Hebrews and the Temple

Attitudes to the Temple in Second Temple Judaism and in Hebrews


In Hebrews and the Temple Philip Church argues that the silence of Hebrews concerning the temple does not mean that the author is not interested in the temple. He writes to encourage his readers to abandon their preoccupation with it and to follow Jesus to their eschatological goal. Following extensive discussions of attitudes to the temple in the literature of Second Temple Judaism, Church turns to Hebrews and argues that the temple is presented there as a symbolic foreshadowing of the eschatological dwelling of God with his people. Now that the eschatological moment has arrived with the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of God, preoccupation with the temple and its rituals must cease.
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Biographical Note

Philip Church, Ph.D. (2012), Otago University, is a Senior Research Fellow at Laidlaw College, Auckland, NZ. He has published articles in several edited books and in academic journals, including the Westminster Theological Journal and the Tyndale Bulletin.

Review Quotes

'This is a well-written and stimulating monograph with extensive footnotes, and it makes a very strong case for the centrality of the temple to the argument of the Hebrews (...) As a resource for texts concerning the temple in Judaism it is valuable, and as a discussion of the temple in Hebrews it is something that will need to be engaged with in the future. As such this is highly recommended.
- Steve Smith, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 40 (5)

'This is a magisterial and magnificent work of scholarship (...) a “must have” work for every scholar working on the Epistle to the Hebrews. (...) This monograph is a credit to the author and an outstanding example of current Kiwi biblical scholarship.'
- Peter Carell, Christchurch, Stimulus - The New Zealand Journal of Christian Thought and Practice, July 2018.

'(...) a superb study of attitudes towards the temple (...) anyone who is serious about interpreting this fascinating text will have to engage with Church's magisterial contribution.
- Harold W. Attridge, Yale Divinity School, Biblica 99.2 (2018)


Scholars interested in the literature of Second Temple Judaism, in the book of Hebrews and in temple symbolism, as well as academic libraries.