Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Beginning and the End

Margaret Barker, at the end of the fifth chapter of her book The Gate of Heaven, says:
"Central to the myths was belief in the human manifestation of God. A human figure occupied the divine throne and came to bring judgment. The presence of the figure also brought renewed life and fertility. The human figure was probably once the king who was also the high priest. He was able to enter the holiest place of the throne, to the point beyond time and place from which all things could be seen and known; one wonders what was done by the earlier kings who went up to occupy that throne. Behind the letter to the Hebrews there seems to lie a belief that the high priest carried a substitute for his own life-blood. What picture of reality lay behind this ritual? Why was it necessary for the human manifestation of the divine to carry his life-blood into the holy place?"
As far as I know she has yet to answer the above questions. I haven't seen any indication that she is familiar with Girardian anthropology and mimetic theory. Her work is most interesting because it deals with the symbolic origins of Christianity. Her writing on the Day of Atonement and the rituals of the first temple is also most thought-provoking and informative.

She quotes the Gospel of Thomas:
The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said, "have you discovered, then, the beginning that you look for the end? For where the beginning is there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death." (Thomas 18)

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