Updated Temple Studies Bibliography with 8500+ Items

If you have not previously seen the incredible Temple Studies Bibliography put together by Dan Bachman at the Utah-based Academy for Temple Studies, you should seriously take a moment to check it out now.

The Temple Studies Bibliography is incredibly, unfathomably extensive, with over 8,500 items, including some 460 PhD dissertations — all related to the topic of temples.

The bibliography is now located at a new (and very attractive) website: http://templebibliography.com.

I highly recommend taking a look (and, even better, conducting extensive research using this site).

You may also want to check out Dr Shon Hopkin’s helpful review of the bibliography: “How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place”: A Review of Daniel W. Bachman,

“A Temple Studies Bibliography”

Congratulations to Dan Bachman, Donald Parry, Stephen Ricks, John Welch, and others who worked hard to put this bibliography together.

Published in: on October 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Another Important New Book by Andrei Orlov, "The Atoning Dyad: The Two Goats of Yom Kippur in the Apocalypse of Abraham"

Prolific author Andrei A. Orlov, Professor of Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity at Marquette University, has completed another exciting new book that is to be published by the prestigious biblical studies publisher, Brill, in the near future. (See here for updates on publication status.)

I have to say that I am very excited about this book as it will cover, among other things, two very important topics.

First, it will analyze the development of the atonement rituals of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) that involved the two goats, the one “for YHWH” and the other, the scapegoat, “for Azazel.” Orlov will look at a number of Jewish and Christian texts, following the application of this ritual tradition of the two goats as it is interpreted over time in the form of written narratives, from the story of Cain and Abel to that of Barabbas and Jesus and beyond.

This material will certainly be of interest to those looking to better understand the concept of the Atonement in the Scriptures, including the rituals of the Jerusalem Temple and how these were understood to play out in history and in people’s lives.

The second point of interest, for me, is that of Orlov’s continued exploration of the early Jewish text known as The Apocalypse of Abraham (ApAb). Orlov has been able to glean so much intriguing material from this text in previous publications and this book promises new perspectives and insights. He looks, here, into the imagery presented in ApAb that seems to depict Azazel, the leading demonic being, as the scapegoat, the one that is taken off into the desert and thrown into the abyss, and Abraham as the goat “for YHWH,” the goat that is sacrificed on the Day of Atonement.

Again, this is powerful stuff for those wanting to understand how later Jews understood the mechanics of the atonement rituals of the temple. It is apparent (my thoughts without the benefit of being able to read Orlov’s full research here) that Abraham is being presented as both the sacrificial goat and also the high priest that takes the goat’s blood (which should likely be understood as the high priest’s own blood) into the temple (the text presents Abraham entering into heaven).


Two Great Scholars Speak to Interpreter Gathering

I had the opportunity to be at a gathering for the Interpreter online journal early in August where scholars Margaret Barker and Stephen Webb addressed the group in a Q&A format. It was an intriguing discussion. Margaret Barker, a Methodist scholar and founder of the Temple Study Group in England, has become a favorite among many Latter-day Saints for her exciting work on the temple, pre-exilic Israelite religion, and the connections between early Israelite temple worship and Christian theology. Stephen Webb may not currently be as familiar to Latter-day Saints, but he certainly should be. He has done a lot of research on Joseph Smith and, fortunately (I won’t say “surprisingly” because it shouldn’t be surprising that those who study the life and teachings of the Prophet come to admire him), really admires him.

The video is great and I highly recommend taking the time to watch it.

Important New Monograph by Andrei A. Orlov, "Divine Scapegoats"

Andrei A. Orlov, Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism (Albany: SUNY, 2015) 352 pages, ISBN13: 978-1-4384-5583-9

Divine Scapegoats is a wide-ranging exploration of the parallels between the heavenly and the demonic in early Jewish apocalyptical accounts. In these materials, antagonists often mirror features of angelic figures, and even those of the Deity himself, an inverse correspondence that implies a belief that the demonic realm is maintained by imitating divine reality. Andrei A. Orlov examines the sacerdotal, messianic, and creational aspects of this mimetic imagery, focusing primarily on two texts from the Slavonic pseudepigrapha: 2 Enoch and the Apocalypse of Abraham. These two works are part of a very special cluster of Jewish apocalyptic texts that exhibit features not only of the apocalyptic worldview but also of the symbolic universe of early Jewish mysticism. The Yom Kippur ritual in the Apocalypse of Abraham, the divine light and darkness of 2 Enoch, and the similarity of mimetic motifs to later developments in the Zohar are of particular importance in Orlov’s consideration.


Recent Resources, Books and Articles of Interest for Ancient Studies and Scripture 1/12/15

This is my second post (in what may become a regular series) of recent items (with links) I have been made aware of which may be of interest to those who are into Ancient Studies, Biblical Studies, Archaeology, Philosophy and related topics.


Hermeneutics of Biblical Theology, History of Religion and the Theological Substance of Two Testaments,” by Eckart Otto

New Reviews on Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Solomon in Chronicles and Ben Sira: A Study in Contrasts

“‘Biblical Studies: Fifty Years of a Multi-Discipline’, Currents 13:34-66,” by Philip Davies

“A Biblical Nota Bene on Philosophical Inquiry,” by Dru Johnson

“Jericho as Jubilee: Ritual Symbolism in the MT of Joshua 6, Draft Version,” by Raymond Van Leeuwen


Published in: on January 12, 2015 at 7:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Harold B. Lee Library Resources for Ancient Studies, Ancient Scripture and Philosophy

The BYU Harold B. Lee Library has some great study guides and links to resources that are very helpful for anyone pursuing Ancient Studies, Ancient Scripture, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, and other related topics.  If you have not seen these online study guides before, you should definitely check them out.  The BYU Library has all kinds of online resources that you may not be aware of.

HBLL Subject Librarian Ryan Combs has put together these resources in one place that you can find here:


Published in: on January 5, 2015 at 8:29 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Recent Resources, Books and Articles of Interest for Ancient Studies and Scripture

A list of recent items (with links) I have been made aware of which may be of interest to those who are into Ancient Studies, Biblical Studies, Archaeology and related topics.


Robert Hinckley, Adam, Aaron, and the Garden Sanctuary

Yona Sabar, The Book of Daniel in a Neo-Aramaic Translation

Clinton Chisholm, “The Bible, Scholars, and Scholarly Crap”

Dieter Roth, Chris Keith, Mark, Manuscripts and Monotheism: Essays in Honor of Larry W. Hurtado

Chris Mooney, “Science Explains Parting of Red Sea”

Benjamin Ivry, “Reconsidering Louis Ginzberg’s Legendary ‘Legends of the Jews'”

James Charlesworth, “Has Lost Gospel Been Found Proving Jesus Married Mary of Migdal?

R. Timothy McLay, The Temple in Text and Tradition: A Festschrift in Honour of Robert Hayward

Qumran/Second Temple Judaism:

Michael Stone, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: New Developments and Insights

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Revealed Literature in the Second Century B.C.E.: Jubilees, 1 Enoch, Qumran, and the (Pre)History of the Biblical Canon”

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Interrogating ‘Enochic Judaism’: 1 Enoch as Evidence for Intellectual History, Social Reality, and Literary Tradition”

Pieter B. Hartog, “Pesher as Commentary”

Annette Yoshiko Reed, “Heavenly Ascent, Angelic Descent, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 1 Enoch 6–16″

Andrei A. Orlov, Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism


Published in: on January 2, 2015 at 12:57 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Ancient Jewish Traditions Concerning Angels (Draft for Ensign)

I recently posted on Facebook regarding a small contribution that I made to December’s Ensign magazine.  I had been invited a number of months ago to contribute to an article on angels that has now been published in this issue as “Angels We Have Heard.” The section based on information I provided is “Angels in the Bible and Jewish Tradition” towards the end.

As I explained on Facebook, the small section that appears in the Ensign is actually just a small part of what I originally wrote in my first draft.  There were sections of this first draft that probably would have been too foreign or confusing in such a summarized format to have been helpful for most readers.  I am glad that at least some of the info I provided was found to be useful.

For those who expressed interest in seeing the whole draft, I am posting it here.


The 2014 Temple on Mt Zion Videos Are Here!!

For any of you who were not able to make it to the Temple on Mt Zion Conference held on October 25, 2014 at BYU, and have not yet seen these videos posted on the Interpreter website (they put them up earlier this week), here is the link to see them:


Here is the video of my own presentation.

If you saw the slides from the presentation, which I posted recently, you will see that I don’t get through even half of them. Oh well, a full, written version of my ideas will eventually be available in the published proceedings of the conference.

Published in: on November 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Temple on Mount Zion Conference Presentation (Slides)

The 2014 Temple on Mount Zion Conference in memory of Matthew Brown, held October 25th was an enormous success. It brought together many great minds who took various creative and insightful approaches to the topic of the ancient temple. I was very happy to be a part of it.  For those of you who could not make it, video recordings of the proceedings will soon be available on www.mormoninterpreter.com.

For those who were present and heard my presentation, you know that I only got to about half of my slides before I ran out of time.  I had a lot to say on this topic and tried to whittle down the presentation, but ended up not being able to get through it all. I apologize to all those who were interested in hearing me develop my thesis fully.  My hope is that the paper will be published in full in an upcoming publication of the conference proceedings.  For now, I am going to post here the full Power Point presentation so that anyone interested can at least see all of the slides that I had prepared to present.

If there is anything in the slides that does not make sense to you, please feel free to leave questions in the comments. Here are the slides (you can click on the “expand” icon in the bottom-right corner of the presentation to see it larger):