And I saw no Temple in the City: The Biblical Suspicion of Imperial Architecture

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Date: 
Thursday, 1 August 1996

Catholic Agitator, August 1996.  2 pp.

At that time Mark wrote his gospel, the restoration of the great Second Judean Temple had recently been completed, a huge project begun almost a century earlier under the native tyrant, Herod the Great. This temple was a magnificent structure, considered one of the architectural wonders of the ancient Mediterranean world. Even the sophisticated and cosmopolitan Jewish historian Josephus wrote of it with awe: “The outward face of the Temple lacked nothing that would surprise men’s minds or eyes.”

It is, then, hardly surprising that Mark would portray Jesus’ disciples as cowering before this edifice. The Temple was, after all, bigger than life, the central architectural symbol of the nation. It dominated not only the people’s cosmology, but their politics and economics as well.

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by Ched Myers

All articles on this site were written by Ched Myers unless otherwise specified.