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The Temple and the Sacred in Ancient Christianity

C. Wilfred Griggs

Presented at

The 2022 Temple on Mount Zion Conference

Friday, November 4, 2022

Sponsored by The Interpreter Foundation, BYU College of Humanities, and BYU Religious Education


Virtually all ancient cultures had such sacred sites, such as groves, high places, springs, caves, and so forth. Shrines or temples were often erected on Temenoi or sacred lands (terrae sanctae), and the rituals and ceremonies performed in the temples were as restricted to authorized participants as were the sites. The names given to such rites was mysteries, a word which means to keep one’s mouth closed, or keep the material secret. The ancients were so faithful to that concept that we still do not know the details of Greek Mystery Religious rites, to give an example. The initiates were faithful to their oaths of secrecy.

It would be strange if Christianity did not have a temple tradition, and a study of available sources shows that such a tradition indeed existed. Our study of this subject will require meticulous research into all available sources.



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