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The Mother of the Lord: Volume 1: The Lady in the Temple Paperback – November 29, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This is a challenging and stimulating book for anyone interested in the origins of the Jewish religion and its relation to contemporary religious practises in the ancient near east. (Kirsty Anderson The Reader)

Barker's detailed arguments and analysis of her topic is nothing short of encyclopedic - she covers vast amounts of ground with insightful detail . . . I look forward to her second volume (Robin Jarrell, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA Journal of Theological Studies, vol. 65 2014-10-01)

Barker's work is impressive and the conclusions reached merit serious academic consideration, especially given the persisting fictive division between 'official' Josianic religion and Israelite 'folk' religion in a fair few strands of biblical scholarship. I look forward to the second volume. (Alan Hooker, University of Exeter, UK Theology)

Book Description

Margaret Barker traces the veneration of the Mother of the Lord back to the Old Testament and a female deity in the first temple in Jerusalem.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (November 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0567528154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0567528155
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've just read this book after systematically re-reading in order all of Barker's previous books, from The Older Testament through Temple Mysticism. Really, that's the best way to read her seminal work (no puns intended), and if you have the money and time I recommend it. As a second-best, if the subject of this book interests you, you should at least start with something a little less focused and more in the nature of an overview; consider her slim volume Temple Theology, or Temple Mysticism. Then read The Mother of the Lord.

Unfortunately, if you just pick up The Mother of the Lord with no preparation and no background, it may overwhelm or baffle you, or both. The nature of Barker's inquiries -- she attempts to reconstruct the mental world of the priests of the First Temple and thereby answer the question "what were the first Christians thinking?" -- leads her to range through the Dead Sea Scrolls, the gnostic writings, Rabbinical traditions, the Enochic corpus, and even into Muslim texts. She frequently corrects stiff, insensitive or even incorrect translations, and even goes so far as to propose changing letter orders where some of the Hebrew Bible's most confusing texts have been (deliberately?) re-written. This is dense stuff, and to jump right in at this book might be shoving a firehose into your mouth.

But the payoffs are immense. Barker finds that the response of those who became the first Christians to Jesus makes sense only when one understands that they were heirs to cast out, oppressed, underground traditions of the first temple priesthood, traditions in which Yahweh's great angel, the second power in heaven, Yahweh, was born as his own son, the Davidic king.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Margaret Barker is an ordained Methodist Minister in England. She got out from under the politically correct of the Universities by
pursuing her own studies and writing learned articles about them. Her life's work has been to illuminate the earthly work of Jesus Christ, and she uses old, alternative sources to do so. Reading between the lines, she has discovered the arguments between competing Jewish scriptural sources, and she has concluded that Jesus wanted nothing less than the restoration of the Temple Liturgy and practices of Solomon's Temple. In the process, she liberates Scriptural meaning. She is held in esteem by Eastern Orthodox prelates. In the social sphere, Mrs. Barker has contributed to a women's shelter for years. Read this beautiful book
to let new light shine in the Scriptures and your understanding of them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Profoundly insightful. Easier to read than previous works. Excellent footnotes and references. Original research that matters and rewrites the concept of where Christianity came from: Revealed from God.
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The Mother of the Lord is a truly awesome work of scholarship with over 300 references in each chapter and an impressive synthesis of ancient scripture and translation. Margaret Barker tells the story of how the Goddess was lost and removed from ancient Israel temple traditions and builds on her previous work in Temple Theology. I agree with another commenter that starting with Temple Theology before moving on to The Mother of the Lord is a good idea. Otherwise, its like jumping into the deep end not knowing how to swim. Don't miss the last chapter where Barker offers insight into the story of Genesis and the symbols of the Garden of Eden.

I am still looking for more information into the menorah in the temple. As I read I hoped that she would go into more detail later into the book but I was disappointed that was not included.

As always Barker does not discuss the implications of her research on various traditions today. She unapologetically presents her findings in as clear and linear a fashion as she can with extensive references to back up her assertions. She leaves the discussion of implications to adherents to various traditions. Her work is so groundbreaking that it deserves the consideration of believers across denominations and the areas she opens up for investigation promise to have a broad impact.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was referred to this book by a review by Dr. Zina Nibley Petersen (who was, admittedly, my favorite professor at Brigham Young University) published in "Interpreter," which is a journal of Mormon inquiry. (The review is available for purchase on Amazon, although the journal makes its articles available online as well. For hers, see: [...]

Baker's book, itself, is not a Mormon book, but it's easy to see how those of its persuasion--with their doctrinal assertion of a "Mother in Heaven" that gets bogged down in cultural heebie-jeebies--will find Baker's argument fascinating, or, at the very least provocative. Those sympathetic to its ideas may find the book's assertions an oasis, while those who would rather forget the doctrine as antiquated speculation, right along with other quaintly repugnant notions like polygamy, will point either to the faith of the author (decidedly NOT Mormon) or the hegemonic protestations of the more conservative academics against Baker's methodology--both of which are discussed in Dr. Petersen's review with greater acumen than I personally posses; biblical exegesis and orthography have almost never been among my strong suits (orthography in particular--me & spelling... My mother is peeing pants laughing somewhere.)

Like Dr Petersen, I don't know how Baker feels about having a Mormon fan-base. She's of a Protestant background, and I'm doubtful she ever intended to be the champion of Mormon causes. Likewise, those who read her should not expect to find a Mormon apologist, nor even words that are entirely comfortable--particularly to a lay audience unaccustomed to scholarly inquiry, however popular.
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