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The Temple in Early ChristianityExperiencing the Sacred$
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Eyal Regev and John Collins

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300197884

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300197884.001.0001

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Paul’s Letters: Temple Imagery as Religious Identity

Paul’s Letters: Temple Imagery as Religious Identity

(p.53) 2 Paul’s Letters: Temple Imagery as Religious Identity
The Temple in Early Christianity

Eyal Regev

Yale University Press

This chapter examines Paul's analogy of the Christian community as a Temple, and his referring to Christ as a sacrifice. Most scholars simply take it for granted that for Paul, the Church is the new Temple and that belief in Christ takes the place of the sacrificial cult in the Jerusalem Temple. Recently, however, there has been growing recognition of a more positive approach to the Temple cult in Paul's letters. According to this trend of thought, Paul does not aim to set apart his addressees from the Temple cult, and his use of the cultic metaphors is constructive. Some also argue that Paul uses cultic language because it offers a common idiom for Jews and Gentiles, since Paul's cultic language is not distinctively Jewish. He uses Temple imagery to illustrate God's acceptance of Jews and Gentiles alike—a sense of belonging to God.

Keywords:   Paul, Christian community, Temple, Christ, Church, sacrificial cult, Jerusalem Temple, Temple cult, cultic language, Temple imagery

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