The ancient Jewish temple was not just a religious center--it was a totalizing institution, simultaneously seen as a place, a people, and a person. Many scholars maintain that it was the early Christians who entertained the notion that the temple had been re-established in both the person of Jesus and in the church.
Perrin, however, argues that the idea of Jesus as temple dates back to Christ himself and that he saw his following as the new temple movement, the social and confessional boundaries of which were marked off by allegiance to him. Perrin's extensive Introduction offers an overview of the gospel picture of who Jesus was: Paul's perspective in 1 Corinthians; the approaches of the New Quest of the historical Jesus and the Third Quest movement of the prophet; and the kingdom expectations of contemporary exegetes. And he sets forth the basis for the book's premise: that Jesus of Nazareth saw himself and his movement as those who both anticipated and embodied Yahweh's coming kingdom.
Chapter 1 discusses Jesus' call to be the new temple and its shared characteristics with his contemporaries--the Psalms of Solomon sect, the Qumran covenanters, and John the Baptist's following. Chapter 2 moves ahead to the time of Paul and the early church, and looks at how primitive Christianity situated itself in relation to the temple. Chapter 3 focuses on interpretations and implications of Jesus' "Cleansing of the Temple." Chapters 4-6 explore the distinctive economic, social, and spiritual aspects of Jesus' temple movement in counterpoint to the failed temple ministry of his opponents.
Chapters 7 and 8 examine Jesus' eschatological discourses (Mark 12 and 13), and his last supper with the disciples where he affirms his unique status as high priest of the temple movement. By viewing Jesus as temple, Perrin reveals an enriched understanding of his ministry, teachings, death, and resurrection, and effectively closes the historical gap between founder and movement, between "Jesus" and "Christ." Jesus the Temple takes scholars, students, teachers, and preachers on a dynamic journey of discovery, revealing an answer to the foundational question of faith: Who was Jesus?
This volume offers a fresh approach to the question, "Who was Jesus?" Integrating the findings of contemporary Jesus scholarship, Nicholas Perrin explains how Jesus saw himself and his movement as a reconstitution of the temple. By viewing Jesus as temple, Perrin reveals an enriched understanding of Jesus's self-knowledge, ministry, teachings, death, and resurrection and closes the gap between the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church.
Nicholas Perrin (PhD, Marquette University), former research assistant to N. T. Wright, is Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies and associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Thomas and Tatian: The Relationship between the Gospel of Thomas and the Diatessaron, Questioning Q (with Mark Goodacre), Thomas: The Other Gospel, and Lost in Transmission? What We Can Know about the Words of Jesus.