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A Day In The Temple by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

An accurate acquaintance with the sacrificial services and the Temple-rites at the time of Jesus Christ serves a double end. First it illustrates a considerable part of the New Testament history in a precise and striking manner. The Virgin Mother at her purification and the presentation of her First-Born, the Christ-child among the Rabbis, the Lord Jesus teaching in the Temple-courts, walking in Solomon’s porch, sitting in the treasury, disputing with the scribes and the chief priests on the Feast of Tabernacles and finally denouncing their greed and hypocrisy, are a few of the events which will assume a new meaning when viewed in the light of the daily Temple-life.

But beside its historical interest our study has also a dogmatic and hermeneutic value. “The end of the Law is Jesus Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth” writes St. Paul to the Romans. The exact knowledge of the Law, of which the daily sacrificial services form no small or unimportant part, will beget a deeper knowledge and more devoted love of its fulfillment, the sacred person of the Word Incarnate. For here we shall see plainly “that the way into the Holies was not yet made manifest, whilst the former tabernacle was yet standing.”

This is the twofold purpose of the present work and at the same time the apology for its manifold shortcomings. Whilst the ancient sources and the modern literature bearing on the subject, make this work possible, the remoteness of the former and the abundance of the latter render it extremely laborious and irksome. Without pretending to have overcome all difficulties on historical and topographical questions, or to have settled all discrepancies concerning the same points, we refer the reader to those authors whose works have been especially consulted. While thus furnishing every one with the means to acquire a more detailed information, the author expresses his own obligation for the manifold assistance he has derived from the able works of so many industrious students in Jewish and Biblical Antiquities.

The foremost place among the sources belongs to the Bible, especially the Books of Kings, Paralipomenon, Esdras and the Gospel of St. Luke. The Talmudic tracts Tamid, Middoth and Bechoroth too deserve special mention. In the measurements of the Temple, Middoth has been followed exclusively, while Tamid has been the final authority on the daily service. In questions of profane history, the works of Josephus have been used extensively.

Among later authors and works the following are especially entitled to the writer’s gratitude: Buxtorf, Lexicon Chaldaicum et Talmudicum; Kitto, Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature; Smith, Dictionary of the Bible; Keil, Handbuch der Biblischen Archäologie; Jahn, Biblical Archæology; Haneberg, Die religiösen Alterthümer der Bibel; De Hamme, La Terre Sainte; Stanley. Syria and Palestine; Publications of the Palestine Exploration Fund; Geikie, The Holy Land and the Bible; Schöttgen, Jesus der wahre Messias; Reuss, Geschichte der Schriften alten Testamentes; Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Zeiten; Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael; Sepp, Leben Jesu; Schürer, The Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ; Delitzsch, Jesus and Hillel; Farrar, Solomon, His Life and Times; Farrar, Seneca and St. Paul; Lémann, Valeur de l’Assemblée qui prononça la peine de mort contre Jésus Christ; Lightfoot, ministerium templi, quale erat tempore nostri servatoris; Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vorträge; Edersheim, The Temple, its ministry and services.

These names and works are not mentioned as if they were supposed to constitute a complete bibliography on the present topic—this may be found in almost every one of the most recent works—but merely to acknowledge that they have been used very extensively. Not as if all could be recommended indiscriminately to every reader; but the careful student who knows how to distinguish between fact and fancy, will find in them a fruitful source of information on the most recondite points of Biblical Antiquity.

While reading this book it must be kept in mind that all we really know of Samuel, so often mentioned in the course of the narrative, is taken from the Protevangelium of James according to which he ministered in Zachary’s place when the latter was afflicted with the miraculous dumbness. While therefore the general events supposed by and connected with the story are historical facts, the details of Samuel’s life are fiction. Finally, the author will consider his labor repaid a thousandfold if his production assists even one soul to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”








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