I apologize for the dearth of good, solid posts recently. As we have been preparing for our move to Scotland, I haven’t had much time for blogging. I’ll be spending some time in Utah for the next few weeks and then we are off to the UK, so I probably won’t be very settled until the end of September (if then).

However, I did want to share with you a review I just read covering Margaret Barker’s excellent work, The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God. The review, by Benedict Thomas Viviano, O.P.,  was done for the Society of Biblical Literature’s Review of Biblical Literature. The review is well done, but I heartily disagree with most of what Fr. Viviano has to say.

It’s been a little while now since I had the pleasure of reading Mrs. Barker’s brilliant treatment of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, I remember it being one of her most powerful works — inspirational and enlightening — and I could accept and agree with most everything she said. She had some amazing insights into what happened to the ancient temple tradition and priesthood, including some great ideas concerning the Melchizedek Priesthood.  The Kingdom of Heaven that Christ so often mentioned was, according to Barker, a reference to the Holy of Holies of the ancient temple.

I think most of this, however, is lost on Fr. Viviano, who sees all of this as fanciful and certainly inaccurate. He attributes Barker’s conclusions not to a brilliant mind and ability to see the big picture, but to her “eccentricity.” If I had more time, I would love to pick apart his review for you, but I’ll just give you the link and see what you think. If any of you have read this book, please let me know how you feel about the review.  In Viviano’s defense, he comes from a completely different school of scriptural exegesis — I really wouldn’t expect him to understand someone as innovative (some might say “radical”) as Margaret Barker — she goes against everything he has ever learned.

You can read the review here: http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=6764


If you haven’t read The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God, I couldn’t recommend it more highly, despite this review.

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