The new Temple Studies Group met for their second symposium on Saturday, most appropriately at London's Temple Church. The subject of the day was "Temple Music". Here is the paper Margaret Barker gave at the symposium. Enjoy!
Margaret Barker on Temple Music
Music was an important element in temple worship, but it was also controversial.There was something about temple music that was not acceptable to those who changed the ways of the temple in the seventh century BCE, the time of King Josiah.Piecing together the other elements that were purged or discouraged, a picture emerges of the role of music in the temple which is consistent over many centuries, a role that passed into the Church. .
There are two accounts of the temple in the Old Testament, both compiled after the time of Josiah, and both drawing on ancient source material.One account, in the books of Samuel and Kings, was written by a group who based themselves on the characteristic teachings of Deuteronomy, a puritanical group who thought that both temple and monarchy were a departure from their people’s desert origins; and the other account, in the books of Chronicles-Ezra and Nehemiah, was written by a priestly group who favoured both monarchy and temple.
When the Deuteronomists described David bringing the ark to Jerusalem (2 Sam.6), they mentioned musicians in the procession - but no names were given - and said that the ark was set in its tent, David offered sacrifices and blessed the people, and there was a feast.The priestly account, however, (1 Chron.15-16) describes in detail a procession of named Levites singing, accompanied by named musicians playing cymbals, harps, and lyres, and by named priests blowing trumpets.Did they possess, centuries after the event, records of temple musicians?
I red with great joy that Marilynne Robinson was awarded the 2009 Orange Prize for Fiction in a ceremony yesterday evening at London's Royal Festival Hall (actually just a stone's throw from our offices!). This was for her new novel Home which revisits places and characters of her earlier novel Gilead.
Well, none of them was published by us, obviously, but I must admit that I cannot think of a novel from the past four of five years that I found so deeply moving and at the same time so unashamedly theological as "Gilead". Stanley Hauerwas has dubbed it the "first Barthian novel" as you can read in Ben Myers' fine review.
"Fi Glover, the broadcaster who chaired this year's judging panel, admitted the decision had been straightforward and unanimous. Home, Robinson's beautifully crafted exploration of family relationships and redemption, was the easy winner from the six shortlisted books, she said. "All of the judges brought a couple of books to the table which they thought were definitely the contenders and Home was in all of our choices. We were in agreement."
I was also intrigued by this passage:
"Readers were desperate for more but Robinson did not return to fiction for 24 years, winning a Pulitzer prize for Gilead five years ago. In between she wrote a polemical book about the British nuclear industry and a book of essays on such unfashionable subjects as theology and Calvinism."
We congratulate Robert D .Hughes III one being awarded the inaugural Poullart Libermann Award in Pneumatology for his book Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life.
The Poullart Libermann Award in Pneumatology honors the individual who has made the most significant scholarly contribution to the area of pneumatology in the preceding five year period. The award will be presented at the Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium where Hughes has also been asked to present a lecture on a theme from the book.
Beloved Dust takes a realistic and contemporary view of human being as entirely physical (dust) and then shows it immersed in three great tides of the Holy Spirit, the traditional threefold rhythm of conversion, transfiguration, and glory.
This is a guest post by Paddy Kearney, a long time confederate and friend of Archbishop Denis Hurley. His book Guardian of the Light is available in the US and will publish in the UK in June.
"Denis Eugene Hurley was undoubtedly the most significant Catholic leader in South Africa during the twentieth century. Appointed bishop one year before the National Party came to power in 1948, he retired as archbishop in 1992, two years before the Nationalists ceased to be the ruling party, when the country’s first democratically elected government came to power.
Hurley had a profound effect upon the Church’s struggle against apartheid and played a major role in the process of renewing the Catholic Church through the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965). Tall and impressive, he was an eloquent speaker, years ahead of his time not only in his views on South Africa’s racial problems, but also on the reforms needed in the Catholic Church. His outspoken views on taboo subjects such as birth control, married priests and the ordination of women are thought to have prevented his being chosen as a cardinal, though many thought him eminently qualified. As a young matriculant in the early 1930s, Hurley shared the typical racial prejudices of white people of the day. He was a solid supporter of the British Empire and thought Mahatma Gandhi was spoiling things by his opposition to British rule in India. Gradually his attitudes changed as he opened himself to new ideas and admitted the inadequacies of his earlier thinking. He was always a keen learner, even in old age. While studying for the priesthood in Rome, he was strongly attracted to the Church’s social teaching, though initially only in an academic and cerebral way.
The official Church was nervous of anything that smacked of activism or revolution; Hurley seemed to reflect that nervousness. In his first assignment as a curate at Durban’s Emmanuel Cathedral in the early 1940s, immediately after his priestly studies and return to South Africa, he was a cautious young man. Though excited by attending a meeting about the establishment of black trade unions, he accepted the advice of older priests that this was not the sort of thing in which a priest should involve himself.