive; she is a scholar seeking to understand Christian origins. However it does appear that she is taken by her fans as a guru and spiritual guide.

For some reason she is also popular with mythicists. These are atheists who deny that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed as a historical personage. Possibly it is just that, as atheists, they are quick to grasp at whatever discredits the gospel. Her scholarship is at a high level and her insights are often intriguing and valuable, if creative. The reader of the Talmud is perplexed when the Rabbis, in their Bible interpretations, feel at liberty to substitute one word for another, whether because the two words sound similar or because their numerical sum comes out the same. That they do it is bad enough, but why she feels entitled to follow their example, I don't know. These techniques are not so much geared toward understanding the word of God, as of turning it into verbal confetti.

The mythicists seem to appreciate the fact that her 'Jesus' is highly pre-figured, determined by prior 'First Temple' doctrine, which to them, translates as 'non-existent.' Her 'Jesus' is really just nostalgic, a conservative who wants to re-establish the 'First Temple' monarchy. Any 'restoration' ideology would show the same characteristics, of looking back to the past, and molding the present to conform to the imagined glories of the past. Her 'Jesus' offers 'theosis' to all: ". . .he describes his work as offering high-priestly theosis to all." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel. Kindle location 5822). Just as Huey Long took up the motto, 'Every Man a King,' so we can all be kings of Israel. Maybe then we will all be mythical. Over whom we are to rule, she doesn't say; it is hard to imagine a subject population so downtrodden and debased as to submit to the superintendence of such a motley, raggedy and thread-bare assortment of 'gods:'

Sometimes she says things that Bible-believing Christians could heartily endorse. For example, here she suggests that Jesus was different from Solomon, because what was only a symbol in Solomon's case (if it ever even was that), was a reality with Jesus:

"After the real, not symbolic, death, he was exalted and given the Name Yahweh, as happened to Solomon at his coronation, when everyone worshipped him. Just as the assembled people had recognized the anointed Solomon as the LORD, so too the whole creation would recognize the anointed Jesus as the LORD. The difference in the New Testament is that the events were not symbolic but real, and so the exalted Servant received the worship of all creation when he had received the Name."

(Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 2606-2610). SPCK. Kindle Edition.)

Not that there is any actual reason to think Solomon was given the name 'Yahweh' at any time, but the set-up, that the New Testament gives the reality, for which the Old Testament offers a symbolic prefiguration, is fine. However most of the time she makes Jesus into a later-comer, a wannabe, someone nostalgic for the glories of past times, when divine kingship was fully and actually realized in the 'First Temple.' But Christian orthodoxy must protest, that the incarnation was a one-time thing. There is one man who is truly God; the kings of Israel were not, and so democratizing what the apostate kings may have had or thought they had (even that much is entirely speculative) leaves a tribe of feeble, deflated and far-from-enviable gods.

She does spread the wealth, offering Israelite kingship to anyone who wants it; not only does she proclaim the priesthood of all believers, she elevates them to the high priesthood! In her system, not only the kings of Israel, but the high priests as well, are God. Contrary to evidence, she claims the kings were also the high priests. This merger is necessitated by locating, as she does, the god-making ritual in the Holy of Holies, where only the high priest entered: "These are images of high priesthood, the resurrected state. This the high priesthood of all believers." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 24). According to her, Jesus delivered what Satan had promised in the garden: "They explained how things came to be, and in Jesus' prayer, how he caused his disciples to be the elohim that were the LORD." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 11479).

The reader should be aware that her vision of the 'First Temple' is absent from the Bible; it requires to be 'restored' and reconstituted from pagan sources:

"Since the 'primary' sources for the history of the Jerusalem monarchy (1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings) are hostile to most of the kings, any reconstruction of the origin of the Messianic ideal in Jerusalem is seriously hampered. This same source is also hostile to the first temple in Jerusalem, and so any search for the temple roots of Christian worship has to rely largely on material outside the Old Testament." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 6).

If one is at liberty to import pagan materials into the Bible, then one can re-create any 'lost' religion one wishes, from the worship of Astarte to Dagon the fish god. If I want to say the entire Bible was a paean to the fish god, before the 'Deuteronomist' stomped on the fish, I've got as much evidence as she does. Evidence for her views is unavailable because it's 'hidden:' "For centuries, there was a 'hidden tradition' within the Church, passed down orally from the original disciples and not committed to writing." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 258). Evidence for my thesis that Dagon is the real hero of the Bible is also hidden, in the same place.

The fundamental problem with her 'Temple Theology' is failure to adhere to monotheism. There are too many 'Yahweh's' in this system: "Jesus was the LORD and sent by the LORD, and those whom Jesus sent would also be the LORD." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 8754). The correct number of 'Yahweh's' is one. Orthodox Christian theology offers no different census of the heavenlies. To this Biblical god-count, she gives not even lip service. To her 'Yahweh' is already one of a crowd: "Yahweh is the Holy One of Israel (v. 18), one heavenly being among many." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 29). Meet the relatives, get to know the whole family; learn about "flying king cults in India, in South-East Asia and in China." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 39). Or better yet, let's not.

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Annunciation

How Many Gods?

The crux of the problem with Margaret Barker can be identified by asking, how many gods did believing Israel acknowledge? How many gods did Christians receive? The correct answer is easy to deal with; it's one, (1), uno, not two, not three, not many. It's not as if the Lord taught anything different:

  • “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’”
  • (Mark 12:29).

So where does the excess come from? From what hiding place did that "more than one divine being" leap out at us from? One route is from the efforts of the early church fathers to find indications of the trinity in the Old Testament. They used to use texts like Genesis 1:26, 'Let us make man,' to prove that God is, was, and will ever be, triune. Some of her interpretative discoveries are not so novel as the unwary reader might imagine. One possible interpretation of these verses is the trinity. Another possible interpretation is polytheism. But why is that interpretation to be rejected? Because there's only one God:

The Bible describes Jesus as unique; He it was who brought immortality to light,

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." (2 Timothy 1:8-11).

In her system He is far from unique; He joins a crowd of gods, who already possessed immortal life: "The anointed ones who emerged from the holy of holies, perfumed with myrrh, were already transformed into sons of God and angels; they lived the life that Jesus said awaited the dead after they had risen: 'They are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection' (Luke 20.36). This is what John 'saw and believed.'" (Margret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 13311). It's all in the myrrh; it is the perfumers who hold the secret to eternal life. Jesus is a late-comer to the party.

Monotheism does not invalidate the doctrine of the trinity, but is rather the foundation pillar for that teaching: ". . .the Trinity of the One Divinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." (Tertullian, On Modesty, Chapter 21). But what about Psalm 82, which describes the living God seated in the assembly of the gods? Are "heavenly beings" in view in this verse, and if so, why did Jesus, not then visibly a 'heavenly being' but rather an earth-bound man, use it in His defense?: "When Jesus reminded his accusers of the claims of the high priesthood, he quoted Psalm 82 that there were heavenly beings known as gods, the sons of the Most High, and then described the making of the high priest." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 58):

It's not that she is unaware of Deuteronomy 6:4, but she offers her own translation, "‘Yahweh our angels is a Unity’ is a literal rendering of the familiar ‘the LORD our God is One’ (Deut. 6.4). . ." (Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 3812-3813). SPCK.)

One could wish this author was an outlier, but her polytheistic interpretation of the Old Testament is the norm in secular Bible scholarship. How did that happen? Readers of Gerhard von Rad will have made the acquaintance of the Chaos Monster. Readers of the Roman Catholic New Jerome Bible Commentary have discovered that the Psalms are paeans to the gods, assembling in their grand convocations to form, it is claimed, a polytheistic pantheon. While this method of reading the Old Testament probably found its originating rationale in anti-Semitism or anti-Christianity, you never know when people will flip it to the positive side: 'The Bible is polytheistic (I learned this in school). Therefore, polytheism is good. We should all be polytheists.' I don't know if the German anti-Semites who invented this system expected this outcome, but here it is.

The theory of evolution became popular in the nineteenth century. The task for 'criticism' is to arrange the material to show phases of development, no matter how much sheer invention is needed to bring this about: "Criticism has not done its work when it has completed the mechanical distribution; it must aim further at bringing the different writings when thus arranged into relation with each other, must seek to render them intelligible as phases of a living process, and thus to make it possible to trace a graduated development of the tradition." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 5366-5368). During the nineteenth century, people came to believe that the answer to all questions about how things came to be could be found in an adverb, 'gradually:'

Let Us Make
In the Image
Theory of Evolution
Philo Judaeus

Here enters Margaret Barker. Her own understanding of history is oriented toward nostalgia for a golden age, the 'First Temple.' Her 'Jesus' longed to restore past glories, not inaugurate something new: "The condition of the faithful, their promised rewards and the figurative language all show that the persecuted were the dispossessed of the first temple, who kept the older ways and longed to regain their former state and status." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10447). She is not even disposed toward seeing God's revelation as progressive, as to some extent it appears to be. Nevertheless she accepts without criticism the findings of this 'scholarship.' She has fallen heir to the idea that 'Yahweh' has a consort (although she prudishly prefers to make her 'Ashratah' his mother), and that there is a higher god ranking above him; she did not invent these ideas. Her understanding of the deep structure of time is opposed to the 'evolutionary' armature that was imposed on this material by nineteenth century higher critics; but she incorporates their findings anyway.

So, when she encounters the old trinitarian proof-texts, she deems this material polytheistic, because that is what 'scholars' say. She has found a heritage for Christianity; good news, we are not orphans! Our heritage lies in polytheism. It would be better to have no heritage at all than to claim such a gross error, offensive to God, as one's patrimony. Jesus did not restore divine kingship, an institution faithful Israel never had, unlike their polytheistic neighbors. Pharaoh was a god-king, Nebuchadnezzar was a god-king, the Prince of Tyre was a god-king, but David was not. Jesus was God incarnate, a new thing in the world.

Alas for us, our heritage now lies through gnosticism:

"Gnosticism in its earliest forms was preChristian, but not Jewish; it was Hebraic and an heir to temple tradition. The Christians adopted this teaching, and John's Gospel shows it was remembered as the teaching of Jesus himself." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 114).

To the contrary, Christians remembered Jesus as a monotheist:

Imagine a sea, like the Aegean, dotted with islands: the Monotheist Islands, inhabited by tribes like Ikhnaton and his people, some of the philosophers, Jews, Christians, and Muslims. These islands are washed by an all-enveloping pagan sea. Any inhabitant longing for distant shores who wants to know about pagan polytheism need only inquire of the sailors manning the merchant-men who call at port; the information is freely available. Does it make sense to posit a hidden, undiscoverable land-bridge between these islands, so that information from the ancient throne room of the Israelite kings/high priests can somehow pop up in the medieval Kabbalah? Does it not make more sense to notice that the islands are washed by a great polytheistic sea, filled with ever-available ideas and paradigms? When you discover a cache of flour, which is the best available theory: a.) the people borrowed the flour from the Bread-eaters who live up the road, or b.) the people rediscovered the long-suppressed ancient technique of making flour; perish the though they would have dealings with the Bread-eaters! When monotheists apostatize and turn polytheist, is it not noticing the obvious to point out that they live in a world filled with pagan polytheists? Since the sea is always there, that is where these ideas keep infiltrating from. Which is not to say the medieval Kabbalists don't have real links to second century gnosticism; of course they do, but not to any ancient throne room with a kiddie-size throne.

An inversion familiar from gnosticism, making the 'good guys' of the Bible into the 'bad guys' and vice versa, is found here as well: "The fruit of the tree (originally there had been but one) gave knowledge and life, and the serpent spoke well to Eve when he said that the fruit would open their eyes and make them like the 'elohim (Gen. 3.5) This was the original role of the heavenly knowledge; it transformed the human into the divine and thus gave 'life' which was not subject to mortality." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 58). Realizing is the "serpent" who offers theosis, I'll pass.

Paganism is a multi-formed monster, sort of like Proteus, you might almost say. Nevertheless there can be a family resemblance between different forms of pagan polytheism; the pantheon of Ugarit looks vaguely similar to the gnostics' crowded heavenly apartment houses. All we are discovering when we unveil this, is not any lost 'Temple Theology,' but only that pagans will be pagans. Polytheism today is a lot like polytheism yesterday, or the day before.

Divine Kings

Many Near Eastern societies, Israel's neighbors, groaned beneath the institution of divine kingship. After Alexander the Great conquered this area, he and his successors borrowed some of these usages, to the consternation of the Greeks travelling with Alexander. A good exemplar of the species is the prince of Tyre:

The Bible's discussion of the Price of Tyre is far from a ringing endorsement of divine kingship, just as its discussion of the 'Queen of Heaven' falls far from praise of Ashtoreth or Ishtar. While the obloquy heaped upon the Prince of Tyre would sound a cautionary note about god-kings for most readers, she sees in this text "the demise of a divinity:"

"An earlier oracle (Ezek. 28.2-10) had condemned the Prince of Tyre for thinking that he was a god, in strange contrast to this later oracle where he — or his heavenly self — was clearly divine." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 41).

While it's true Ezekiel's denunciation comes in two parts, her defense of the Prince of Tyre manifests a strange unwillingness to get the point. As she realizes, as go Nebuchadnezzar and the Prince of Tyre, so go her god-kings; they are ship-mates sailing on the same vessel, but it's not the old ship of Zion: "The Davidic kings ascended to the garden of God and sat in the divine council as did the rulers of Babylon and Tyre." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 41). It is difficult to avoid the impression that the authorial intent of Isaiah's denunciation of Nebuchadnezzar and Ezekiel's of the Prince of Tyre was to throw a wet blanket over the pretensions of the god-kings, yet she sees in these passages only confirmation and encouragement for the 'ascent' of the leading political elite to divine status. One must fervently hope that Kim Jung Un is a bridge too far for her.

It's not that there's anything unusual or uncommon about the institution of divine kingship. It's just that it's not found where she's looking for it. Philip the Macedonian hinted, perhaps a bit too subtly to discourage his assassin, about the company he kept:

"Along with lavish display of every sort, Philip included in the procession statues of the twelve gods wrought with great artistry and adorned with a dazzling show of wealth to strike awe in the beholder, and along with these was conducted a thirteenth statue, suitable for a god, that of Philip himself, so that the king exhibited himself enthroned among the twelve gods."

(Siculus, Diodorus. Library of History, Book XVI, Chapter 92.5. Complete Works of Diodorus Siculus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 32) (Kindle Locations 18926-18929).)

Not to be crude, but North Koreans are taught that the Kims don't go to the bathroom: "According to the secretive state, the Kim family is too perfect to need the toilet like the rest of us.

"It’s a claim repeated in an official biography of the late leader Kim Jong-il and confirmed by North Korean concentration camp survivor Kang Chol-hwan.

"In his memoir, the Aquariums of Pyongyang, Mr. Kang writes:

“[They] were perfect beings, untarnished by any base human function.

“'I was convinced, as we all were, that neither of them urinated or defecated. Who could imagine such things of gods?'" (quoted, Daily Star, Michael Havis / Published 5th June 2016).

About the elder Kim, the North Koreans were claiming Billy Graham acknowledged he was god: "Indeed, “said” Graham: “Having observed the Supreme Leader Kim Il-sung’s unique political leadership, I can only think that he is God.” (quoted Doug Bandow, April 19, 2016, The problem with divine kingship is that hereditary monarchy tends to run to seed. The most recent scion of the dynasty, Kim Jong Un, seems like he would be barely qualified for a job as a clerk in a convenience store, much less running a country. Reportedly, the elder Kim got the idea from Presbyterianism. It was not a happy idea, because representing a fallible, mortal man as if he were a god is grotesque and ludicrous, as well as oppressive and exploitive. It is not so hard to borrow Jesus' title of deity, but the reality is elusive. Of all the people who have been compelled to live under this system, I wonder how many have actually fallen for it:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca
of Claudius

Readers of 'The Golden Bough' will recall that you have to kill the god-king if the crops fail. Of the Burgundians, Ammianus Marcellinus says gently only that they deposed the ruler in such an eventuality:

"Among them their king is called by one general name of 'Hendinos,' and according to a very ancient custom of theirs, is deposed from his authority if under his government the state meets with any disaster in war; or if the earth fails to produce a good crop; in the same way as the Egyptians are accustomed to attribute calamities of that kind to their rulers." (Ammianus Marcellinus, Book XXVIII, Chapter V, Section 14).

Non-divine kings do not get blamed for natural disasters, for crop failures or tsunamis or earthquakes, not directly at any rate, but divine kings are expected to hold up their end of things. The kings of Israel and Judah were not held to that standard. There is no reason to think the system worked the way she says it worked, not even in the times of apostasy. Divine kingship in its purest form hedges the king around with taboos,

"The chief city of this tribe is called by them Sabae and is built upon a mountain. The kings of this city succeed to the throne by descent and the people accord to them honours mingled with good and ill. For though they have the appearance of leading a happy life, in that they impose commands upon all and are not accountable for their deeds, yet they are considered unfortunate, inasmuch as it is unlawful for them ever to leave the palace, and if they do so they are stoned to death, in accordance with a certain ancient oracle, by the common crowd."

(Siculus, Diodorus. Complete Works of Diodorus Siculus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 32) (Kindle Locations 4120-4123). Delphi Classics.)

Perhaps she is thinking more of latecomers to the tradition, foreign tourists who took what they liked and left the rest, like the Macedonian successors or for that matter the Roman emperors. But they are not very much like the kings of Israel either; Nathan could rebuke David, who could rebuke Caligula? Moses' law does not make the king God, it makes the king accountable to God. Of course, Jesus, who really is God, breaks the mold. But the idea that, if we borrow the institution of divine kings from the pagans, we will have a category for Jesus; He will be a typical example of something rather than one of a kind, is unhelpful, because He certainly is not a typical pagan god-king: those are a scandal, like Nebuchadnezzar, or Kim Jong Il. And there never was a believing Israelite one, other than the promised Messiah.

Her arguments in favor of such an institution are not convincing. For example, she cites Ecclesiasticus 50:17 as proof that the high priest was worshipped as the LORD:

"How glorious he [Simon] was, surrounded by the people, when he came from behind the temple curtain! He was like the morning star appearing through the clouds or the moon at the full. . .Instantly the people as one man fell on their faces to worship the Lord their God, the Almighty, the Most High." (Ecclesiasticus, 50:1-17).

This is like saying, 'The worship leader stepped up onto the platform, and waved his arms, and all the people praised God!' Yes, they did. They praised God, not that man up on the platform waving his arms. It may be they felt they were giving their praises to "the King eternal, immortal, invisible" (1 Timothy 1:17), not to the  man who was visible.

"‘They fell to the ground upon their faces, to worship their LORD, the Almighty Most High’ (Ben Sira 50.17). The text is not entirely clear, but it seems that the people worshipped the high priest, who for them ‘was’ the LORD, and if he was coming from the holy of holies – ‘the house of the veil’ – the occasion would have been the Day of Atonement. This is what a foreign visitor said he had seen in the temple, presumably looking down into the temple courts from the nearby citadel: ‘The Jews fall to the ground and worship as the high priest explains to them the commandments …’ because the high priest was for them an angel of God."

(Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 6784-6789). SPCK.)

The fact that the Jews fall to the ground and worship as the high priest is explaining the law does not mean they worship the high priest, nor that they think he is God.

In scripture, the time arrow points forward. The Old Testament gives us the type, the New supplies the antitype; the Old Testament is the New, veiled, the New Testament is the Old, revealed. The people of old time saw the promises, afar off, and expected their fulfillment, though it was not nigh: "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Hebrews 11:3). The only direction scripture itself assigns to the time arrow, is forward. The fulfillment is not in the past but in the future. We do not look back with yearning to a lost golden age, censored from the Bible, but to the coming of the Messiah:

  • “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
  • (Hebrews 8:6).

Margaret Barker's time arrow runs the other way. There was a golden age, the 'First Temple,' which had divine kingship down to perfection. Jesus' endeavors in this direction were an exercise in nostalgia; He wanted to be 'God' just like David and Solomon had been, no better, no worse. He wanted to revive an ancient institution, not start something new. Christians are not the people of the "better covenant," nor even of a new covenant, but the same old one instituted by Phineas:

"There must have been huge numbers of early Christians for whom the Last Supper was not about the new covenant, but about the covenant, and the question is: Which covenant?. . .The covenant of peace was therefore linked exclusively to the high priesthood, and entailed making atonement to repair any breach in the covenant which exposed the people to danger. This high priestly covenant must have been the covenant of the Last Supper, since it dealt with the putting away of sins. . ." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, pp. 33-35).

Christians by contrast believe the incarnation to be an utterly unique event, the hinge around which human history turns, not business as usual for the ancient Israelite kings. Is there a way we can resolve this dispute? Let's take Peter's approach. Noticing the Psalm 16 promised that the beloved king would not die, he asked whether that promise was in fact fulfilled in David:

  • “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;  You maintain my lot.
  • “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;  Yes, I have a good inheritance.
  • “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;  my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
  • “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
  • “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;  my flesh also will rest in hope.
  • “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,  nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
  • “You will show me the path of life;  in Your presence is fullness of joy;  at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
  • (Psalm 16:5-11).

Was that literally true of David, that he did not see corruption? Quite to the contrary, he is dead and in the tomb. God granted him a narrow escape this time and the next time, but ultimately he ended up locked in the embrace of the death angel, just like every other human being:

“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:29-32).

In other words, when we see extravagant promises in the psalms, we are entitled to ask, did this really come true for this person? If not, then it wasn't about him in the first place, but about another party: the coming Messiah. To her, David and his successors were no less God incarnate than is Jesus: "The Spirit of the LORD, that is, the Spirit that transformed the human into the LORD, spake within the king (2 Sam. 23.2; Psa. 2.7) and rested upon him to make him wise (Isa. 11.2). He received the Spirit of the LORD when he was anointed and enthroned and became the LORD. . .The Davidic king was 'God with us' in human form (Isa. 7.14)." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10652). Can we verify this claim experientially? Were David, Solomon, and their successors, the living God in the flesh?:

Let's try Peter's approach with Psalm 45:

“You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
“Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One,
With Your glory and Your majesty. . .
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Psalm 45:2-7).

The author of Hebrews uses this psalm to prove the deity of Jesus Christ. Of whom were these words spoken? Of whom were they ever actually true? In a weak, metaphorical, representational sense, these words might be said of Solomon. Perhaps David even hoped it was Solomon. But they were not fully, completely and literally fulfilled in Solomon. Therefore they are true of another: of the Messiah. It's a prophecy, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Margaret Barker has one foot in each of two worlds: the skeptical, reductive Bible study of the modern academy, and the church. The one scholarly discipline is based on the premise that prophecy is not possible. They go so far as to use fulfilled prophecy, or what might seem to be fulfilled prophecy, as a dating device. How do we know there are three Isaiah's? Because we know prophecy is impossible; therefore, 'prophetic' passages of scripture must have been written after the events to which they refer.

Isaiah Deuteronomy
Dividing Line Track Record
Copernican Revolution Joseph Atwill
70 A.D. Selection Bias

No theist has any reason to deny that prophecy is possible. And no believer in prophecy has ever denied a prophecy can have both a near and a far fulfillment; most of them do. But to those who start with the assumption that prophecy is not possible, any Old Testament text must of necessity have a single meaningful reference, that is, to its original context. And so ancient Israel must have had, just as its pagan neighbors did, the institution of divine kingship, or at least they did until the evidence was covered up and the text mutilated. All this, and child sacrifice too!

There are several unambiguous references in the psalms and elsewhere to the fact that the Messiah would be, not only the king of Israel, but also the God of Israel. These references, such as Psalm 45, convinced not only Jesus of Nazareth, but also Sabbatai Sevi in the seventeenth century, that if he was the Messiah as he believed, then he must also be God. While these references are real, and very important, using them as a lever to toss out the entire law and history of Israel is far from parsimonious. To give a comparable example, Isaiah says that the wolf will lay down with the lamb, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox." (Isaiah 11:6-7). If we insist that that had to have been present reality, which Isaiah could confirm every day when he left the house, then we must discard the histories, which know of no such set of circumstances, and also the law, because the food purity laws seem to assign a negative value to predation, and scavenging is even worse, implying that the predators of the day had not changed their ways. Isn't it more parsimonious to say that Isaiah was not talking about present circumstances, but about the future? That way we can conserve the law and the historical books. Of course, 'scholars' prefer to toss out as much as it is possible to toss out, because this is ultimately a consumer-driven activity; their constituency wants to see the guts of the Bible ripped out and laying on the floor.

There is no evidence that the several psalms which refer to the king as God were ever used in coronations, or that the people who read them thought they meant the present king must be God in the flesh, and that thus he was not under the law as Moses required. Nor does it follow that the histories which fail to notice any such institution as divine kingship are late, spurious and made-up. Understanding these psalms as prophecies of the Messiah is the most economical solution, because under this assumption everything can be retained. True, these people generally think prophecy is impossible, but common observation teaches us that 'talking about the future' is not only not impossible, but very common. If they want to assume that no one in ancient Israel ever did that, they will have to prove it.

Divine kingship is not necessarily a benign institution. In how many cases is it even believed? To say, 'the king is God sitting on the throne,' in most cases is not the kind of statement people make because they themselves think it is true, but rather the kind of statement they make because they would like you to think it's true. It's like the car dealer who enthuses, 'This baby has only 50,000 miles on the odometer! At least it does now, since I rolled it back.' Do you think it likely that the tomb robber who respectfully and patriotically refers to his victim as a "god" really thinks he was that?: "'We went to rob the tombs in accordance with our regular habit,' the culprit explained to his inquisitors, 'and we found the pyramid of King Sekhemre-shedtaui, the son of Re, Sebkemsaf, this being not at all like the pyramids and tombs of the nobles which we habitually went to rob. . .Then we broke through the rubble that we found at the mouth of his recess, and found this god lying at the back of his burial place.'" (Lost Worlds, Leonard Cottrell, Chapter IV, Kindle location 1141).

If they had actually thought this personage to be a god, would they have ventured to disturb his sleep? Perhaps they noticed this 'god' had, not an empty tomb, but one so richly furnished as to reward looting, and drew the relevant conclusions. When they say 'god,' do they mean no more than 'mighty ruler'? Probably not; prompted with the names of neighboring 'mighty rulers,' they mighty indignantly deny their deity. They know what a god is, they know you are supposed to think that Pharaoh is a god. . .but perhaps nobody really does think that.

Some people say 'the king is a divine being' because they think it will promote civic harmony. Plato in his Republic encourages the founders to make up stories, which the elite will know to be false, though the people are imagined gullible enough to believe them. What does rule by divine kings mean, in practice? It means that those citizens who petition their government to seek a redress of grievances, wanting to know why they are governed so incompetently, are not only rebels but blasphemers. The reality is, however, that if the king is not God, but a mere man who says that he is God, then he is a blasphemer. Moses' law does not encourage blasphemy, but makes it a capital crime. Divine kingship, in all cases save One, is not a godly institution.

When people walked into the throne room of ancient Israel, did they see God in the flesh? Did they see a party that could still the storm, heal the sick and give sight to the blind? No, they did not. So using Peter's methodology, we are entitled to say that Psalm 45 is not really about any ancient king of Israel, none of whom lived up to these awe-inspiring promises, but rather about the coming king, the Messiah, of whom they would be literally true. They are not backward-looking, but forward-looking.

It is setting the bar very low indeed for theosis, to say it is just a matter of reciting a little mumbo-jumbo at a coronation, drizzling out a little oil, and just like that, the king, that big, fat slob over there, is Jehovah, almighty God, seated on the throne. One must wonder why the salad is not wise, if it really works just this way. Certainly anointing oil is a legitimate symbol of the Holy Spirit, but where does this come from: "The oil which anointed the royal high priest and made him the LORD, the child of Wisdom, the Son of God, was perfumed oil from the tree of life. Wisdom was described by Ben Sira as the oil itself: a sweet perfume of myrrh, cinnamon and olive oil. . ." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 91).

"The oil from the tree of life opened one’s spiritual eyes. When the high priest was anointed, the oil was put on his eyelids. It changed the way everything was seen. In fact, the oil transformed and heightened all the senses. The anointed ones saw and heard differently, and so they thought differently. The anointed mind was transformed, and this became the characteristic temple world view." (Margaret Barker, Our Great High Priest. The Church as the New Temple, 2012).

It would be nattering to complain of formalism and externalism, the problem is far more fundamental. In her view, it's the oil which confers "eternal life:" "The anointing oil in the temple conferred eternal life and was the sacrament of resurrection/theosis; with John’s characteristic irony, he has Jesus tell Mary to keep the rest of it for his death." (Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 7872-7874)). But how could pouring oil on somebody's head, admittedly an important symbolic action conferring authority, and symbolizing not actualizing the descent of the Holy Spirit, confer "eternal life"? Her approach, to start, is reductive: when Isaiah sees the Lord lifted up in the temple, what could be simpler or clearer than that he sees a mere man sitting on a throne? Didn't you know the Holy of Holies was a throne room? Yeah, that's where the king sat himself down. Where else would a king station his royal behind, but on a throne?:

Now so far this venture is congruent with secular, academic Bible study, which normally takes a reductive approach. But here it gets weird. She is a believer, of sorts; she reportedly is a Methodist lay preacher. And so the reductive scheme has to actually work; the anointing oil must be able by its unique composition and virtue to transform a mere man into God. Lots of luck with that. It is altogether appropriate to demand proof that the advertised transformation, from man to God, not any 'little god' but Yahweh in the flesh, has actually occurred. When the man is a sinner, like the adulterer David, it has not.

She has immense faith in the power of ritual:

"The Son had been manifested in the royal high priests of the older temple cult. He would have been born as a normal human being, and so we have to ask how it was that the high priest became an angel, how he became divine. The answer must lie in the ritual performed in the holy of holies, where only the high priest was allowed to enter." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 56).

There is a "ritual" that can transform a human being into a god? Incidentally, the term "royal high priest" is an oxymoron, at least up to the time of the Hasmonaeans. There is One who is prophet, priest and king; it does not follow that all prior kings were priests, nor all priests kings. The Mosaic constitution for Israel provides for its own form of separation of church and state. Not separation of church and state as the Supreme Court would understand it, this was after all a theocracy, but in laying out the lines of jurisdiction, office-holders on the one side are segregated from office-holders on the other; there is a 'wall.' Notice, Joshua leads the commonwealth, but Eleazar is priest:

“And the Lord said to Moses: 'Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.” (Numbers 27:18-21).

To her this is simply not a positive value:

Horace Greely reportedly said, “It is impossible to enslave, mentally or socially, a Bible-reading people. The principles of the bible are the groundwork of human freedom.” (quote from GoodReads). But if she's right, then America was just a burp or a hiccup on the road to the divine right of kings, because we got it wrong. To Wellhausen's way of thinking, "[t]he Mosaic theocracy" could only be "the residuum of a ruined state" (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7609-7610). This is their theory: the only possible way to get separation of church and state is by the political ruin and submergence of the state into an empire, leaving the 'church' newly independent and autonomous, because stripped of its prior political control. As with much in this theory, the loose ends do not tie up, because they also claim the 'Deuteronomist' separated church and state, which happened before the state was "ruined." Thus, according to Margaret Barker, it was a new thing when king Uzziah was discouraged from offering incense:

"There are no details of this conflict, only that Uzziah wanted to burn incense in the temple and the priests would not allow it. In other words, Uzziah the Davidic king who was the LORD with his people (Immanuel, Isa. 8.8) was no longer allowed to be the high priest."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 6695-6696). SPCK.)

There is no reason to think the king was previously the high priest, other than that's how it works in her 'Temple Theology.' There are many instances like this, of valuable political and legislative features in Moses' law, which these people trample and kick out of the way because they see no value in them. At least that's how it got started. The German autocracy saw no worth in the separation of church and state. In the decade of the 1870's Otto von Bismarck, the Prime Minister of the Prussian state, launched the 'Kulturkampf,' designed to demonstrate that a totalitarian state was entirely competent to dictate in the field of religion as in all others. They imprisoned dissenting Roman Catholic priests just as did the French Revolution, which took a similar view of the matter: ". . .Bismarck inaugurated what liberals dubbed the 'struggle for culture,' a series of laws and police measures which aimed to bring the Catholic Church under the control of the Prussian state. The Catholic clergy refused to co-operate with laws requiring them to undergo training at state institutions and submit clerical appointments to state approval. Before long, those who contravened the new laws were being hounded by the police, arrested and sent to jail." (Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, p. 13).

'Liberal' in this context does not mean what it would mean elsewhere. In this context 'liberals' are people who want to see the totalitarian state magnified and individual civil liberties crushed. Continental authors will often use phrases familiar to American readers but in a signification almost the inverse of what we understand them to mean: religious toleration means the government will stamp out religions it dislikes, separation of church and state means the state controls the church, religious liberty means that the totalitarian regime will dictate to the citizen what he is to think, say and do at every moment of his life, including any religious commitment he is permitted to indulge.

There was a long-standing contradiction inherent in German Protestantism. Luther encouraged the people to read the Bible. The peasants did, and discovered something remarkable: the feudal system of land tenure under which they futilely labored, was not only not mandated or instituted by God's word, but was a criminal violation of Moses' law: 'joining field to field' and all that. Luther, who had encouraged the people to read the Bible, encouraged the German princes to crush the people who had done so. There was a glaring contradiction between this society and the society envisioned by Moses. So they invented 'pietism,' hoping religion could be made a private, altogether spiritual affair. Who was the king who wanted also to be high priest? Not David, not Solomon, Uzziah maybe, but more to the point, the Kaiser. Even he, though, gagged at the excesses of the Kulturkampf. To flatter him, this fantastic mythology of the 'sources' was invented.

May it be that some dissident inquirer peeked into the law of Moses and shared with his co-religionists, that's not what God's word says? But not to worry, the official liberal 'scholarly' establishment had ascertained that separation of church and state never occurs in a healthy state, only in a failed state. What a remarkable coincidence! I mean, who would expect that such an unlooked-for 'discovery' could be made just at the moment when it would benefit a powerful tyrant? So therefore, according to Wellhausen, the separation of church and state encoded in Moses' law must date to after the exile, when Israel had already lost her national sovereignty. Let's sputter with indignation that the histories are all 'faked' to make it seem it was this way all along, as when Samuel confronted Saul for offering sacrifice:

"Strictly speaking he did not find the occasion, Saul having observed the appointed time; but the opinion is present, though unexpressed, that the king was not entitled to sacrifice, either before the expiry of the seven days or at any time: his sacrificing is regarded as sacrilege. And thus the autonomous theocracy stands all at once before our eyes, which no one thought of before Ezekiel."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 4726-4728).)

If they saw any value in Moses' ordinances, like separation of church and state, and the fact that the king is subject to law, they would not toss them aside so cavalierly. Divine kingship, under fallible, mortal pretenders, is not a benign institution; none of us would consent to live under such a system. There is a failure of moral imagination at the heart of this enterprise. Margaret Barker weaves a world of make-believe which would have been dystopic if it had ever been real, which fortunately it was not. When these people tell you that institutions like the separation of church and state cannot possibly have been adopted until after Israel had lost political sovereignty, point out to them that the United States adopted such an arrangement after having forcibly secured political self-rule in the Revolutionary War. They will no doubt be astonished to discover this.

One need not be a Michael Jordan, to make a three-inch vertical jump. Is heaven really that close to earth? Where is the evidence these kings really ever were God walking upon the earth? Is it really that easy? Let's see them deliver the goods! David was an adulterer and murderer, Solomon multiplied wives and built shrines to foreign gods. These men were sinners, therefore they were not God. God's promises, whatever else can be said about them, are not patently false. There was a coming king, who would be God in the flesh: this is the Messiah, Christ Jesus. One of these things is not just like the others. A man who says he is god but is not is a blasphemer, a mortal king who elevates himself above the law is a tyrant, and a high priest who must ever make atonement for his own sins is ineffectual. Jesus is the true king, the true high priest, the true God. He is not a late-comer, one of a crowd, but the only One of whom these things ever were true.

Squeezing Jesus into the mold of a Near Eastern divine king leaves Margaret Barker unable to understand what John is saying in his gospel. This is not a case of a man who became God upon completion of a ritual, enabling him to exercise unrestrained power, just as had the ancient kings and high priests (two distinct categories, even amongst the pagans) before him; Jesus is not "the human who has become divine" (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 5539). Jesus talks about coming down from heaven:

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (John 3:13).

On its face this states that Jesus is unique; "no man" other than Himself has gone this route. In her system He's part of a crowd, jostling elbows on a packed conveyor belt:

"Since Jesus has already spoken of what he has seen and heard in heaven (3.31– 33), his ‘raising up’ in the temple sense must have been at the beginning of his public ministry. This was the merkavah ascent implied by the synoptic accounts of his baptism when the heavens opened."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 12056-12058). SPCK.)

"[M]ust have been:" why? To conform to her system, that's why. John has already shown in his prologue that Jesus pre-existed His incarnation. He explains how this can be: because He is God. She is not explicating John's view, but her own.

Pssst, want to know a secret?:

Seeing God Danger Zone
Moses Maimonides Baggage
Cosmogram The Illuminati

Lost Book

The Bible tells us about a book that was lost, but then was found:

  • “Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, “I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord.” And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. So Shaphan the scribe went to the king, bringing the king word, saying, “Your servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of those who do the work, who oversee the house of the Lord.” Then Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, “Hilkiah the priest has given me a book.” And Shaphan read it before the king.
  • “Now it happened, when the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, that he tore his clothes. Then the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Achbor the son of Michaiah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying, “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is aroused against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.””
  • (2 Kings 22:8-13).

Please notice, there is nothing in the text to suggest the lost book was the book of Deuteronomy specifically rather than entire law code of the Pentateuch. It is called the book of the law, no more, no less. Whether the histories of Genesis had also been lost cannot be made out from the language; perhaps even then they had a more popular character. However, commentators like Philo Judaeus and the Rabbis also speak of the 'law,' meaning the Pentateuch in its entirety. Wellhausen was obliged to invent the construct of the 'Hexateuch' to get around the obvious difficulty that the book of Joshua was, a.) pre-exilic, and b.) entirely dependent on the law of Moses. During the long dark age of Manasseh's apostasy, when the people sunk from monotheism into polytheism, even child sacrifice, the stories of Abraham and his willingness to leave his home may not have seemed so inspiring; what has a polytheist to do with Abraham?

Josiah is praised for his loyalty to the law as a whole: "And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him." (2 Kings 23:25). Even in Bible-believing circles, one often sees the 'lost book' identified as Deuteronomy. When you go back to the beginning to find out why, it is because certain people proposed a theory as to the sources of the Pentateuch back in the nineteenth century. It would work out nicely for their theory if this lost/found book was Deuteronomy, or rather a portion thereof, first drafted for the occasion they allege, and 'found' through priestly imposture. But the rest of us have no reason to be concerned about that.

Of those who go searching for the 'sources' of the Pentateuch, some 'find' several presumed earlier than king Josiah's 'discovery'/forgery of Deuteronomy, like the 'Jahvist,' and others later, like the post-exilic 'Priestly' source. This is by way of covering all possible bases; if someone comes up with an undeniable quote of Moses in the prophets, why then that's just exactly what they predicted! The bulk of the law, they think, is an imaginary fiction, a fable, embedded within an invented history which never happened. These people all have their own system, and exactly what hers is, she doesn't say. She speaks favorably of Wellhausen, who gives a date of 444 B.C. for the Mosaic code as we know it, "The Priestly Code, worked into the Pentateuch as the standard legislative element in it, became the definite "Mosaic law." As such it was published and introduced in the year 444 B.C., a century after the exile." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7317-7318).

The Pentateuch itself claims, not that it is a late forgery, but that Moses received the law on Mt. Sinai. Deuteronomy, the 'second law,' describes itself as a re-institution of the law, on the verge of the people's entering the land. For readers unwilling to entertain the accusation of deliberate forgery and imposture, the time sequence is straight-forward; Joshua read the Pentateuch aloud: "And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them." (Joshua 8:34-35). What are the "blessings and the cursings" if not those of the closing chapters of Deuteronomy? And Jesus confirms that Moses is the Deuteronomist.

The Lord Jesus endorses Mosaic authorship by quoting Deuteronomy as the word of Moses. "They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:7-8). The reference is to Deuteronomy 24:1. If Jesus thought that the 'Deuteronomist' was someone other than Moses, why does He say "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts," etc.? According to Margaret Barker, Jesus was referring to the 'Deuteronomist' with intentional opposition when he accused the Jews of slaying the prophets and then building their tombs:

"When he was in dispute with some experts in the law of Moses, he accused them of killing the prophets and building their tombs, a reference to the Deuteronomists and their heirs suppressing prophecy unless it had been fulfilled or was in accordance with the law of Moses (Deut. 18.15– 22)."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 1862-1864). SPCK.).

But to Jesus, Moses was the Deuteronomist! If Jesus is Jehovah as she realizes, why would He be mistaken on this point?

It is distressing that people who take the Bible's own ascription of authorship at face value can sometimes be flim-flammed into agreeing that 'scholars have concluded' the lost book was Deuteronomy. Even if they have one foot in each camp and imagine that, not only was the book of Deuteronomy freshly forged for this occasion, but the rest of the Pentateuch was interpolated and redacted to conform to the 'new teaching,' this as much as concedes it was the Pentateuch which was lost. How else could a new and improved version, of books claiming Mosaic authorship, be accepted, if there were sanctioned copies in existence and available to the people lacking the new material? Margaret Barker dates the existing Pentateuch as a whole after the Exile, but seems to believe the incident of the 'lost book' is historical (why accept that and little else?); she refers to the 'lost book' as 'Deuteronomy' and its villainous author as 'the Deuteronomist:'

"The most important result of Josiah's purge was the introduction of monotheism. . .The Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) was compiled from a variety of older sources after the destruction of the original temple, after the demise of the monarchy, and after Josiah's purge." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 7).

Though, to take these writings at face value, it was the last book of the Pentateuch to be written, in her dating, Deuteronomy, which she claims sparked Josiah's reform, is actually the earliest of the five books of the law. Or rather only the nucleus of that book; the oral read-out must have been very brief indeed! What is jarring about the whole scheme is that the over-riding structure of time in her system is the inverse of theirs. She cites Julius Wellhausen, who did not look back nostalgically to a lost Golden Age, but held to the opposite. The Hegelian scheme is that we go from primitive to advanced: onward and upward. Humanity is on a quest, guided and mentored by the kindly 'Spirit of the Age.' Why she is not consistent to her own beliefs, I can't say. Wellhausen's theory of 'sources' is whacky enough; though it derives from historical principles and assumptions she does not hold, she accepts it entire and grafts her own mythology onto it.

The approach of the nineteenth century German critics tended to be Hegelian, showing that all of history is an onward-and-upward process, the apex of which is achieved in the nineteenth century German professor. The reader must determinedly plow through purple prose about the 'spirit of the age:' "The element in which the prophets live is the storm of the world's history, which sweeps away human institutions; in which the rubbish of past generations with the houses built on it begins to shake, and that foundation alone remains firm, which needs no support but itself." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7185-7187). According to our founding genius Wellhausen, who invented (after Graf) this notion that the Mosaic law is a post-dated fake, Israel had no written law, excepting the short-form of Deuteronomy 'discovered' in the temple, until after the exile, but relied solely upon unwritten custom: "At all times, then, the sacrificial worship of Israel existed, and had great importance attached to it, but in the earlier period it rested upon custom, inherited from the fathers, in the post-exilian on the law of Jehovah, given through Moses." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 1192-1193).

Did the pagans have their Solon and Lycurgus? Israel had nothing beyond "usage and tradition:" "Ancient Israel was certainly not without God-given bases for the ordering of human life; only they were not fixed in writing." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7102-7103).) According to Diodorus Siculus, the defendant in an Egyptian courtroom found himself staring up at a judge propped up upon eight volumes spread before him: "The entire body of the laws was written down in eight volumes which lay before the judges, and the custom was that the accuser should present in writing the particulars of his complaint, namely, the charge, how the thing happened, and the amount of injury or damage done. . ." (Library of History, Book I, 75.6, Siculus, Diodorus. Complete Works of Diodorus Siculus (Delphi Ancient Classics Book 32) (Kindle Location 1623).) Ancient Egypt had eight law books, Israel had none? That's crazy. How are millions of people, living in cities, going to regulate their behavior based on 'custom'? The tabernacle was an imaginary structure modeled after the temple, not vice versa?

It goes on and on. Prior to the exile, the Hebrews never imagined there was any connection between their moral lapses and God's wrath, ". . .to Hebrew antiquity the wrath of God was something quite incalculable, its causes were never known, much less was it possible to enumerate beforehand those sins which kindled it and those which did not." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 1586-1588). Think that prospect was terrifying? No, the simple people danced in the streets: "The ancient offerings were wholly of a joyous nature,— a merrymaking before Jehovah with music and song, timbrels, flutes, and stringed instruments." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Location 1593). This stuff is nuts.

By comparing Josiah's reform with earlier religious reforms, like those of kings Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat, we can verify the Pentateuch existed, in toto, prior to this discovery. To readers who are willing to credit more than one incident plucked out from an imagined mass of fabrications, the 'lost book,'— how would we ever know there was a 'lost book' had we not read it in the histories?— is plainly not a 'new book.' Under king Jehoshaphat, instructors fanned out across with Israel with book in hand: "So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people." (2 Chronicles 17:9). Now we know of course that never happened, because, "The impossibility of such a judiciary system in antiquity is clear from its presupposing the Book of the Law as its basis. . ." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 3501-3502). Is that circular enough for you? Let Athens have her Areopagus, and Rome its Twelve Tables; Israel can have no judges, because then she would have had a Law. This is nonsensical. Why would Israel be the only settled community in the region with walled cities that has no law?

When we look at religious reformers prior to Josiah, we see that they tore down the Asherim just like he did, even going back to the time of the judges; there was never any fond feeling between worshippers of God and devotees of Astarte. Cutting down and burning an Asherah pole was not a new thing with Josiah, Gideon did the same: "Now the same night it came about that the LORD said to him, 'Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.'" (Judges 6:25-26 NASB). To make the Israelite theocracy safe for 'The Lady,' they need to start making her groves out of flame-proof materials!

Jehoshaphat appointed judges: "And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again through the people from Beersheba to mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the LORD God of their fathers. And he set judges in the land throughout all the fenced cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment." (2 Chronicles 19:4-6). Why, if he never read, "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment." (Deuteronomy 16:18).

Following Jesus' attribution of authorship, we realize that Moses wrote the book of Deuteronomy, which does not then fit naturally into the villain role she assigns to it: "The Davidic kings used to ascend to heaven and sit on the throne, but Deuteronomy, as we have seen, rejected the idea of anyone going to heaven to bring down knowledge." (Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 2892-2893). SPCK.) In her morality tale, the people wearing the white hats are the 'First Temple' folks, the Deuteronomist is the villain who breaks up the party and tells people they cannot be gods, because there is only one God. Jesus is supposed to be on her side of this dispute. However Jesus, and the early Christians, display no animus against the Deuteronomist, whom they consider to be Moses.

She sees a sharp break: "The ethos of the pro-Moses tradition was very different from that of the sacral kings which Jesus restored." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology n John's Gospel, Kindle location 10181). It's true some of the early Christian authors, like the author of the letter of Barnabas and Justin Martyr, feel the need to explain Moses away, though for other reasons; but Jesus does not, and no contemporary evangelical Christians takes anything like that approach. To her way of thinking, it was the villainous Deuteronomist who first cultivated that poisoned plant, monotheism:

"This way of reading was not devised by the Christians following Jesus’ example; it is how the Hebrew Scriptures were originally written, before monotheism was imposed in some circles by Josiah’s purges and the work of the Deuteronomists. El and Yahweh then coalesced, and a new way of reading the Hebrew texts was introduced."

(Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 5465-5467). SPCK.)

Looking at events subsequent to the discovery of the lost book, it is apparent that it was the law, not just the book of Deuteronomy, which had been lost during the times of apostasy under Manasseh.  Josiah's religious reform included the celebration of the Passover, apparently a relative novelty, although we know the Passover was celebrated under king Hezekiah:

“Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.”
“Such a Passover surely had never been held since the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah.” (2 Kings 23:21-22).

The Passover is described in greatest detail in the book of Exodus. This observance would never have been omitted or abandoned if the only part of the law not at hand was Deuteronomy. People who do not first embrace Wellhausen's theory that the Mosaic law is an imaginary, back-dated law code must conclude the lost/found book is the Pentateuch. What happened under these apostate kings is shocking and appalling. The law was put aside, unread. How far and how fast a society can fall is alarming. No one could suppose that all of this information had been lost in the interim, some of it must have been embedded in custom, but the canonical written text of the law was not in the hand of the king. Finding the law was an occasion for joy, but also for sorrowful repentance, because they had not been observing it. Whether all of this material had been lost in the dark era of Manasseh's apostasy, or whether excerpts from these texts had been blended into their syncretistic, polytheistic worship cannot now be determined. What had not been forgotten, and left unobserved, was not the issue, but what had been.

Not that robbery or murder are likely to have been legal in the intervening period, but the syncretists of the day had taken from Jehovah what they liked, and taken from Baal, Astarte and their colleagues in the pantheon what they liked, arriving at a pleasing synthesis, and then put Moses' work away where no rabble-rousing fundamentalist could make it the basis of an accusation. We see the same thing in our day, when liberals, disliking what the Bible says about homosexuality, simply ignore it, though the possibility of suppressing the text no longer exists. Manasseh's reign was the triumph of liberalism. Since literacy cannot have been widespread at this time period, a copy of the law would not have weighed down everybody's coffee table in every private residence, even amongst the minority who had not bowed the knee to Baal. Once the canonical original was rediscovered, those faithful to Jehovah were aghast to learn they were not doing what they were supposed to do, and were doing what they were not supposed to do.

While it is not possible to prove that all 613 provisions of the law were in force prior to Josiah's religious reformation, much of Moses' legislation was certainly well understood prior to that time, including but not limited to the contents of Deuteronomy. Comparing the 'earlier' parts of the Bible, the Psalms, the prophets, and the histories, with the 'later' Mosaic law code, one finds remarkable convergences in the moral code and socio-economic legislation. But, to listen to these folks, there cannot be any causal nexus here, because we know a later forgery cannot pre-determine an earlier work. So when it turns out the Psalmist realizes it is wrong to charge interest, we must exclaim, what a coincidence!

"Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?. . . He who does not put out his money at usury, nor does he take a bribe against the innocent." (Psalm 15:1-5).

Because, wouldn't you know it, Moses said not to: "If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest." (Exodus 22:25). Many ancient polities regulated interest rates. How many of them forbade it altogether? Or to a brother, at any rate. "Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you." (Leviticus 25:26, Deuteronomy 23:19). Who is a brother? Good neighbor Philo thought, anybody who lives in the same country: "Therefore Moses forbids a man to lend on usury to his brother, meaning by the term brother not only him who is born of the same parents as one's self, but every one who is a fellow citizen or a fellow countryman, since it is not just to exact offspring from money, as a farmer does from his cattle." (Philo Judaeus, On the Virtues, XIV. (82).)

Ruth gleaned the fields after the harvesters had been through: “So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, 'Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.'” (Ruth 2:2). Yet nobody had ever heard of Leviticus 19:9, “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God,” because that had not yet been written.

King David burned the Philistines' idols:

"And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire." (1 Chronicles 14:12, 2 Samuel 5:21).

Jehu burned the Baals:

"And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them." (2 Kings 10:26).

How did they know to destroy the idols with fire? Was it from,

"But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. . .The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God." (Deuteronomy 7:5-25).

Fire purifies; but perhaps the correct procedure for disposing of an idol is to toss it in the garbage dump. But Deuteronomy 7:25 says to burn it, so burn it they did. The priests of Baal did not long survive their show-down with Elijah on Mount Carmel. How was it known that Israelites who follow strange gods are eligible for the death penalty? Could they have learned it from Deuteronomy 13:13 or Deuteronomy 17:2? Religious reformers prior to Josiah were aware of texts like Exodus 20:20: “He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.” These cannot have been novel understandings introduced by Josiah, when zealous men of God were already acting in accordance with them back in the time of the judges.

Many of the laws were not always observed, like the provisions against multiplying wives; that does not mean they were unknown. Laws are violated every day in every way in our own righteous nation, as well. Moses' legislation against necromancy was well understood. Otherwise, on what basis did Saul expel the mediums from the land?

"And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" (1 Samuel 28:9).

It is not self-evident that consulting mediums in hopes of establishing communication with the dead is an offense against monotheism. Many people who think of themselves as monotheists have patronized mediums; there was a craze in nineteenth century America and England for table-rapping. These people all had Bibles on the mantle at home, which read, in part,

"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 19:31).

"And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
"A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:6-7).

"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
"Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer." (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

So we know why Saul thought it was the right thing to do to expel these entrepreneurs from the land. We don't know why he then decided he needed to patronize somebody in that business, nor for that matter why James Pike, a bishop of the Episcopal church in the 1960's decided he needed to establish communications with his deceased son. But there is no good reason to think Moses' law did not exist prior to King Josiah. Here is the whole ball of wax:

  • “Other questions immediately present themselves. Why is Moses not a part of the religion of the pre-exile prophets? It has even been suggested that Moss is not mentioned in any genuinely pre-exilic writing. How can we have any picture of Israel's older ways when so much of the Old Testament has been edited and transmitted by the reforming Deuteronomists or those whom they had influenced?”
  • (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 13).

Is it true Moses is not mentioned in pre-exilic writing? Of course not; check out the books of Joshua and Judges. You do know how this is done, don't you, dear Reader? These people will date a reference like "For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam." (Micah 6:4) after the exile, though there is no objective reason for so dong. It's entirely circular. Post-dating the law to just before the time of the exile leaves the 'First Temple' period a blank slate, a fresh white-board on which she can sketch in her ideas, suggested by the mythology of pagan Ugarit. She suggests that Isaiah knew nothing of Moses:

"It is hard to find any indication in the early chapters of Isaiah, written in the eighth century BCE, that the prophet knew about Moses and the ten commandments." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 7).

So they say. Speaking of Amos, Elijah and Isaiah, Wellhausen says: "But their creed is not to be found in any book. It is barbarism, in dealing with such a phenomenon, to distort its physiognomy by introducing the law. It is a vain imagination to suppose that the prophets expounded and applied the law." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7197-7198). These men did not know the law. Or so they say. Isaiah (first Isaiah, if you please) fulminates against stealing and murder and adultery, so might he have had an inkling? The reader of course knows how this shady business operates; anything the prophets say which reflect awareness of Moses is a 'later interpolation.' The historical facts are not accepted as given; dates are the very data which are infinitely malleable. Did not Isaiah say, "To the law and to the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20)? Perhaps he meant the Code of Hammurabi. According to Margaret Barker, the ten commandments lay in the future: "In other words, the 'Moses' religion with the ten commandments and the Aaron priesthood did not finally replace the Abrahamic faith and the Melchizedek priesthood until just before the first temple was destroyed." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, pp. 6-7). Now some people have thought that adultery isn't really a big deal; the Roman author Ovid felt that way. The Spartans used to praise a clever thief. Isaiah, however, does not think much of thieves, murderers, harlots, or bribe-takers:

"How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water.  Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves;  everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them."

(Isaiah 1:21-23, Nelson, Thomas. Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV) (p. 663).)

Where did he learn those things are bad? There is a shared moral vocabulary between the prophets and the law, a consensus that certain things are pleasing to God, other things displeasing. Why does Hosea rail against evil-doers by saying, "By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed." (Hosea 4:2). The ten commandments had not yet been written? Then why that list? A Greek historian who wanted a thumb-nail list of vices might have concentrated on their lack of character traits useful in political and military ventures, or lack of self-control, intemperance, and so forth. There is a shared ethical language between prophet and people; Hosea does not need to explain why these things invite judgment.

How did that come about? May it be, the common consent of mankind. Because after all, anyone can criticize oppressing the fatherless and bribe-taking. Except lots of people don't. The prophets, following Moses, do: "In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow." (Ezekiel 22:7). Coincidence, no doubt. Let us look for something unusual. The prophets, including Isaiah, plainly count the first two commandments as binding. Worshipping Jehovah alone and avoiding idolatry are far from universal legislation amongst all human-kind. Nor do all economists count piling up possessions, i.e. covetousness, as undesirable; Adam Smith did not. This eighteenth century economist viewed opulent living amongst the rich and famous as beneficial to the poor, and many people today share his view. The prophets did not, because Moses did not. So in looking for something Isaiah specifically condemns which is a distinctive feature of Moses' law code, take your pick. How about joining field to field:

"Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" (Isaiah 5:8).

Joining field to field isn't even illegal in any of the fifty states. Under Moses' jubilee provisions, land reverted to the original possessor or his heirs at the jubilee: "In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession." (Leviticus 25:13). Moses did not call for communal land ownership, but for ownership by individual free-holders who were descendants of the original tribes. Land was in principle inalienable: "The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me." (Leviticus 25:23). Other states in antiquity, including Rome, likewise viewed the concentration of productive agricultural resources in the hands of a few, with the resultant pauperization of the country-side, as a public policy dilemma, though none addressed it in quite the same manner as Moses. Cicero, who generally tried to do the right thing as he saw it, argued successfully against a proposed land reform in Italy, preferring to see the state serve as an impartial referee to guarantee the lawful purchaser's possession of the land. Moses' law embodies a mandatory land reform every fifty, or forty-nine, years. If Isaiah did not know that Moses considered land inalienable, then on what basis does he condemn joining field to field? The same understanding still prevailed in the north, in Israel, as well, as shown in the case of Naboth's vineyard:

"And it affords happy evidence of what the legislation of the Pentateuch had secured for Israel, that even in the worst times an Ahab dared not, like a heathen monarch, lay hands on Naboth, nor force him to surrender the inheritance of his fathers."

(Edersheim, Alfred. Bible History: Old Testament: Books One Through Four (The Works of Alfred Edersheim Book 4) (Kindle Locations 14976-14977).

Or if not the Pentateuch, then from whence? Other nations in antiquity practiced spasmodic and occasional land reform, as did Rome, seizing land, compensated or uncompensated, from its existing owners and awarding it to others. One can share Cicero's concern that the involuntary seizure of land from its lawful owners without fair compensation hangs a cloud of uncertainty over all land tenure. Nor were these spasmodic land transfers based on any assumption that the land should by right be inalienable. If the new owners lack the right to alienate the land that the state has just given them, are they the owners at all? Moses' unique set of laws, establishing a right to ownership in the heirs of the original grantees, and restoring the original condition every fiftieth year, was never not the norm in antiquity. If Isaiah's concerns about large-scale commercial agribusiness did not come from Moses, then from whom? Another man by the same name, no doubt.

Solomon knew that God despises false weights: "Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight." (Proverbs 11:1); "Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work." (Proverbs 16:11). How did he know that?:

"You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord your God is giving you." (Deuteronomy 25:13-15).

In a similar vein is Leviticus 19:36. The prophets portray the wicked as desiring to defraud, "Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit. . ." (Amos 8:5); "Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales, and with the bag of deceitful weights?" (Micah 6:11). How did they know this? If Moses' law came first, then there is no need to explain why later writers saw no need to go through a process of casuistry to convince their readers that using false weights was unethical. If Moses' law came afterwards, which is Wellhausen's whimsical theory, then these facts are inexplicable. Where did the shared moral consensus come from, if there was no law?

If the ten commandments come first, then there is no mystery why false witness is so thoroughly despised:

"These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-19.)

"He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known." (Proverbs 10:9.)

"The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them." (Proverbs 11:3)

"He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit...The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy. There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight." (Proverbs 12:17-22.)

"A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame." (Proverbs 13:5).

"A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape...A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish." (Proverbs 19:5-9).

"The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death." (Proverbs 21:6).

"A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly." (Proverbs 21:28).

"A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow." (Proverbs 25:18).

"A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin." (Proverbs 26:28).

"You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man...For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee." (Psalm 5:6-10).

"They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?" (Psalm 12:2-4).

"LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." (Psalm 15:1-2).

"Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Psalm 32:2).

"He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not continue in my presence." (Psalm 101:7)

"Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" (John 1:47).

"The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords. Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee." (Psalm 55:21-23).

"Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper." (Psalm 120:2-4).

"And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" (Jeremiah 9:3-9).

"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity." (Isaiah 59:2-4).

"These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates: And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD." (Zechariah 8:16-17).

"And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." (Revelation 14:5).

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8).

"But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie." (Revelation 22:15).

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20).

"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness..." (Matthew 19:18).

"Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness." (Exodus 23:1).

The irony is, most people do not really see it this way. Though we don't lie as bad as the 'higher critics' used to do, like the pagan Romans, we admire stratagems in war; we praise Rahab for dissembling. On the other hand, the pagan Romans used to punish perjury by precipitation off the Tarpeian rock. The fact that the later Bible authors see no need to lay any foundation, either by saying 'Thus saith the Lord' or by arguing from analogy with accepted principles, requires no explanation if Moses came first.

How would we know that adultery is, not a private concern, but a crime and a serious moral failure, without a commandment?: "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent." (Proverbs 6:27-29). There's an element of parochialism in these theories; people like Wellhausen and Margaret Barker take a certain moral ecology for granted. If the task were to praise Hercules for his virtues, in recognition of which he ascended into heaven, could the ten commandments be the basis on which to make the case, realizing he violated all of them? He was a murderer, an adulterer, a liar and a thief. (It's not like he was a monotheist either. . .or that if he were, he'd be seeking promotion to deity!) To praise him properly, one must define 'virtue' differently: he was big and strong and brave, kind of like Goliath. Our paean to Hercules must start from a different moral landscape. The prophets start with Moses.

As the reader can see, these people insist upon something which just isn't so: "And as for the literature which has come down to us from the period of the Kings, it would puzzle the very best intentions to beat up so many as two or three unambiguous allusions to the Law. . ." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 243-244). Nothing could be more demonstrably false. After the Pentateuch was re-established, there were spasmodic efforts to enact it. When Jeremiah expects slaves to be freed, at the sabbatical year, just where exactly did he get that from?

"This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them: that every man should set free his male and female slave—a Hebrew man or woman—that no one should keep a Jewish brother in bondage. Now when all the princes and all the people, who had entered into the covenant, heard that everyone should set free his male and female slaves, that no one should keep them in bondage anymore, they obeyed and let them go. But afterward they changed their minds and made the male and female slaves return, whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves." (Jeremiah 34:8-11).

It's in Exodus 21:2, among other places: "If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing." Why this text was obeyed, even briefly, when it was not yet written, is unexplained. Although the Jubilee is not in Deuteronomy, if we must find freeing the slaves in that book, it's in Deuteronomy 15:12, "If your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you and serves you six years, then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you." Just as Mr. Lincoln did not get his Emancipation Proclamation in force without a certain amount of friction and social disruption, so here. Having freed the slaves, the people wondered, 'My goodness, now that the slaves are free, who's going to do all the work?' so they took them back. Rabbi Hillel, in his celebrated moderation, discovered that creditors disliked the provision of Moses' law whereby debts had to be forgiven every sabbatical year, and so he found ways to evade, indeed to nullify, this provision. No doubt some ancient Hillel, in Jeremiah's day, with all moderation, explained to the people why freeing the slaves did not require that they free any slaves. If Moses' law had been, not just read, but enacted, the prophets would not have thundered against the gulf between the rich and the poor, because it wouldn't have existed.

We often think our rights were gained by hard-fought victories like the Magna Carta. But long before then the concept of the rule of law and due process came down upon Sinai. Naboth knew he had rights; unfortunately the pagan Jezebel prevented his exercising them by having him murdered. In Margaret Barker's way of thinking, all that 'law' stuff is a later improvisation, and so she does not have to explain how divine kingship can co-exist with the rule of law. Nathan was able to rebuke David; who can rebuke God? Her political touchstone lies, not with any of the Levellers of Oliver Cromwell's day, but with the divine right of kings. During the 'First Temple' period, people danced in the streets when El Exigente smiled. Rights? What rights? When government is in the hands of the gods, such things are not spoken of.

The invalidation of Jehovah's high places in favor of centralized worship in the temple was already well understood, even if it was not an accomplished fact, before Josiah's time; Hezekiah did that,

“But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the Lord our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?”’ (2 Kings 18:22).

That doesn't mean it 'stuck' when Hezekiah did it, any more than when Josiah did. The people who first came up with the idea that the lost book was Deuteronomy, were people who imposed an evolutionary paradigm on the Bible evidence. In their minds, monotheism had to be late not early, because they themselves were monotheists and thus monotheism had to represent the apex of human development. And so the explicitly monotheist Deuteronomy had to be very late and non-Mosaic, because Moses was early. Moses was early so he must have been primitive, and polytheistic. A 'Moses' who is not those things is a manifest fake, an imposter! Taking the dates of these documents at face value, the observed progression, from 'fundamentalism' as the starting condition and 'liberalism' as the end point, just does not work for them because it does not comply with their theory. So what do you do when the data do not conform to your theory? Revamp the theory? No! Re-jigger the data, of course. The dates are precisely the malleable points; thus the law of Moses is post-exilic.

But this author's assumptions about the deep structure of time are quite different. Margaret Barker is not the first person to look back nostalgically to a Golden Age; the pagan poet Hesiod thought things had started out promisingly enough, and then slid downhill, from the Golden Age downward. Why she doesn't impose her own armature on scripture I don't know, that is all the evolutionists were ever doing, but she accepts their armature, forced and unnatural as it is, and adopts their findings as if they were some neutral discovery of research.

We are familiar with the religion of the Rabbis, which is all about the law, and even Philo quotes the Pentateuch almost exclusively, rarely the Psalms or prophets. It's difficult to imagine how you can 'do' Judaism without the law. But they weren't doing Judaism very well. Israel kept lapsing into apostasy, forging a syncretistic faith incorporating ancient Canaanite polytheism. They were passing their children through the fire! We seem to have come back in through the same revolving door, with Margaret Barker 'restoring' the faith of the First Temple through the liberal application of ancient Canaanite polytheist texts. One she has created an entire lost world, she gives us 'Jesus' as a restorationist, not an innovator, much less a revolutionary: "Matthew also makes this clear in his account of the last supper, where Jesus (re) news with his own blood the covenant for the putting away, aphesis, of sins, which was the high-priestly act on the Day of Atonement." (Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 10241-10243). SPCK.) In reality Jesus is doing something new, although prefigured, and what He taught: "Hear, O Israel. . ." isn't what she believes.

Julius Wellhausen

The inverted time scheme she uses, wherein the law of Moses is very late, post-exilic in the main, the "private property" of Ezra when first promulgated (Prolegomena, Kindle location 7329), was pioneered by nineteenth century German higher critic Julius Wellhausen. To this author, it was axiomatic that the date on which any portion of the law was uncovered or promulgated was also the date of first drafting:

"Just as it is in evidence that Deuteronomy became known in the year 621, and that it was unknown up to that date, so it is in evidence that the remaining Torah of the Pentateuch— for there is no doubt that the law of Ezra was the whole Pentateuch— became known in the year 444 and was unknown till then."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7378-7380).

How well has this material aged? Not very well. Is it likely a people would invent an altogether fictitious history for themselves, and then devote great energy and ingenuity to making it seem plausible to the gullible reader? Well, you know those Rabbis:

"It is not the case that the Jews had any profound respect for their ancient history; rather they condemned the whole earlier development, and allowed only the Mosaic time along with its Davidic reflex to stand; in other words, not history but the ideal. The theocratic ideal was from the exile onwards the centre of all thought and effort, and it annihilated the sense for objective truth, all regard and interest for the actual facts as they had been handed down. It is well known that there never have been more audacious history-makers than the Rabbins. But Chronicles affords evidence sufficient that this evil propensity goes back to a very early time, its root the dominating influence of the Law, being the root of Judaism itself."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 3027-3032).

To agree with this presentation, one must be willing to perceive a tendency within Judaism that wants to annihilate "the sense for objective truth." But what is remarkable about the Bible histories is their willingness to present the unvarnished truth, about the patriarchs, about David and Solomon, and certainly about the apostate kings. The Bible presentation is not idealized history. The fact that these people cannot work with the time-line as it presents itself, is no more than evidence that Hegelianism does not work well with actual history.

The way to play the game is to announce the rules: that only once the Mosaic law is obeyed fully and completely and by all, has it been codified. And when was that? The Maccabees did things differently, king Herod the Great did it his way, and since the destruction of the temple, nobody has been doing it at all. So the law of Moses has not yet been written. There, that was easy. The reality is that the prophets were very well aware of the Mosaic law. What keeps these people from seeing it is parochialism. They had never seen or heard of a system of ethics that proceeds on any other basis than the ten commandments, and so when the prophets proceed on that basis, this strikes them as nothing remarkable and so no evidence of literary dependence. The reader of Immanuel Kant's musings on ethics will recall that this luminary discovered that unaided reason alone produces a system of ethics indistinguishable from that commonly received in eighteenth century Prussia. This remarkable result did not strike these people as remarkable. Because their ethical system wasn't just Christian, but was a peculiar modification of Christianity in the interests of military efficiency, it strikes outsiders as improbable.

These nineteenth century German critics thought they were doing something immensely constructive is 'de-Judaizing' Christianity. In attacking the Old Testament's coherence and authenticity, they were excising a gangrenous limb. Time and again, in lieu of objective historical fact, they supply us with anti-semitic stereotypes. The guiding framework is that the Jews are evil and the Germans virtuous and good. Jesus' parable speak of farmers and fishermen; but didn't you know, dear Reader, that at the time the Jews were already a commercial, trading people? Yep, from the time of the Babylonian exile!:

"One might perhaps hazard the conjecture that if in the wilderness legislation of the Code there is no trace of agriculture being regarded as the basis of life, which it still is in Deuteronomy and even in the kernel of Leviticus xvii.-xxvi., this also is a proof that the Code belongs to a very recent rather than to a very early period, when agriculture was no longer rather than not yet. With the Babylonian captivity the Jews lost their fixed seats, and so became a trading people."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 2064-2068).

Well no, not really, but that's the guiding meme of European anti-semitism, which pits the virtuous son of the soil, the struggling farmer, against the evil Jewish money-lender. We fearlessly rewrite the Bible to conform to these new understandings. Who could object? Why, did you know, they were even the principals in the slave trade: "They were allowed to hold property in land, but showed no eagerness for it; leaving agriculture to the Germans, they devoted themselves to trade. The market was completely in their hands; as a specially lucrative branch of commerce they still carried on the traffic in slaves, which had engaged them even in ancient times." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 9733-9736). Whether he got that from a pamphlet put out by the Nation of Islam or thought it up himself, I couldn't say. Why people feel this needs to be taken seriously I don't know. Supposing that the law of Moses came first, the history thereafter, solves a multitude of problems and creates none; inverting the history does nothing but create otherwise non-existent problems. That's the normal progression with conspiracy theories.

Wellhausen deploys a negative evaluation of 'Judaism,' in contrast to the purported freshness and naturalness of ancient Israel:

"But even should it be conceded that a constitution could come into existence in ancient times which was so utterly out of relation to the peculiar life and temper of the people, the history of the ancient Israelites shows us nothing so distinctly as the uncommon freshness and naturalness of their impulses. . .Judaism, which realised the Mosaic constitution and carried it out logically, left no free scope for the individual; but in ancient Israel the divine right did not attach to the institution but was in the Creator Spirit, in individuals."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7425-7430).)

So we can see at a glance, can we not, that Judaism cannot have been the religion of ancient Israel? Either that, or we can see that Wellhausen was an anti-semite.

It should come as no surprise that this individual considered autocracy the normal political condition, as was the case in his own society. The original constitution of the people of God formed them into an amphictyony of self-governing tribes with a republican form of government under law. To Wellhausen, it's simply unthinkable that such a government should exist. No, everyone must have a real government, just like Prussia. Therefore it never did exist:

"So much only is clear, that the theocracy is arranged on quite a different footing from the kingdoms of this world, and that it amounts to a falling away into heathenism when the Israelites place a king at their head like other nations, and he keeps courtiers and ministers, officers and soldiers, horses and chariots. . .All the expenses are then naturally superfluous by which a people usually safeguards it own existence. That this view is unhistorical is self-evident; and that it contradicts the genuine tradition we have seen. The ancient Israelites did not build a church first of all: what they built first was a house to live in, and they rejoiced not a little when they got it happily roofed over (xi. 15). But we have still to add, in conclusion, that the idea here before us can only have arisen in an age which had no knowledge of Israel as a people and a state, and which had no experience of the real conditions of existence in these forms; in other words. It is the offspring of exilic or post-exilic Judaism."

(Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 4643-4648).)

And so we simply rewrite the Bible accordingly; it's silly putty after all. But wait. It's not a fantasy that the United States exists as a federal republic under a constitution. It's not even coincidence. In Oliver Cromwell's day, many in England, newly conversant with the Bible, looked with perplexity and alarm at their social institutions. How is feudalism possible when Moses outlawed joining lot to lot? How is monarchy possible when God told the Israelites that, in rejecting the republic, they were rejecting him as king?: "And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:7). So they killed the king. Not being intellectually dishonest, they did not find it possible to construe the Bible record as fantasy history. If history done Wellhausen's way proves beyond contention that there never was nor ever could be such a polity as the United States, is anything thereby proven other than the folly of paying attention to this man? According to him, it's just the other way around: the only Jehovah ever has been or ever will be king of any people, is via the divine right of kings: "This was the result of Israel's becoming a kingdom: the kingship of Jehovah, in that precise sense which we associate with it, is the religious expression of the fact of the foundation of the kingdom by Saul and David." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Locations 7462-7463).) We don't live under Prussian autocracy, in large measure because our founding fathers did not agree with that assertion. This is in germ Margaret Barker's 'First Temple' theology, the divine right of kings: "The representative of Jehovah is the human king." (Julius Wellhausen. Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Kindle Location 7491).) The divine right of kings is a once-popular European theory that, given the ambivalence of the actual Bible record, requires intense desire to find in the Bible.

Lorenzetti, Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

The Lady

There's a lady god, i.e., a goddess, in Margaret Barker's theological system. Her name is "Ashratah," of which the more familiar Biblical 'Asherah' is a corruption.

The 'Lady' does have a scripture underpinning, if not a positive one: "The Lady is a complex figure, perhaps because this way of thinking is so strange to us: the heavenly mother of the royal house who was also the genius of the city. She had many names: Wisdom, the Spirit, the Queen of Heaven, and the characteristic of the second temple was that she was no longer there." (Margaret Barker, Kind of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 4724). The Bible is not big on goddesses:

"'Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, "We are delivered to do all these abominations"? Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,' says the LORD....Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.  Do they provoke Me to anger?' says the LORD. 'Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?' Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place — on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground.  And it will burn and not be quenched.'" (Jeremiah 7:8-20).
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: 'You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, "We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her." You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!'...Behold, I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them." (Jeremiah 44:25-27).

It's good to know she is "no longer there"; why anyone would want to 'restore' her, from always-available pagan sources, is unclear. There's no doubt that goddess-worship was practiced by apostate Israel. As Margaret Barker points out, the Great Mother was a fixture of the religion of the ancient Canaanites and neighboring peoples. As evidence for the "Goddess," she offers,

"There are the tablets found at the site of ancient Ugarit (on the coast of Syria) which describe their great goddess Athirat, the same name as Asheratah. She was their Great Lady, the Virgin Mother of the seventy sons of the high god El (a god who was often depicted as a bull); she was a sun deity, she was the Lamp of the gods, the Bright One, and her symbol was a spindle." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 79).

Why would anyone wish to revive practices so clearly and harshly condemned in the word of God? In Jeremiah's condemnation, she doesn't hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, but only the bigoted villain, the 'Deuteronomist.' Religious reformers prior to Josiah had to deal with the "Goddess," along with the male cult prostitutes (why doesn't she like male cult prostitutes? In for a dime, in for a dollar.) It's not the first time goddess worship has been revived. Not only apostate Israel, but also Joseph Smith's followers in the nineteenth century, almost all of them raised in monotheistic confessions, decided that opening up the pantheon was the way to go.

Where might we look for, and find, 'The Lady' in the New Testament? One place is Revelation 12, the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet. This, according to Margaret Barker, shows us "Ashratah returning" in the person of Mary of Nazareth: "This was Ashratah returning, and in the vision she gave birth in the holy of holies to a male child who was taken up to the throne of God. . .Here was the mother of the LORD, the King, whom the Christians recognized in Mary." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 870). Was Mary "the Lady restored"? "As the mother of the Messiah, Mary herself would have had considerable status as the Lady restored, and John at this point became her next son, the custodian of her teaching." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 8798). To Margaret Barker's way of thinking, if you acclaim Mary's Son as Lord, as Christians do, then logically you have to make room in the pantheon for the Goddess, His Mother:

"The Queen of Heaven and her Son were Mary and her Son, and just as Jesus was proclaimed the LORD, the God of Israel, so Mary was depicted as the Great Lady, his Mother." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 83).

But watch out, the Lady has a "warrior spouse, the Logos," (Margret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10904). which seems a bit incestuous. The bashful Roman Catholics only make her the spouse of the Holy Spirit!:

It does strike the outside observer of the Roman Catholics' practice of venerating Mary that elements of pagan observance have crept into their worship, but this certainly had not already happened in the apostolic age. The Roman Catholics have been evolving new doctrine about Mary right into the modern era, having decided in 1950 that she was bodily assumed into heaven. Efforts to find Mary a role in Jewish gnostic polytheism are not entirely new. Jacob Frank, touted as the successor, or perhaps reincarnation, of Sabbatai Sevi, the Kabbalist Messiah, taught a 'trinity' whose third person was "She," "an amalgam of the Shekinah and the Virgin Mary." (Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews, p. 274). Whether Margaret Barker respects, or learns from, her predecessors, I couldn't say.

Another place to look for, and find, if you are so disposed, 'The Lady,' is John 8, where the Lord forgives the woman taken in adultery. This reminds Margaret Barker of another woman, long ago, who was taken outside the gate and burned,

"The woman accused of adultery recalled the Lady of the first temple who was brought to 'the door of her Father's house.' She had been abused and betrayed by her lovers, and then punished for what they had done to her — brought to the door of the temple, and then burned (2 Kings 23:6)." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 6218).

This would be none other than Asherah, reputed by apostate Israel to be Yahweh's consort. She is also the 'mother of the gods,' having propagated quite a few of them:

"And he [Josiah] brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people." (2 Kings 23:6 NASB).

In forgiving this poor woman, who can't help that she's a pagan goddess, Jesus was restoring her to her rightful place in the temple.

The Mormons are big fans of Margaret Barker, partly on account of 'The Lady,' an old friend:

"'More than than,' he said, 'you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in Heaven.'
"'Have I then a Mother n Heaven?' Zina asked.
"'You assuredly have,' said Joseph. 'How could a Father claim His title unless there were also a Mother to share that parenthood?'" (Saints: The Standard of Truth, LDS Church, Kindle location 7149).

They also like her stress on Melchizedek: "Jesus was presented as the high priest from the first temple; Melchizedek returned to his people. The restoration of he first temple was the hope of the first Christians. . ." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 1). These are a people with a sizeable gnostic heritage, who often seem oddly unaware or even touchy on the topic of their own patrimony. One member of the early Mormon community was a knowledgeable Kabbalist, who seems to have won Joseph Smith's ear as to what various Hebrew words 'really' mean. These gnostic teachings are embedded in the Doctrine and Covenants and other Latter Day Saints founding materials. However the mainstream of the contemporary church seems to want to move away from what its founders passed on and become just another evangelical Christian church. Others cling to the old ways, which include some hair-raising stuff:

  • “Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken—HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do.”
  • (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, Page 50-51).

The Kabbalah is Valentinian gnosis. It is polytheistic. Creation is not the good work of our Father God, but a cosmic catastrophe, an explosive industrial accident in which sparks of light somehow got imprisoned in this dark world of matter. Themes from this complex world-system have somehow or other got jumbled up into the thought world of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, with unpredictable results.

It is not surprising their heirs have seen a kindred spirit in Margaret Barker, who sometimes seems to be tending in the same direction. If you are going to define anything gnostic, anything vaguely polytheistic, as a reminiscence of the 'First Temple,' then you are going to find lots and lots of 'First Temple' stuff in the Kabbalah; and so she speaks of ". . .Kabbalah texts which preserve ancient temple tradition." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10628). Well, they preserve something for sure; though the Kabbalah is a product of medieval times, it does preserve an ancient outlook, but Valentinian's gnosis is more like it:

  • “Sammael was one of the three names for the proud Ruler who believed that he was the only God. This proud Ruler is recognizable as the LORD described by the Deuteronomists, who recognized none but himself and whose followers had lost their (spiritual) sight. Elsewhere his name is said to mean ‘the blind Ruler’, or ‘the Ruler of the blind’ . . .’”

  • (Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 9575-9578). SPCK.).

The Kabbalah

Joseph Smith God's Sex Life
Glorified Man Primal Man
Measure of the Body Bad Theology
Reincarnation Metatron
Sparks Adam-God
God the Sinner Tsaddik
Pot, Kettle In Practice

Philo Judaeus

One thing that is particularly painful about Margaret Barker is her habit of quoting Philo Judaeus, the Jewish philosopher who resided in Alexandria in the first century A.D. People who don't know any better might imagine, from her discussion, that Philo is a man who believed in many gods; after all, didn't he describe the Logos as a second God? This is grossly unfair to a man who was devoted to the Mosaic law and never intended to violate its injunctions in favor of monotheism, which isn't only in Deuteronomy by the way.

Certainly we know some people who give lip service to one communal shibboleth or another, claiming to believe things they really do not believe, just to keep the peace. Was this the case with Philo? He undoubtedly did give at least lip service to the idea that there was only one God, repeatedly and often:

  • “By his account of the creation of the world of which we have spoken Moses teaches us among many other things five that are fairest and best of all.  Firstly that the Deity is and has been from eternity. This with a view to atheists, some of whom have hesitated and have been of two minds about His eternal existence, while the bolder sort have carried their audacity to the point of declaring that the Deity does not exist at all, but that it is a mere assertion of men obscuring the truth with myth and fiction.  Secondly, that God is one.  This with a view to the propounders of polytheism, who do not blush to transfer from earth to heaven mob-rule, that worst of evil polities.  Thirdly, as I have said already, that the world came into being.  This because of those who think that it is without beginning and eternal, who thus assign to God no superiority at all...
  • “"He that has begun by learning these things with his understanding rather than with his hearing, and has stamped on his soul impressions of truths so marvellous and priceless, both that God is and is from eternity, and that He that really IS is One, and that He has made the world and has made it one world, unique as Himself is unique, and that He ever exercises forethought for His creation, will lead a life of bliss and blessedness, because he has a character moulded by the truths that piety and holiness enforce.” (On the Creation, LXI. 170-172).

I really don't think this man deserves it. I think he found monotheism an exciting and meaningful concept and embraced it with unfeigned devotion. Because he is not a unitarian does not mean he is not a monotheist:

"Let us, therefore, fix deeply in ourselves this first commandment as the most sacred of all commandments, to think that there is but one God, the most highest, and to honor him alone; and let not the polytheistical doctrine ever even touch the ears of any man who is accustomed to seek for the truth, with purity and sincerity of heart; for those who are ministers and servants of the sun, and of the moon, and of all the host of heaven, or of it in all its integrity or of its principal parts, are in grievous error; (how can they fail to be, when they honor the subjects instead of the prince?) but still they sin less grievously than the others, who have fashioned stocks, and stones, and silver, and gold, and similar materials according to their own pleasure, making images, and statues, and all kinds of other things wrought by the hand; the workmanship in which, whether by statuary, or painter, or artisan, has done great injury to the life of man, having filled the whole habitable world." (On the Decalogue, XIV, 65).

Philo is not a grudging monotheist, he perceives himself as "the champion of Jewish monotheism," as Norman Bentwich points out:

"But it is often suggested that the Logos appears to Philo as a second God, subordinate, indeed, to the Supreme Being, but yet a separate personality. It is said, with truth, that he speaks of it as a person, now calling it king, priest, primal man, the first-born son of God, even the second God, and identifying it at other times with some personal being, Melchizedek or Moses, and apostrophizing it as man’s helper, guide, and advocate. . .If we take Philo literally, this certainly is the case. But let it be clearly understood, this interpretation not only involves Philo in inconsistency, but it utterly ruins and destroys his religious and philosophical system." (Norman Bentwich, Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria, Section V, Philo's Theology).

So what's going on here? Is this a case of self-delusion, where someone who is fat thinks he is thin? Or, to be fair to Philo, is this just a case of taking the evidence as you find it? Certainly rejecting his Bible insights as Christian interpolations is a highway to nowhere. The same Bible that demands monotheism also ascribes personal characteristics to him. Perhaps Philo just decided to let God worry about how it all fit together.

Justin Martyr's interlocutor Trypho challenges him to find evidence for "another God" in the Bible: “Answer me then, first, how you can show that there is another God besides the Maker of all things; and then you will show, [further], that He submitted to be born of the Virgin.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho). It would be nice to say that Justin reacts with horror, but he does not, in fact he repeats the phrase: “Then I replied, 'I shall attempt to persuade you, since you have understood the Scriptures, [of the truth] of what I say, that there is, and that there is said to be, another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things; who is also called an Angel, because He announces to men whatsoever the Maker of all things — above whom there is no other God — wishes to announce to them.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 56). He should have said, not "another God," but 'another who is God.' Since tritheism is a soul-destroying heresy, one should avoid formulations which ascribe multiplicity to the Godhead.

This author should take that point to heart. It may be that in the academic circles in which she travels, it is respectable to ascribe polytheism to ancient Israel but not trinitarianism, or perhaps she really is a polytheist, but she frequently makes statements which are polytheistic on their face.

Philo's insistence upon monotheism is not in any way unusual for a Jewish author of his time, even in the face of perplexing experiences: "For He has spoken with the congregation of Israel face to face, as a man might speak with his friend. Since light draws a man's attention, He has appeared to us as a consuming flame in heaven above, while on the earth He has stood upon the mountain to teach. Surely there is no God but Him, and no Rock like Him." (Moses Apocryphon, Dead Sea Scrolls, Michael Wise, Martin Abegg, Jr., and Edward Cook, p. 338). It is certainly true that the gnostics, who believed that the creation of this world was a mistake, a bungled job bobbled by a lesser god, counted 'many gods' in their pantheon. The church vetoed that teaching, but in the modern day many want to wrap back around the church's neck that albatross which they cast away back into the sea so many years ago.

Only Begotten

'Only-begotten,'monogenes,' is a problem, according to Margaret Barker:

"‘Only-begotten’ is also a problem, since Paul describes Jesus as ‘the Firstborn among many brethren’ (Rom. 8.29, my translation), and says that ‘all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God’ (Rom. 8.14)."

(Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 3718-3720). SPCK.)

'Only-begotten' is certainly a problem for her, because she makes Jesus, not an utterly unique figure in human history, the only One who walked among us who was God in the flesh, but one of a crowd of incarnate gods packing the throne room. Her solution to this self-imposed difficulty is similar to Ahmad Deedat's, who used to exclaim that God has "sons by the tons." Here is how she enumerates "the hierarchy of sons in the temple world-view:"

"God Most High was the Father of the angel sons of God, the firstborn of whom was Yahweh, usually rendered 'the LORD'. The human beings in whom Yahweh was present were the sons of Yahweh, even though that title is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures. . .The Davidic king was the son of the LORD. In his Passover discourse, Jesus speaks as this human son of Yahweh; and just as the Davidic king had spoken the words of the LORD (2 Sam. 23.1-2), so Jesus does not speak with his own authority but speaks as the LORD, who is a Son of God Most High." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 9312).

There's some merit to the enumeration of 'sons by the tons;' both Israel and the church are sons of God, but we are children by adoption; we are not 'only-begotten.' She explains that Isaac was called Abraham's only son, but of course he was not Abraham's only son, there was also Ishmael, as well as Keturah's children.

"‘Onlybegotten’, monogenēs, probably represented the Hebrew yāhidh, ‘only’, used to describe Isaac (Gen. 22.2, 12, 16), who was not in fact Abraham’s only son as there was also Ishmael. The Septuagint translated the word as ‘beloved’, agapētos, but Hebrews chose monogenēs (Heb. 11.17)."

(Barker, Margaret (2014-04-17). King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 3721-3723). SPCK.)

How many sons did Abraham have? We would count them all, because it is unfair to hold a child accountable for the circumstances of his birth which are beyond his control. But some people wouldn't. For example, under the law as it stood in Athens, back in the day, a man, a citizen, could register his male child as a citizen, if and only if the child's mother was also a citizen, not a foreigner nor a slave, and if she was married to him. So not all children are citizens and heirs. . .and those legal non-entities aren't necessarily called 'sons' either. That's harsh, and we don't do it that way; but they did. Philo lived in a Greek city, and he finds it meaningful to point out that Isaac was Abraham's legitimate son: ". . .they bestow on him a reward beyond his expectation, the birth of a legitimate son in a short time, making him a promise which is to be confirmed to him by one the most excellent of the three; for it would have been inconsistent with philosophy for them all to speak together at the same moment, but it was desirous for all the rest to assent while one spoke." (Philo Judaeus, On Abraham, Chapter XXII).

"A legitimate son is borne to the wise man by his wedded wife, a beloved and only son, very beautiful in his person, and very excellent in his disposition." (Philo Judaeus, On Abraham, Chapter XXXII).

"In the second place, after he had become the father of this his only legitimate son, he, from the moment of his birth, cherished towards him all the genuine feelings of affection, which exceeds all modest love, and all the ties of friendship which have ever been celebrated in the world." (Philo Judaeus, On Abraham, Chapter XXXV). He points out that Sarah is a citizen wife: "The same relation, then, that a mistress has to her handmaidens, or a wife, who is a citizen, to a concubine, that same relation has virtue, that is Sarah, to education, that is Hagar." (Philo Judaeus, Meeting for the Sake of Seeking Instruction, Chapter V). I don't know how you ascertain citizenship when dealing with a wandering tribe, but Philo thinks he knows, and he knows Sarah is a citizen wife, not Hagar. Philo refers to Jacob as Abraham's legitimate offspring:

“For thus, after a gentle travail, thou wilt bring forth a male child, by name Ishmael, corrected by divine admonitions; for Ishmael, being interpreted, means “the hearing of God;” and hearing is considered as entitled to only the second prize after seeing; but seeing is the inheritance of the legitimate and first-born son, Israel; for the name Israel, being interpreted, means 'seeing God.'” (Philo Judaeus, On Fugitives, Chapter XXXVIII).

None of these considerations are directly relevant to God and His children, but they do show that 'only-begotten' can be understood to mean 'only-begotten;' apparent exceptions and counter-examples are only apparent. "Since there was also Ishmael, Isaac was not literally Abraham's only son. . ." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 8828). Yes, as a matter of fact, he was Abraham's only son, not by our count, but by theirs.

Incidentally, first-born need not mean first of a sequence; the sacrificial law requires the firstborn both of man and beast, "Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine." (Exodus 13:2). Mary does not wait until the birth of her second child to make the temple offering: "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24). The mother might die, or never bear another child, and it would still be owing.

Notice the distinction the author of Hebrews makes:

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
"But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons." (Hebrews 12:6-8).

If sons, then not bastards; if bastards, then not sons. We don't set the dividing lines of these categories down in the same places, but people writing in Greek in the first century A.D., as far as one can judge from this limited sample, do not seem to have counted illegitimate male children as 'sons.'

So as far as what 'only-begotten' might mean, as for example when we read about Jepthath's daughter, "And Jephthae came to Massepha to his house; and behold, his daughter came forth to meet him with timbrels and dances; and she was his only child [μονογενης], he had not another son or daughter." (Judges 11:34 Brenton Septuagint), or in Luke,

"Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her." (Luke 7:12).

"For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him." (Luke 8:42).

"And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child." (Luke 9:38).

. . .it is by no means necessary to think these people had ten children, but they were especially fond of this one for some reason. 'Only-begotten' can mean 'only-begotten,' for sure. That doesn't work for her because she's got too many sons. And too many Yahwehs. And not only that, but Yahweh's got brothers! When you get right down to it the 'Deuteronomist' had some pretty good ideas, like 'Hear, O Israel. . .'

Moses, the Deuteronomist, expresses several different views of the visibility/non-visibility of God. Thus she concludes Exodus is "an anthology:" "The present form of Exodus is an anthology of beliefs about Moses from many periods and sources, for example that he spoke with the LORD face to face (Exod. 33.11), even though such a possibility is denied in the very next section: 'You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live' (Exod. 33.20)." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel, Kindle location 9312). Is Exodus a poorly-edited "anthology," or is there an Ariadne's thread entwining these things? To her, it is self-evident that, when Isaiah saw a king seated upon a throne in the temple, he was eye-balling a mere man sitting there, scratching his arm-pits, just like anybody else. Could it be any different?:

"One of the points at issue between the teaching of the first temple and the teaching of the second was ‘seeing God’. The older texts knew that people had seen the LORD: Isaiah saw the King, the LORD of Hosts (Isa. 6.5); Abraham built an altar where the LORD appeared to him (Gen. 12.7); Moses, the high priests and the 70 elders saw the God of Israel on Sinai (Exod. 24.9– 10). 44 But the pro-Moses reformers denied that the LORD was seen (Deut. 4.12), and their heirs were responsible for rereading the old calendar texts that had originally exhorted all the people of Israel to go to the temple three times a year to see the face of the LORD."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 4061-4067). SPCK.).

Are we justified in inferring different authors, indeed mutually hostile movements, in this phenomenon?:

Great Angel

God maintains a stable of created spirits to serve as His messengers and ambassadors. It is this job function, rather than any particular ontological status, which is what 'angel' fundamentally means. Particularly in the Pentateuch though sometimes also in other books of the Bible, the reader encounters an angel who is no created being, but rather the true and living God. To Philo, this theophanic angel was the Logos, the word of God; to the early church writers, He was the Son. For some reason or another, she wants Him to be the Holy Spirit:

"This gives not several mighty angels, but several appearances one after another of one mighty angel, the Angel of the LORD, whom John called the Paraclete."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 9606-9608). SPCK.)

Is it because the unlettered Arabian prophet thought the Holy Spirit was the angel Gabriel? But then we learn that "the Spirit" is "another name for the Lady"! (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10031). There's a reason for everything in this system, but don't look where you'd expect. She warns us that she is inducting us into a world "where one being had many names and many forms" (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 10643). No kidding. We learn that the "angel of the Lord" is "the Paraclete by another name" (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location10898). They used to say of LBJ, a conspiracy thinker, that he thought the shortest distance between two points was, not a straight line, but a tunnel. It may be that the shortest distance between two points is a short circuit.

All scripture is of the same authorship and inspiration; the Holy Spirit, not 'the Lady,' breathed it all, and so one cannot read it by inventing contradictions, such as a later 'Deuteronomist' who wanted to cover up the paradise of the 'First Temple,' where men could be gods. Why Eastern Orthodox people are comfortable having their practices bolstered by scholarship of an anti-monotheistic character, I couldn't say. Christians are accustomed to ignoring the kind of 'scholarship' that explains the phrase 'Son of man' is a circumlocution, an elaborate way of saying 'I;' they do not see why anyone should agree to ignore the elephant in the living room, of Daniel's vision. People cannot waste their time with empty, asinine and dismissive Bible interpretation like that. Unfortunately Christians do not ignore her, though they should. It is particularly distressing the way she takes good old ideas and runs them to ground:

The early church authors believed they had spied the Son in the Old Testament in the guise of the theophanic angel. Their interpretation is right on, and neither is it inherently subordinationist. It is, however, dangerous, which is why in time it was dropped. The danger lies along this route: God is surrounded by hosts, entire armies, of angels, myriads and myriads of them, who are created beings. The title 'angel,' which simply means 'messenger' and can be applied to human beings as well as heavenly spirits, can thus become the fulcrum of a devastating equivocation, as God the Son, uncreated, is pried out of His own ontological category into their alien tribe. With the Arians, this ended with a created 'Son;' with her, with proliferating ranks of 'Yahwehs' and 'Sons' and what have you, produced by a certain temple ritual of pouring oil onto their heads.

There are two ways of looking at the word 'angel,' functional or ontological. Either it is a job description: 'messenger,' or it is a category term that provides the natural home for an order of created beings: "Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. . .Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created." (Psalm 148:1-5). A created being is not God; God is not a creature, He is the creator of all. (Under her reversion to paganism, I suppose the correct designation would be 'procreated' or 'emanated.') Under her usage, these categories are permeable, not fixed and distinct. A human being can serve as a 'messenger,' and some human beings are thus referred to as 'angels.' But one is tasked to be a messenger, not 'transformed' into a messenger; in her usage, the ontological category creeps around and subsumes the functional one. Amongst the early church authors, Christ is understood to be the theophanic angel of the Lord; with her, He then becomes 'an' angel, indeed the "guardian angel" of Israel: "The Lord, the Firstborn of those sons, received Jacob as his lot, and so he became the guardian angel of Israel/Jacob (Deut. 32.8-9)." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 3670).

"In the Old Testament Yahweh himself is frequently called the Holy One or the Holy One of Israel, as he is in 1 Enoch 1.2 It would be very strange had this title not meant that he was regarded as the guardian angel of Israel, one of the sons of Elyon appointed to rule the nations." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 30).

These same early authors who first found Christ in the 'Angel of the Lord' theophanies would have been horrified by this development. They would not have responded to her insights with, 'Oh! You got it!' Her direction is not, as with Arius, to open the way for the worship of a 'second God' who is a created being, but rather to open the flood-gates to pure and unreconstructed polytheism. In her theogony, El Elyon (The Most High) mated with 'The Lady,' producing a litter of 70 angelic beings, of whom 'Yahweh' is one: "The angels were those heavenly beings who had formerly been the sons of Elyon, the kin of Yahweh the Holy One. . .Those who had not accepted the new monotheism had had no need to rename their patron angel." (Margaret Barker, The Great Angel, p. 70-71). They are 'begotten' not 'made,' you might say, in as thoroughly paganish a sense as to satisfy Joseph Smith and Mohammed ibn Abdallah. According to her, the heritage of Christianity runs through this unreconstructed paganism; Christians are numbered among the conservatives who would not accept the "new" monotheism. Is Jesus the Angel of the Lord? Yes! Is He 'an' angel? No! Are Satan and the winged lady on the Hallmark card His siblings? No!

Not Left Orphans

Jesus promises His followers that they will not be forsaken and deserted:

"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:18).

To what event is He referring? Evidently not the second coming. Rather, the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She uses this to identify Jesus as the Holy Spirit, not "another" comforter but the very same one:

"While he was still in the heavenly temple, Jesus the high priest gave John the seven letters. . . In other words, the heavenly high priest, who was the Spirit speaking to the churches, was the LORD: ‘I am the first and the last’ (Rev. 1.17; 2.8; 22.13), a title first found in Isaiah: ‘I am He, I am the first, and I am the last’ (Isa. 48.12b; also 44.6). Thus John, like Peter and the writer of Hebrews, knew the LORD as the heavenly high priest and the Righteous One, but John also calls him the Spirit and the Paraclete."

(Barker, Margaret. King of the Jews: Temple Theology in John's Gospel (Kindle Locations 10865-10870). SPCK.)

"But the Paraclete was the risen LORD returning to teach his disciples the meaning of what they had already seen and heard." (Margaret Barker, King of the Jews, Kindle location 13330). Simply identifying Jesus as the Holy Spirit is not quite right and is reminiscent of what 'Oneness' Pentecostals say on this point. Simple identification does not leave room for the relationship sketched in scripture, although it is certainly true that he who has the Holy Spirit has Jesus. It is difficult to ascertain exactly what she is asserting;— she claims John distinguishes between the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit;— even though, in John 14:26, the Paraclete is identified with the Holy Ghost: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26). The truth must allow for both a mutual relationship and union in the one God.

"Reading John's Gospel in this way — the Holy Spirit as the presence of the Lady, the Paraclete as the presence of her Son the LORD — aligns the Gospel with Revelation and reveals a sophistication in the early Christian world-view that was later lost." (Margaret Barker, the King of the Jews, Kindle location 10907).

Was it "lost," or was it one of the many things discovered by the author, that simply never was?:

I and He Another Comforter
Restoration of All Things Poured Out
Of Himself Who is Jesus' father?
Jesus anointed with Jesus Jesus filled with Jesus
Jesus saw Jesus Blasphemy
Orphans Intercessor

Authentic Islam

The Koran is an amazing book. It contains a little of this, a little of that. The Seven Sleepers are in there! If they existed, which they did not, they were Christians, and late in his career, Mohammed ibn Abdallah counted Christians as idolaters; nevertheless the Seven Sleepers are in there. Alexander the Great is in there, he's the 'two-horned.' One imagines someone came up to Mohammed having found an ancient coin in the sand, which depicted Alexander sporting two ram's horns, like they used to depict him, and asked Mohammed, who's that? Our all-seeing oracle could not fail to find an answer, or invent one. One looks in vain for any robust or vigorous editorial process; the editor is asleep at the switch, when he allows the tale of Jesus giving life to clay birds into a work which denies His divinity. It's a grab-bag, the editor has taken a vacuum cleaner approach, and just threw in whatever he had heard.

So where are we going to find our 'temple traditions,' after that mean old 'Deuteronomist' stamped them out? Not only did they chase 'The Lady' out of the temple, then they destroyed the evidence: ". . .the scrolls of the 'minim' (heretics) had to be burned even if they contained the sacred Name. This explains what happened to much of the evidence." (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology, p. 9). In true conspiracy theory style, we do not look to the evidence, because that is remarkable for its absence; rather we must 'reconstruct' the evidence, such as it would have existed, if it hadn't all been purposefully destroyed! This is hard to do. Where will we turn? To the Koran, of course:

  • “The Qur'an, too distinguished between the religion of Abraham and the religion of Moses: 'Do you say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes were Jews or Christians?' (2.140). . .Much of the ancient temple lore re-emerged in Islam; the traditional dimensions of the holy of holies are also those of the Ka'aba.”
  • (Margaret Barker, Temple Theology: An Introduction, p. 8).

I didn't know the dimensions of the Ka'aba were the same as the temple, that's interesting. But there is a meteorite in there, which the people kiss; if we ever want to revive rock worship, here's all the 'evidence' we will ever need, staring us in the face. But let's not revive rock worship.