Early Christian discourse about the Temple engages with Judaism, or, according to another scholarly perspective, with early Christianity's own Jewishness. This discourse is laden with deep religious sentiments, both positive and negative. Most NT texts allude to the Temple at a time when the physical structure is no longer in existence, and yet the Temple remains significant and even central to the authors of Luke, Hebrews and Revelation. What aspects of the Temple and the sacrificial cult are relevant to NT authors? Why do they still engage with these issues when they are no longer practical? In what sense is the Temple cult rejected or replaced by early Christian religious innovations, and in what manner does the Temple theme serve as a continuation of Jewish tradition in the formation of early Christianity?
Introduction From: The Temple in Early Christianity: Experiencing the Sacred (Yale University Press, 2019).
By Eyal Regev
Director, The Helena and Paul Schulmann School for Basic Jewish Studies
Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology
Any discussion of this topic should take into consideration the observations found in Jesus and the Holy City: New Testament Perspectives on Jerusalem Paperback (1996) by Peter Walker, in which he observes that the speed in which the early church abandoned centering their faith on the Jerusalem temple is nothing short of amazing. They were able to decouple from the city and the temple because they believed that Jesus in himself was the fulfillment of the hope of Israel.