Review: The Temple

The Temple: Its Ministry and Services As They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ
by Alfred Edersheim

Jesus spent a lot of time in and around the Temple in Jerusalem, as did every practicing Jewish man of his time. What kind of rituals went on in the Temple? How did people approach the altar? Could they? What did it feel and smell like? And how do Jesus’s words reflect his time and the culture he preached to, as he talked about the Temple and showed he was what the Temple and all its ministries pointed to? Edersheim’s book takes deep scholarship of what the Temple was like at that time and applies it to Jesus. He spends chapters talking about the various festivals, how sacrifices were made, and whether or not the Last Supper really took place on the Passover or the night before. In the end, he gives all glory to God and thanksgiving for the Messiah who came to save the world from its sins.

I appreciated that from the first, Edersheim makes the book all about Jesus: “The Temple and its services form, so to speak, part of the life and work of Jesus Christ; part also of His teaching, and of that of His apostles. What connects itself so closely with Him must be of deepest interest” (5). This isn’t simply a dry academic exercise for Edersheim; it’s learning about his Savior, and sharing that knowledge. So the book is about Jesus even as it examines the Temple. (more…)