From the Temple to the Cross: An Exegetical Journey

Marie Noonan Sabin

in Reopening the Word

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195143591
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834600 | DOI:
From the Temple to the Cross: An Exegetical Journey

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Sabin reads the Temple‐cleansing scene in the framework of Maccabees, The Parable of the Fig Tree in the context of Genesis, and the Parable of the Vineyard in the context of the Prophets, seeing these linked episodes as a midrashic lexicon stressing the hope that the Temple would be restored. Reading Jesus's debates in the Temple in the framework of the four sons’ questions in an ancient Passover liturgy, she sees them serving to discriminate between the righteous and the unrighteous within Judaism, with Jesus himself in perfect agreement with the righteous Temple scribe. Sabin perceives the accusations that Jesus planned to destroy the Temple to be false, in keeping with a pattern evident in the Psalms, Lamentations, and the Wisdom of Solomon, all of which describe false witnesses who condemn God's righteous one through untruthful accusations. In conclusion, she discusses the rending of the sanctuary veil in Mark 15:38, suggesting that the verb Mark uses here – schizo – recalls Isaiah's prayer to God to take back his sanctuary (Isa 63), as well as the opening up of the heavens in Mark 1:10. Sabin argues that by means of these interweaving scriptural frameworks, Mark takes the reader on an exegetical journey that moves from cleansing the Temple of its profanation to the revelation of where God dwells – not in a majestic building but in human life and death, even death on a cross.

Keywords: cross; debates in the Temple; exegetical journey; false witness; Parable of the Fig Tree; Parable of the Vineyard; righteous scribe; sanctuary veil; Temple‐cleansing

Chapter.  18193 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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