Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 07:1 (Summer 2016)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

L. Michael Morales (ed.). Cult and Cosmos: Tilting toward a Temple-Centred Theology. Biblical Tools and Studies 18. Leuven: Peeters, 2014. xiv + 429 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978–9042930254. €78.00 (Hardback).

The cultic texts of the Hebrew Bible have received increased attention during the past three decades. One major avenue of research has been exploration of the literary, theological, and social links that tie together creation and cult. L. Michael Morales, in a doctoral dissertation completed under Gordon Wenham, made his own significant contribution to the field (subsequently published as The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus [Biblical Tools and Studies 15; Leuven: Peeters, 2012]). Now in this edited volume, Morales brings together twenty-four seminal publications that have shaped the wider discussion. The authors represented are, as Morales states, “major voices in one particular conversation taking place at the cultic studies banquet—that discussion pertaining, for the most part, to the interface between temple cult and cosmos” (p. 9). The explicit purpose of this volume, therefore, is to enable readers to better understand a vital aspect of ancient Israel’s (cultic) culture and literature (p. 1).

The articles, essays, and excerpts reprinted in Cult and Cosmos parade a veritable who’s who of Old Testament scholarship. The first section of the collection focuses on comparative studies. The six contributors here—William Albright, Eric Burrows, John Lundquist, Ronald Clements, Richard Clifford, and Lawrence Stager—demonstrate the temple ideology shared across the ancient Near East. Lundquist, for instance, argues for the presence of a common conceptual understanding of temple that transcended language, culture and political boundaries. He continues to outline a nineteen-point typology associated with ancient shrines (pp. 52–54). This wider cultural milieu forms a conceptual backdrop against which to compare and contrast the Israelite understanding of sacred space.

Part two is more closely concerned with the biblical texts. Each of the publications reproduced here examines connections between creation and cult either within the Pentateuch or across the Hebrew Bible more broadly. Examples include Peter Kearney’s exploration of intertextual connections between Exod 25–40 and Gen 1 (pp. 119–31), and Gordon Wenham’s frequently cited essay which makes a case for the utilization of sanctuary symbolism in the Garden of Eden narrative (pp. 161–66). Again, the caliber of the scholars represented is obvious. In addition to those just mentioned, contributors include Walter Vogels, Moshe Weinfe...

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