Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 July 2019
The purpose of this chapter is to utilise a more wide-ranging assessment of textual material, incorporating an approach from oral testimony, in order to understand the Evangelists’ understanding of Jesus’ attitude towards the Temple and its administration. The Gospels of Mark and John attest to the authenticity of the Temple incident, and also confirm that Jesus did speak openly about the destruction of the Temple. They also tally with reference to their Old Testament citations in that Jesus appears to be accusing the Temple authorities of corrupt behaviour. These New Testament texts have originated from oral versions that would have been in circulation much earlier than the written material, and therefore are strongly reminiscent of the words of Jesus. Jesus saw the Temple as a money-spinning enterprise operating at the expense of the poor, the intense commercialization obliterating any sense of a ‘house of prayer’. He viewed the rich landowners of the priesthood as a major cause of misery for the poor. Indeed his brother James carried on his ministry to the impoverished, and was remembered as vehemently denouncing the avarice and venality of the rich.