Margaret Barker is a distinguished scholar in the field of Mariology and “Temple Theology.” Her DD was awarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and she was a president of the Society of Old Testament Studies. She is a recently retired Methodist lay preacher. Nevetheless, Barker has had the attention of clerics and scholars worldwide up into the present.

In recent times this includes Orthodox scholarship, as she gave a lecture at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary in 2012. This speech included content that taught against a literal incarnation (see pages 12-14), but despite this it has been made available on popular venues such as Ancient Faith Ministries. The Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate hosts other articles of her’s, “Paradise Lost” and “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?” (the latter article containing specific content critiqued here). While Orthodox scholars patronize her work, none have taken upon themselves to disown or refute it until fairly recently when Father John Boddecker wrote a critique endorsed by Vladika Luke of Syracuse (ROCOR).

To the contrary, her own research in the field of early Judaism and Christianity is required reading in many academic settings. To quote the OCA website, “She has received wide recognition for her fascinating scholarship, based on the premise that early Christian theology matured so quickly because it was a return to a far older faith.” This article will demonstrate that her research does nothing of the sort, but rather expounds upon a henotheistic view of Judaism and Christianity.

Barker is humble in evaluating her own research: “All Biblical scholarship is guesswork.” (Barker, “Mary & The Temple,” 2011) Due to all ancient historical inquiry relying upon a relatively little amount of documented evidence, the question would be how much guesswork. There is, of course, both legitimate and illegitimate guesswork among historians. An academic understands the difference between:

  • Having dots and connecting them into a picture that makes sense. Usually this is a picture people have recognized over centuries. Let’s call this the “traditional reconstruction” of historical evidence.
  • Having dots and connecting them into a picture that makes sense, but it is a different picture than that people have recognized over centuries. It might be a totally new picture. Let’s call this the “legitimate textually critical approach” to historical evidence.
  • Having dots, connecting them into something that does not make sense, because it barely resembles a picture. It may not be a picture at all, as it may intersect lines and in fact miss dots, move them, or ignore them entirely. Let’s call this “a disregard of the historical evidence.”

To put it simply, those who do the guesswork of the historian are somewhere within the “spectrum” of the three above bullet points. They represent different epistemic extremes within the approach of history. One is going to land somewhere between these bullet points. As it will be demonstrated, even while being as charitable as possible, an honest analysis of Barker’s work places her closest to the third bullet point.

In short, Barker’s historical analysis is fantastical, because it both ignores and doctors documented primary source material, posits and infers historical events that no primary source implies, and in so doing creates a historical picture that makes no sense given the data legitimate scholarship has to work with. For this reason, her work must be rejected specifically on historical grounds, let alone traditional theological ones. Academic integrity demands such a conclusion. Regrettably, there is no compelling historical or theological reason to place stock in her work on early Judaism and Christianity, despite her accolades and learning. The fact that Barker has gained any traction within certain Orthodox circles speaks both of a lack of academic rigor and traditional scrupulosity.

A Textual Critic’s Historical Review of “First Temple Judaism”

The history of Judaism according to tradition is not all that mysterious. The “Old Testament,” as it is popularly called, is one of the largest and most complete sets of documents pertaining to ancient religious practice in existence. If one accepts at face value that the documents are both reliable and consistent, then ancient Jewish religious practice followed a mode familiar to us: worship of one God, following of a religious Law, and constant conflict between syncretist apostates and faithful Jews throughout centuries until King Josiah’s reforms. Then came the Babylonian Captivity. After this captivity, many of the syncretist religious practices seemed to have been purged and the paying of lip-service, at the very least, to faithful Judaism proved to be the norm. In short, there was always a proto-orthodox Jewish norm.

However, most modern scholars do not accept the traditional view of Judaism uncritically. They posit that many of the sources that exist have been written and re-edited over centuries, demonstrating a more dynamic view of early Judaism. They would not be alone in this. Saint Irenaeus, for example, posited that:

…during the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar, the Scriptures had been corrupted, and when, after seventy years, the Jews had returned to their own land, then, in the times of Artaxerxes king of the Persians, inspired Esdras the priest, of the tribe of Levi, to recast all the words of the former prophets, and to re-establish with the people the Mosaic legislation.

(A.H., Book 3, Chap 21, Par 2)

Being that both scholars and saints agree that at least some of the Old Testament was reworked, the question then becomes how does one discern the nature of what was left in and what was removed?

While Irenaeus does not indicate to what degree the Scriptures were reconstituted by Esdras (Ezra), scholarship tends to view some books, such as 1 and 2 Chronicles, as compiled over the course of centuries with their final form in the second to third century BC. (Kirby 2013) This, not so coincidentally, tends to coincide with the approximate age of the Septuagint (LXX) and Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). Due to their substantial agreement, positing a date of composition for a Scripture after this point would be impossible.

If one were to accept the scholarly premise that substantial amounts of the Old Testament were written or substantially compiled after the reforms of King Josiah or the Babylonian captivity, the question is how would a historian discern what Jewish worship was like before either of these events? Historians do not need to simply trust “post-captivity” sources such as (allegedly) the Books of the Torah, Kings, Chronicles, Psalms, and etcetera. Mainstream scholars accept that the following books were both written and compiled before King Josiah’s reforms:

  • Amos (sometime before approximately 750 BC)
  • Hosea (approximately 750 BC)
  • Micah (approximately 730s BC)
  • Isaiah 1-36 (approximately 730s BC) (Kirby 2013)

The question therefore must be, are the preceding sources indicative of continuity with the post-captivity sources’ portrayals of First Temple Judaism (as the traditional view posts), or do they suggest a less-refined religion that must have been subsequently altered?

When one reviews these sources, it is not possible to infer any drastic alterations in mainstream Jewish practice between First and Second Temple Judaism that actually matter. In the subsequent review, all quotations provided from these sources are from the NRSV due to its common usage within academe.

Any cursory review of the preceding books brings out that during the First Temple Judaism epoch monotheism was strong and the worship of other gods, or lesser deities such as found in Canaanite henotheistic practices, was explicitly condemned. Admonishments against syncretism and idolatry are particularly numerous. Hosea appears to explicitly endorse monotheism vis a vis henotheism (“you shall know no God but Me; for there is no savior besides Me,” 13:4). Inconsistent with a polytheistic or henotheistic mindset in which lesser gods play roles in creation and natural events, Amos credits YHWH with the creation of the heavens and the Earth, as well as control over “the waters of the sea” and the rain. (5:8)

Of special note, especially considering Barker’s claims (which will soon be covered) that First Temple Judaism normatively included Astarte-worship prior to Josiah’s reforms, are the condemnations of goddess worship in the earliest Jewish sources. Amos contains a passage which states, “Those who swear by Ashimah of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘as the way of Beer-sheba lives’—they shall fall, and never rise again.” (8:14) The question is, who is “Ashima?” Scholars have identified that she was a foreign Syrian deity that was seen as identical with Astarte/Asharah. (Taylor 2012) (Hadley 2008) Astarte/Asharah is a deity which was condemned for being worshiped in the Temple in 2 Kings 23:4-7 and whose cult was supposedly began by King Solomon in his apostate years (2 Kings 23:13). In the words of Ann and Imel (1993), Ashima was “[a] mother goddess worshiped by the Aramaic-speaking Jews at Elephantine in ancient Egypt. She was one of Jehovah’s wives.” (321) Hence, Amos condemns the worship of any “consort” to YHWH, which reveals to historians a radical discontinuity between First Temple Judaism and Canaanite religions in which Baal had a consort.

Even though Jewish tradition admits that Astarte-worship had infiltrated the Temple and was even practiced by kings, “orthodox” First Temple Judaism appears to have disallowed it. Jeremiah condemns worship offered to “the queen of heaven” (7:18) even though it was a historical practice of “our ancestors, our kings and our officials…in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem.” (44:17) Inveighing against the idea that Jeremiah represented some sort of post-Josiah revisionism is not only Amos’ condemnation of Ashima-worship, but also Hosea’s cryptic condemnation of the practice. Hosea warns the goddess-worshipers that “the prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.” (4:5) Hence, from every single Jewish source that exists before Josiah’s reforms one can only find condemnations of polytheistic and henotheistic practices. From this, historians must conclude that goddess worship was not within the realm of established orthodoxy, but rather indicative of syncretism which was constantly condemned by religious authorities.

Not only was First Temple Judaism evidently strictly monotheistic, it also required adherence to a “Covenant” and “Law.” This is another crucial indication of continuity between First and Second Temple Judaism. The preceding is despite the fact that tradition records that during King Josiah’s reign, the Law was rediscovered (2 Kings 22:8-13). In any event, the Jews always had some notion of the Law either from oral tradition or some similar written code. Evidence of this is plentiful in the pre-Josiah sources. Amos complains that “they have rejected the Law of the Lord and have not kept his statutes.” (2:4) Hosea accuses the Jews that they “have forgotten the Law of your God” (4:6) and that “they have transgressed My covenant and rebelled against My Law.” (8:2) Isaiah concurs, writing that “the earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws.” (24:5)

From the preceding, one can conclude that the traditional view of the Judaism as recorded in the Old Testament is generally accurate. It has always been, for long as it has been documented, a monotheistic religion following a Mosaic Law (of some sort). Any claims of scholarship to the contrary are radically inconsistent with the scholarly consensus pertaining to the dating of the primary sources and what these sources actually state. Hence, the burden of proof for a contrarian on this point would be exceptionally high.

Barker’s View of “First Temple Judaism”

When assessing whether or not Barker’s research is consistent with both the primary sources and recent scholarship, it is important to summarize her interpretation of the origins of Jewish religion. In short, Barker’s belief is that before there were changes imposed upon First Temple Judaism during the reign of King Josiah, Judaism was a henotheistic religion. In short, the chief God was a Canaanite deity (El, El Elyon, etcetera), and created by him were several national gods—Israel’s particularly were YHWH and his consort, Astarte. Both of these deities were worshiped in the Temple, as well as the King himself, who through a sacrament in the same Temple was made a literal incarnation of YHWH on Earth (similar to Jesus Christ). Astarte’s presence was likewise literal, via a pillar that was in the Holy of Holies.

Now that Barker’s views have been summarized, it is necessary to flesh out from her research the preceding in her own words. Three specific sources of hers will be used for the sake of brevity. One is a lecture she gave in 2011 which had several notable clerics in attendance including his excellency Kallistos Ware. The second source is an article from 2010 on the Litany of Loreto. The third is her 2001 article “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found.” This source was chosen because it is employed as an English-language resource by the Moscow Patriarchate. The reason the former two sources were chosen in particular was because they represent her most recent peer-reviewed Mariological research, the 2011 speech coming off the heels of it.

As stated before, Barker clearly asserts that First Temple Judaism was henotheistic. According to Barker (2011), “El Elyon [God Most High]…was the Father of the guardian angels of the nations.” She asserts that, “The Lord [YHWH] was the firstborn” and “the god of Israel.” Barker (2011) distinguishes between El Elyon and YHWH, asserting that, “The distinction of God Most High and the Lord is usually overlooked when reading the Old Testament. Early Christians were careful to distinguish between the two.”

Barker’s imaginative treatment of the primary sources is endemic in all of her treatments of historical evidence. As one can see in the preceding, she does not present primary source evidence for the claim that El Elyon and YHWH are mutually exclusive. Instead, she fast-forwards centuries, citing that Irenaeus and Justin Martyr speak of Christophanies specifically in lieu of Theophanies. (Barker 2011) Furthermore, she references Luke 1:32 and 1:35, asserting that Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit the Son of “God Most High [sic].” (Barker 2011) While both of these evidences can be classified as anachronistic and interpretatively subjective, it should be noted that in any event the latter is technically inaccurate. Luke 1:32 does not use the name “God Most High,” but simply “the Son of the Highest.” As one shall see, inaccuracies pervade her research. It is quite telling that countering the traditional narrative appears to demand such a haphazard treatment of the evidence.

Back to the subject at hand, there is another deity in addition to YHWH according to Barker—his consort. Barker calls her by several names such as “Astarte,” “Wisdom,” “Miriam,” “Mary,” and “the Lady of the Temple.” Initially, “Wisdom had an honored place” within the First Jewish Temple. (Barker 2011) Then, “[e]verything associated with her was banished” by King Josiah. (Barker 2011) Elsewhere Barker (2001) describes in her article “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found” that:

Just before the temple was destroyed, there had been a massive purge of the religion of Judah and Jerusalem, usually described as King Josiah’s reform...What the refugees described as abandoning the Queen of Heaven, and Enoch [42] described as forsaking Wisdom must have been this purge by Josiah. What he had tried to destroy was the older religion of Jerusalem and Judah...[T]here had been a Lady in Jerusalem who had been rejected and returned to her place among the angels. She had been worshipped [sic] with wine and incense, and bread to represent her. She had protected the city and given prosperity, and she had given vision to the priests. She had been evicted from the temple by Josiah, and her cult probably involved the items removed in the purge or remembered as missing from the second temple: the item named the Asherah.

Yet, as it was shown in the previous section, this is inconsistent with the aforementioned prophets and the documents they have bequeathed posterity. Nevertheless, Barker infers evidence from an allegedly manipulated text, Deut 33:2: “He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand came a fiery [law] for them.”

How does Deut 33:2 qualify as evidence that would call into question the consensus of Jewish primary sources on First Temple Judaism? This, again, requires imagination. Barker (2011) asserts that if one does “a little tweak” (i.e. literally doctors) the Hebrew spelling of “firey,” one gets the word “Astarte” (the consort of Baal) being at the right hand of the YHWH. This argument is questionable. Astarte (עַשְׁתָּר֑וֹת) indeed ends with the same letters as the word “firey” (דָּ֖ת), but this would hardly be a “little” change to the Hebrew. To make the “tweak” requires the adding of several letters. Nonetheless, the passage does not make sense being read as “Astarte” anyway. This is due to the immediate context as presented in the very next verse, which maintains a poetic parallelism (between holy ones and God’s teaching):

The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran. With him were myriads of holy ones; at his right, a host of his own [lit. “a firey law for them” in the KJV; cf same verse in the LXX]. Indeed, O favorite among peoples, all his holy ones were in your charge; they marched at your heels, accepted direction from you.

(emphasis added, Deut 33:2-3)

One cannot help but reflect that Barker’s invocation of an alleged falsified passage, in which no manuscript tradition disagrees with the traditional reading, is insufficient to contradict explicit statements in the primary source material.

In any event, Barker maintains that Judaism was henotheistic and that this was only changed when King Josiah altered the original First Temple Judaism. Barker (2011) concocts this thesis on the heels of numerous assertions which seem to only have rhetorical backing:

The holy lady in the [First] Temple had been identified in many ways [by whom?] as ‘Holy Wisdom.’ The ‘Holy Wisdom’ is perhaps [i.e. one cannot be sure] a figure familiar [to whom?] the eastern tradition of the Church…In the First Temple she had been the mother of the anointed one [whom?], the mother of the messiah, but she was banished when King Josiah purged the Temple in 623 AD.

How is she sure this is what has occurred? According to Barker (2010), this can be discerned by “[p]iecing together various accounts and memories” and in so doing “it is clear that he [King Josiah] expelled a female divine figure and her cult and imposed Old Testament monotheism as we now understand it.” (emphasis added, 120) Similar to her earlier conjecture that Deut 33:2 contained such an “account,” the proofs put forward for this are mere exercises of the imagination. She often exaggerates the importance of an ambiguous text and misinterprets gendered language for the sake of her thesis.

One example of the preceding is Barker’s treatment of Ezek 10:20—”This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar; and I knew that they were cherubim.” She argues that “Ezekiel came from a First Temple priestly family, he described the throne as he knew it…he saw a female living being [in Ezek 10:20]…a lady leaving the temple.” (Barker 2011) She elsewhere explains “Ezekiel saw a bright cloud rising from the temple court as the Glory left (Ezek. 10.3–4), and he described a composite female figure.” (Barker, 2010, 118) She does not shy from quoting the passage elsewhere rendering the angel as “she”–“‘She is the Living One I saw beneath the God of Israel by the River Chebar’ (Ezek.10.20).” (Barker, 2001)

The actual passage says nothing of the sort, but rather speaks of a gender-masculine angel (i.e. Cherubim) with many faces (i.e. animals/creatures) on its face exiting the scene (Ezek 10:19-20). One knows the preceding is true because in Hebrew, as well as in the Greek, the word “Cherubim” is masculine. This does not prevent Barker (2011) from asserting that, “What Ezekiel saw was female form called the ‘Living One’ who could be honored with the plural form” because “God is a plural form in Hebrew, Elohim.” (Barker 2011)

First, Barker’s interpretation of Ezek 10 misrepresents the original languages. The disputed term in question is הַחַיָּ֗ה/ζῷόν/animal. Interlinears indicate the term “animal” is singular while the term Cherubim, in reference to the same being, is plural. Confusing matters, the Hebrew term for “animal” is feminine while Cherubim is masculine. Barker (2011) admits the Hebrew “can” be speaking of animals or an animal leaving the Temple, but she asserts that the creature is literally feminine. The question then is why Saint Jerome and the LXX used a gender-neutral noun (ζῷον) to translate the feminine Hebrew term הַחַיָּ֗ה? The answer to this is obvious.

Hebrew nouns only have a male or female gender. There is no gender neutral. Hence, הַחַיָּ֗ה is always used in reference to an animal despite its actual gender. This may seem strange, but language can be strange in its standard conventions. An example of this in English is a ship with a male name (the “Prince of Wales” of sinking the Bismark fame) is always referred to as a “she.” This is evidently not an English-only convention. For example, in reference to the animals that were on Noah’s Ark, which were clearly both male and female, the same feminine term הַחַיָּ֗ה is used (Gen 7:14, Gen 8:1, Gen 8:17, Gen 8:19).

Additionally, the significance that Barker attaches to Cherubim being a plural (allegedly meaning the “lady” is a god amongst several, because God in the term Elohim is plural) is also misplaced. The use of the plural for Cherubim when in reference to a singular “animal” is obviously in reference to this strange creature having attributes of both a singular and plural being. This is because while the Cherub is singular, its four faces are plural. The Apostle John understood this and put an interpretive spin on it, referencing Ezekiel’s Cherub with four faces as four separate angels (each with a different face) in Rev 4:7.

Returning back to the topic of gender, Barker’s presentation of First Temple Judaism elsewhere suffers from an inability (or a willful desire) to properly interpret Hebrew feminine words. Barker (2010) asserts that in Mal 4:2, “the Sun of righteousness (şedaqah, as in the Mirror of Righteousness) would…appear with healing in her wings (in Hebrew).” (emphasis added, 114) Barker (2011) takes this to mean that the Sun of Righteousness is Astarte in the First Temple: “Since the Hebrew noun ‘sun’ can have a masculine form,” she explains “this must have been an intended reference to a female figure.” (emphasis added, Barker, 2010, 114)

This grounds for confidence is misplaced. It should be noted that both the Vulgate (which preserves an early understanding of Hebrew) and Septuagint (Mal 3:20 LXX) translate the word “sun” in Mal 4:2 as masculine. Why? The Hebrew term “wings” and “righteousness,” regardless of the “gender” of what it belongs to, is always given the female gender in Hebrew. In Gen 1:21 MT, the term “every winged bird,” presumably birds of every gender, employs the feminine word “winged” as an adjective for the masculine words “every” and “bird.” The same is true of the word “righteous,” even when it applies to a man being righteous, such as in Gen 15:6 and 2 Sam 19:28. The terms in Hebrew are always feminine even when the subject of the sentence is masculine.

Hence, in the case pertaining to the word “sun” when it is given a female gender in Mal 4:2 MT, this is because the terms “righteousness” and “wings” are always feminine. While the LXX and Jerome seemingly “correct” the gender of the “wings” of the “Sun of Righteousness” (likely to make the prophetic element clearer, which is standard in the translation of prophetic works from Hebrew), the MT retains the standard convention of always referring to wings and righteousness in the feminine. After all, Hebrew usage demands this. It is not grounds for the interpretive leap Barker makes.

Barker’s treatment of the original languages in the preceding may be charitably described as a little fast and loose. There is no kind way to describe her occasional falsifications of primary sources in her discussion of First Temple Judaism. Her doctoring of the word “firey” into “Astarte” is only one such case. Perhaps the most egregious demonstration of this tendency in Barker’s work is her discussion of Is 57. In short, Isaiah allegedly accuses his enemies of “drawing near…in the Temple” to a “bright cloud.” This is a supposed euphemism for the Astarte in the Temple. In her Barker’s (2011) own words:

[In] third Isaiah [the writer] was condemning the corrupt priests of his time [when] in Is 57 he said that ‘you draw near,’ that’s a term for approaching the Holy of Holies, ‘sons of a sorceress’ [Is 57:3]…sorceress is written in the consonants…in the same way as the consonants for ‘bright cloud.’

This “bright cloud,” she explains, was the pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt. Elsewhere, Barker (2010) makes the same argument: “He [Isaiah] accused them of being the children of ‘a sorceress’. Why [was] that? Because in Hebrew, ‘sorceress’ is written in the same way as ‘cloud’, ‘nnh.’” (117)

As one can see, Barker both gives an atypical explanation of the verse and presumes a word, with a rendering that is commonly accepted by the Masoretic scribes, Vulgate, and LXX alike; should be both read and translated differently. This is all so she can infer that Astarte was worshiped in the Temple, something that the actual verse does not actually state as the Temple is not mentioned.

Ironically, the term “cloud” as used in Old Testament does not match the spelling of “sorceress” in Is 57:3, even if one simply maintains the consonants and does not infer the same vowels as the Masoretic scribes did. The spelling of sorceress in Is 57:3 in Hebrew is מְנָאֵ֖ף. “Pillar of cloud” is spelled הֶֽעָנָן֙ עַמּ֤וּד in Ex 13:22. For good measure, “pillar of fire” in the same verse is spelled הָאֵ֖שׁ וְעַמּ֥וּד. The literal term “bright cloud,” usually rendered “lightning,” is used only in the Books of Job (28:26 and 38:25) and Zechariah (10:1). Nevertheless, it too is spelled different in Hebrew: חֲזִיז. As one can see, the words contain different consonants from one another. Perhaps Barker can assert some vague similarity between “מְנָאֵ֖ף” and the word “cloud,” but the statement she is making is simply inaccurate.

For a peer-reviewed scholar, some of Barker’s inaccurate portrayals of First Temple Judaism are particularly shocking given her claims are so easily invalidated. For example, she alleges that, “The older texts in the Hebrew Scriptures, however, describe Yahweh as the Lord of Hosts — the same hosts [i.e. demigods] — so they were not always forbidden. After King Josiah this title was dropped.” (Barker 2010, 122) As one can see, Barker is claiming that First Temple Judaism was originally henotheistic, as evidenced by the title “Lord of Hosts” and that Josiah’s reforms removed this element. Yet, the title is found in several books which Barker and mainstream textual critics believe were written after the time of King Josiah. The following are a few examples:

  • [“Deutero”] Is 54:5
  • Jer 49:35
  • Hab 2:13
  • Hag 1:2
  • Zec 1:3
  • Mal 1:4
  • 1 Esd 9:46
  • James 5:4

One may try to make Barker’s argument and presume that some of these sources represent opposition to the malevolent “correcting scribes” whose existence she posits (as will be covered in this next section). Nevertheless, the fact that Jeremiah is considered an ally of the aforementioned scribes because he opposed the worship of the Queen of Heaven in Jer 44:15-19 (Barker 2010, 121) contradicts her narrative. If Jeremiah uses the term, but was pro-Josiah and anti-henotheist, it is untenable to posit that he maintained the title “Lord of Hosts” as some sort of not-so-silent opposition to the pro-Josiah-monotheists.

Barker’s presentation of First Temple Judaism sometimes simply has a lack of attention to detail. For example, Barker (2010) asserts that the Astarte in the First Temple was a “Tower” which thereby made her the literal “Holy of Holies.” (127) And so, Barker reasons that “Tower of the Flock” in Mic 4:8 was an appellation for Mary, even though the context demands that this is not a personification. Additionally, she asserts that several Scriptures (Is 21:18, Hab 2:1, and Is 5:2) state that the Tower was meant to be understood as a literal equivalent of the Holy of Holies. Yet, none of these Scriptures actually make this assertion. In fact, the Scriptures and early Judaism taught that the “Tower” was the whole Temple—not part of it. Nevertheless, Barker clings to the term “tower” as an interpretative keyword which is justification for her curious historical analysis.

In her attempt to drum up support for the notion that the Tower is the Holy of Holies, she cites Sukkah 3.15. The passage speaks of a “holy place” and states that “a tower…is the Temple” with “a winepress therein—that is, the altar.” (emphasis added) Obviously, the whole Temple complex is being described as a “Tower,” not the “Holy of Holies.” Barker also cites Assumption of Moses par 2-4 (“the court of His tabernacle and the tower of His sanctuary”) and 1 Enoch 89:73 (“named the high tower; and they began again to place a [defiled] table before the tower”). Both of these citations do not spell out Barker’s claim, the former being about the Temple and its surrounding area, and the latter seemingly having the Temple juxtaposed against some sort of “table” with “polluted” and impure offerings (likely a pagan temple). Barker puts forward historical interpretations with confidence, but her citations do not bear out her own conclusions.

This makes it hard to trust any of Barker’s analysis. Even details in passing of a trivial nature whose purpose is to lend credibility to her view of First Temple Judaism prove to be faulty. Combining the sort of interpretative methods critiqued beforehand, these claims are either unsubstantiated or rely upon changing what primary sources explicitly state so that one may infer a different meaning. The following are a few examples:

  • “There are Psalms that suggest that the crown prince was made king and the Lord by a birth ritual in the Holy of Holies,” but Barker (2011) does not cite a single Psalm that says anyone was anointed in the Holy of Holies.
  • In her treatment Ps 109 LXX/110 MT she adds the words “morning star” and “Miriam” to verse 3 (words that exist in no known manuscript). (Ibid.)
  • Moses’ sister Miriam allegedly, “was the remote ancestor of King David,” (Ibid.) despite the fact that David had no Levitical ancestors.

As one can see, Barker speaks from her memory and blunders with historical details at best. At worst, she is deliberately falsifying and inventing “facts.” Her research into First Temple Judaism leaves much to be desired. It is so unreliable it is entirely useless.

Barker’s View of “Second Temple Judaism”

Sadly, Barker’s treatment of Second Temple Judaism is no better. In fact, her treatment of this era seems to be even more egregious. Her theory of Second Temple Judaism, in her own words, can be summed up as follows: “The Second Temple was built around 520 BC” and it had “scribes…who were officially called ‘the correcting scribes.’” (emphasis added, Barker 2011) The scribes allegedly falsified all of Jewish history, thereby forcing scholars such as herself to act as detectives looking for clues in order to piece together what allegedly really happened.

This is an audacious claim. In her published work, she nowhere cites any document that gave any “official” name to the scribes nor demonstrates that they were tasked with falsifying the Jewish historical record—or even existed. Nevertheless, Barker (2011) continues to speculate that “they [the correcting scribes] were authorized [by whom?] to alter the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures.” They allegedly did this by “changing the metathesis of two letters” in one passage, “substituting letters” in another, or “impos[ing] a different way of voicing those consonants…a different way to read the words” (i.e. picking different vowels in Hebrew) throughout the Scriptures they were copying. The latter claim is both technically impossible and anachronistic, as written Hebrew vowels did not even exist until more than a 1,000 years after the alleged existence of the “correcting scribes.” Oral tradition preserved the Hebrew Scriptures’ vowels, not scribal (written) tradition. Nevertheless, “they were authorized [by whom?] to remove from the text anything the temple authorities of the time thought as blasphemous.” (Ibid.) There is no evidence for this whatsoever in any of the primary source material.

Presuming upon the preceding conspiracy theory, these scribes apparently failed to scrub all the damning evidence. Barker selectively points to renderings in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Barker 2010, 120) and Septuagint (Barker 2011) which appear to retain renderings supportive of her theory. In her own words, “When the Pentateuch was compiled in the second temple period, allusions to contemporary power struggles were encoded in the stories…thinly veiled account[s] of developments in the second temple period.” (Barker 2010, 125) She offers no citations to scholars that concur with her opinion, but rather asserts the preceding on her own authority by inferring typology consistent with her theories and altering the spelling of words so that the passages can change meaning in order to confirm her interpretations.

One example is Barker’s treatment of the prophecy in Is 7. She claims that:

The current Hebrew text has: ‘Ask a sign of the Lord thy God … behold the Virgin shall conceive’, but the Qumran Hebrew has ‘Ask a sign of the Mother of the Lord thy God … behold the Virgin shall conceive’ (Isa. 7.11, 14).”

(Barker 2010, 120)

However, this rendering may be brought into question by looking at the actual scroll itself, which is entirely accessible on the internet. (Flint 2020)

Is 7:11 in the Great Isaiah Scroll
The disputed Hebrew word that Barker renders as “Mother.”

Barker’s atypical reading is literally based upon messy handwriting in the Hebrew script and, admittedly, “tweaking a letter.” (Barker 2011) This is done by changing the word מעם (as seen above) to מאם. “Most” Dead Sea Scrolls “are written in the ‘square’” (i.e. modern) Hebrew “script.” (The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library 2020) One can clearly make out “מ.” The next two letters are clearly more difficult to discern. If one gives an honest try at perceiving what letters are there, the second letter more clearly looks more like ע that was written hastily than א. The third letter is impossible to discern and this shows that the translator is depending upon the MT to interpret the messy handwriting. One may suppose that a Paleo-Hebrew equivalent to “ם” (the letter “𐤌”) was used and part of ayin (ע) bled over at the bottom, giving it a Y shape. (Note that this is interesting textual evidence that the Great Isaiah Scroll was a deliberate update to an older Paleo-Hebrew scroll.) In any event, an honest scholar would have qualified her assertion and made clear that it is both unlikely and not the best explanation of the evidence at hand. Yet, Barker (2011) asserts “that is the only pre-Christian Hebrew we have of Isaiah chapter 7 and it’s quite clear [it says], ‘Ask a sign of the Mother of the Lord your God.’” (emphasis added) The difference between what Barker and what everyone else would consider “clear” is evidently vast.

The preceding can be forgiven as it is a dispute over handwriting. It is with trepidation that one would accuse an academic with dishonesty. However, there are instances in her treatment of Second Temple Judaism where Barker makes claims and employs citations in such a sense which would be extremely difficult to explain in any other way.

For example, Barker (2010) claims that Philo “was of high priestly descent and so probably knew the temple teachings about the holy of holies that were reserved to the high priesthood,” and so was privy to the (not so?) secret worship of the “Lady [Astarte] of the Temple.” (124) As evidence in favor of this, Barker asserts he allegedly taught “of a divine couple who were parents of the King” in On Drunkeness verse 30. The actual passage from Philo states:

[T]he Creator of the universe is also the father of his creation; and that the mother was the knowledge of the Creator with whom God uniting, not as a man unites, became the father of creation. And this knowledge having received the seed of God, when the day of her travail arrived, brought forth her only and well-beloved son, perceptible by the external senses, namely this world.

Philo continues in verse 31:

“God created me as the first of his works, and before the beginning of time did he establish me.” [Prov 8:22] For it was necessary that all the things which came under the head of the creation must be younger than the mother and nurse of the whole universe.

Barker’s synopsis is clearly contradicted by the text. There is no mention of a king. Rather, there is God the Father and the Logos (here personified as Wisdom in the feminine, consistent with Saint Athanasius’ and other rough contemporaries’ reading of Prov 8). The “son” is a euphemism for creation in a broad sense—not Jesus Christ being the “son” of God Most High and the Lady of the Temple, as she posits. In short, Philo is merely observing that God made creation through His Word. This is hardly a provocative statement.

Philo also allegedly taught in The Cherubim v. 49 that “God was the husband of Wisdom,” the significance of this being that Mary is a demigod who births Jesus for the Father. (Barker 2010, 124) Putting aside the fact that this introduces a radical discontinuity between Barker’s presentation of First Temple Judaism (where Astarte is the consort of YHWH instead of El, the Father) and the picture she is drawing of Second Temple Judaism, the citation pertaining to Philo does not prove out either theory. What Philo teaches is clearly not a personification of “Wisdom,” but rather is a discussion of how mankind through ascesis purifies himself in order to attain to Theosis:

God is both a house, the incorporeal abode of incorporeal ideas, and the Father of all things, inasmuch as it is he who has created them; and the husband of wisdom, sowing for the race of mankind the seed of happiness in good and virgin soil. For it is fitting for God to converse with an unpolluted and untouched and pure nature, in truth and reality virgin, in a different manner from that in which we converse with such. For the association of men, with a view to the procreation of children, makes virgins women. But when God begins to associate with the soul, he makes that which was previously woman now again virgin. Since banishing and destroying all the degenerate appetites unbecoming a human being, by which it had been made effeminate, he introduces in their stead genuine, and perfect, and unadulterated virtues; therefore, he will not converse with Sarah before all the habits, such as other women have, have left her, [Gen 18:11] and till she has returned into the class of pure virgins.

(emphasis added, The Cherubim, v. 49-50)

Hence, Philo’s observation has literally nothing to do with Astarte worship being acknowledged by Second Temple Judaism. Rather, it pertains to soteriology.

Barker also misrepresents Philo on another point. For example, she claims that verse 109 of On Flight and Finding teaches that “the Logos was the Son of Wisdom his mother.” (Barker 2010, 124) Yet, the passage actually speaks of “Moses” saying “that he cannot be defiled neither in respect of his father, that is, the mind, nor his mother, that is, the external sense [perception].” In short, it has nothing to do with Philo acknowledging a devotion to Astarte. Rather, “Moses” is teaching about how his mind (i.e. his contemplative faculty given to him by God) and creation (i.e. what his sense perception reveals to him, likewise made by God) cannot defile him. Philo plainly states, “I imagine, he [Moses] has received imperishable and wholly pure parents, God being his father, who is also the father of all things, and Wisdom being his mother, by means of whom the universe arrived at creation.”

One may infer from Barker’s treatment of Philo that she either lacks the academic integrity to report accurately what the sources she cites actually state or she does not have the actual aptitude to undertake any analyses of these works. It appears as if her research was conducted supposing that no one would follow up on her citations.

Barker’s View of Early Christian History

Barker’s treatment of early Christian history is not very different. Exhibiting a degree of continuity with her interpretations of First and Second Temple Judaism, Barker asserts that early Christians preserved the role of Astarte secretly inherent in those systems by encoding her worship into their understanding of Mariology. This Mariology can be perceived by drawing inferences from early Christian sources such as books of the New Testament and works such as the Protoevangelicum of James. In Barker’s (2011) own words, “Early Christians still knew about the Lady in the Temple [Astarte] and they told that nativity story within that framework.”

Explicit evidence for Barker’s thesis does not actually exist by her own admission, because sometime in the “mid-second century certain words” of the Hebrew Scriptures were “changed” in “the Academy of Palestine” which was “not far” from where Justin Martyr was born. (Barker 2011) It should be noted that though Justin Martyr accused Jews of removing Christological elements from the Scriptures, he gives no indication that any “academy” doubled down on Josiah’s work and removed passages pertaining to the worship of Astarte.

Academics and informed readers of early Christian history should raise an eyebrow upon realizing that it is through inferring a “framework” of Barker’s own invention that one draws out the evidence for her “Temple Theology.” Her own theory is that the primary source evidence was supposedly destroyed. This means one must presuppose Barker’s conclusions concerning First and Second Judaism, which are highly questionable, and trust that the inferences she draws from Christian writings consistent with these are actually accurate. In other words, one must simply trust Barker and disengage intellectually from the topic at hand. Barker (2011) is not shy in admitting that this is actually the case: “Where these traditions survived would take a very long time to show you, so you’ll have to believe me and I tell you they did.” (emphasis added)

Most of Barker’s focus depends upon her own peculiar reading of the Protoevangelicum] of James. Barker (2011) plausibly dates the document asserting that “it was probably written about 150 [AD],” because “the material of this Gospel is in the writings of Clement of Alexandria who died in 205 [AD].” Nevertheless, her interpretations of the document rely mostly upon presuppositions and personal interpretations, with no support from primary sources.

Some of these details are trivial. For example, Barker asserts that in the temple “she was fed by an angel, which means priest, because the temple priests were called angels [by whom?].” (Ibid.) She cites no sources in her speech or written work. She relentlessly invents other details. In her discussion of the Protoevangelicum Barker notes in passing:

  • The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies unvested (contradicted by Lev 16:24).
  • “The bright cloud” was a title for Mary (from whom she does not cite).
  • “Christians [which ones?] understood this [voice at the transfiguration in Matt 17] to be that of Jesus’ heavenly mother.” (Ibid.)

“As early as the Protevangelion of James, Mary was portrayed as Wisdom.” (Barker 2010, 111) Instead of actually showing where in the text Mary is portrayed as Wisdom personified, she cites the complete text of the work twice. This makes it impossible for an academic to verify her conclusions. Granted, these small details may not seem like much, but they call into question Barker’s expertise and show she deliberately tries to escape scrutiny.

Some of Barker’s more drawn out arguments, if one cares to parse out the details, evidently prove to be poorly substantiated. For example, she asserts that in the Protoevangelicum, “Mary was described as lady Wisdom,” because she was placed in the Holy of Holies. As evidence for this, Barker (2011) cites, “Wisdom’s claim, ‘In the holy tabernacle I ministered before Him and I was established in Zion’ [Sirach 24:10].” The entire relevant passage is:

Wisdom praised herself…“Before the ages, in the beginning, He created me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be. In the holy tent I ministered before Him, and so I was established in Zion. Thus in the beloved city He gave me a resting place, and in Jerusalem was my domain.”

(Sir 24:1, 9-11)

Being that the whole tabernacle was a tent with an altar for sacrifices, then another tent with another altar for incense and the Holy of Holies, it is not at all clear where in Sirach Wisdom is ministering in the heavenly tabernacle. Further, it cannot be known where one is supposed to infer from this text that Mary, by entering the Holy of Holies, is fulfilling what is occurring in this text.

In any event, Barker (2010) confidently asserts that, “there is no doubt that Mary was Wisdom. She danced in the temple just as Wisdom, a much loved daughter, [and] played before the Creator. [cf Prov 8:30]” (emphasis added, 116) The blind assertion of there being “no doubt” does not force a reader to interpret Mary’s dance as a direct reference to Prov 8:30 and thereby draw the connection between Mary and Wisdom personified. This is because there are more obvious Scriptural parallels that contain literal dancing (כָּרַר in 2 Sam 6:14, וּמָח֑וֹל in Ps 150:4, and רְקֽוֹד׃ in Ecc 3:4). The most likely is Jer 31:13, which speaks of “the virgin” rejoicing “in dance” (בְּמָח֔וֹל) at the coming of the New Covenant. A betting man would wager it was this passage the author of the Protoevangelicum had in mind. (One should note that the LXX interestingly lacks this, which demonstrates the author of the Protoevangelicum likely was citing a contemporary Hebrew tradition preserved by both the DSS and the Vt.)

Her treatment of the Protoevangelicum contains other questionable infereces. For exangle, Barker (2010) teaches that Mary was “a weaver, working on the new veil of the temple.” (116) Yet, the Protoevangelicum simply states that all of the Temple virgins spun “the gold, and the white, and the fine linen, and the silk, and the blue, and the scarlet, and the true purple.” (Par 10) Mary is chosen by lot to weave the specific colors of “purple and scarlet.” It is never mentioned what the material would be used for in the Protoevangelicum.

Parallel Scriptural passages such as Ex 25-28 and 2 Chron 3 inform us weaving was used for veils, decorative hangings, and vestments. (There are no mentions of weaved items in descriptions of the Temple in 1 Kings and Ezek.) Other early Jewish sources speak of Temple virgins weaving veils of non-descript colors (Mishna Shekalim 8:5-6 and Babylonian Talmud Kethuboth 106a) or just “weaving” (Pesikta Rabbati 26:6 and 2 Bar 10:19), the latter specifying gold was used, but not specifying what it was used for. According to Nutzman (2013), “the aforementioned texts do not indicate the duration of the virgins’ service, the complexity of the veil’s design and ornamentation.” (564) In other words, there is no explicit evidence in extra-biblical Jewish sources that gold thread was used in the veil.

Indeed, it is possible she was weaving part of a veil/curtain. The white and gold could have been used for the design of Cherubim’s. 2 Chron 3:14 which specifically states that the curtain had “blue and purple and crimson fabrics,” but it does not mention what colors the “worked cherubim” were weaved with. (cf Ex 26:31) The Greek for the preceding Biblical passages accords with this and the NRSV does not show any variant readings in the different manuscript traditions. Perhaps cherubim were added to the curtains with crimson, with Mary handing over a bicolor curtain awaiting another virgin to add the crimson Cherubim. Ultimately, it cannot be known. However, the safer historical evidence is to assume Mary was weaving something that one can know for certain incorporated gold thread–and that would be a vestment. In all the preceding primary sources only vestments explicitly had gold thread (and not the veils or hangings).

Author’s Note: Being that the Theotokos in effect weaved the flesh of the Word in her womb, the vestment of the high priest is typologically the best choice. The vestment would represent Christ’s human nature.

In any event, Barker asks:

[W]hy should Mary be weaving the veil while she was pregnant?…the Temple veil symbolized matter [according to whom?]. It was woven from threads of white, blues, red, and purple and these represented the four elements.

(Barker 2011)

She elsewhere specifically states that “[t]he veil, woven from four colours to represent the four elements, represented matter screening the Glory of God.” (Barker 2010, 115) Now, one can see why Barker is so intent upon asserting that Mary was both weaving a curtain and that it had four colors (despite the Protoevangelicum listing five if one includes gold). Obviously, this inference has the deliberate purpose of shoehorning a mythological four-elements reading and transpose this upon Mary as being a demigod responsible for the elements’ creation. After all, she created the curtain and acted as a created medium for the incarnation of Jesus Christ.

Other scholarship has treated the topic with more care. Nutzman (2013) understands the emphasis upon Mary being a weaver in the Protoevangelicum in a less extravagant way. Rather, the relevance of the passage was that it answered Jewish and pagan objections that “she was an impoverished laborer” and not an honorable woman (such as a female Nazirite). (Ibid., 565) This is a simple enough explanation, as we know that early Jewish sources and Celsus accused Mary of whoredom.

Yet, the simplest explanation, acknowledged by Nutzman, is not employed by Barker. Instead, Barker (2010) makes the connection that Mary working as a weaver serves as a symbol of an Ugarit (i.e. Syrian) goddess from over 1,000 years before the events described. (116) This is, academically, a curious explanation as it locates a connection between an individual and profession in not only the wrong country, but the wrong millennium.

Barker also appears to draw other connections in the Protoevangelicum which are not justified. For example, she asserts that “[t]he Protevangelium says that Mary gave birth in a cave, but the imagery it employs is really of birth in the holy of holies, the abode of Wisdom.” (Barker, 2010, 116) She comes to this conclusion by asserting that the appearance of light at Christ’s birth in the Protoevangelicum parallels the “overshadowing” event of the Tabernacle and Temple’s purifications. However, the much better “overshadowing” parallel is not between the Tabernacle/Temple’s purification and the incarnation, but rather the Tabernacle/Temple and the prepurification of Mary in Luke 1:35 at the annunciation. This is because Ex 40:29 LXX, concerning the Tabernacle’s purification, uses the identical Greek term “overshadowed” as found in Luke 1:35. The light at Christ’s incarnation clearly was not a purification, as the overshadowing events were. After all, what would Christ need to be purified from? Therefore, the appearance of light at Christ’s birth in the Protoevangelicum is most likely an event fulfilling Jesus’ own words: “Light has come into the world.” (John 3:19)

Barker’s treatment of other early Christian writers is similar to her presentation of the Protoevangelicum–lacking in academic rigor. When discussing Jacob of Sarug, either intentionally or not, she completely misrepresents the writer’s ideas. Quoting from Hieromonk A. Golitzin’s “The Image and Glory of God in Jacob of Serug’s Homily ‘On the Chariot that Ezekiel the Prophet Saw,” Barker (2010) asserts that in 590.6-7 of Jacob of Serug’s homily demonstrates that he (Jacob) believed Mary was not merely “[t]he ‘seat of Wisdom’…but was Wisdom herself.” (113-114) In other words, Mary is a demigod in Prov 8. However, in the same article that Barker is citing, Golitzin (2009) quotes Jacob as saying, “Ezekiel, too, sees Him on the high throne, [He Who] was also God, that likeness of the servant that He assumed within the womb [of Mary].” (emphases added, 575:11-16) Clearly, Jacob of Serug typologically saw the Chariot as the womb of the Theotokos, its significance being that it bore God—not that the throne itself is a demigod. Golitzin probably never imagined the words he quoted would be mishandled so profoundly. Elsewhere, Barker (2001) quotes the Gospel of Philip as an alleged “tradition from the Hebrew Christians” even though it is a Gnostic source written in Coptic. The relevance of this source’s contents, given its radical discontinuity with earlier Christian sources (as pointed out by people who preceded its composition such as Irenaeus), would be minimal.

Atypical Christological, Pneumatological, and Polytheistic Presuppositions

In the preceding sections, it was shown that Barker’s scholarship fails to meet minimal academic standards. Nevertheless, this article will touch on Barker’s atypical theological views that come out in her writings in addition to her henotheistic worldview already discussed in the preceding. The point of this is to call into question clergy endorsing her research in any sense, as their primary role is to shepherd the people of God.

For example, Barker ascribes to a gnostic angel Christology similar to that found in crypto-Gnostic* works such as the Book of Mary’s Repose. (Shoemaker 2016, 120-121; *Note: Gnostic is the author of this article’s own label, not Shoemaker’s.) She asserts that, “The Lord Himself was the Son of the God Most High in the angel hierarchy.” (Barker, Mary & The Temple 2011) As discussed earlier, this is because Barker believes Judaism was originally a henotheistic religion. In her own words, “the sons of God, the mighty shepherd angels…ruled the nations. Yahweh was the Firstborn of these sons, the Shepherd of Israel (Mic. 5.3–4).” (Barker 2010, 122) This makes it abundantly clear that Barker believes YHWH/Jesus Christ to be an angel, not the uncreated God.

Barker also asserts that Mary/the Astarte is the Holy Spirit. For example, she asserts that:

…the Gospel of the Hebrews, quoted frequently by St Jerome and Origen, has Jesus speaking of his Mother the Holy Spirit… This was cited by Jerome when expounding Isaiah 11.2, thus linking the Mother, the Holy Spirit, and the Davidic kings.

(Barker 2010, 117)

One may assert that Barker is not endorsing the view of the author of Gospel of the Hebrews. However, the fact that she attributes this to mainline theologians including “St Jerome and Origen” shows that she is seriously positing that this is the traditional view of the early Church, which in effect is an endorsement—as nowhere does Barker assert that the early Church was wrong.


From the preceding, one must conclude that Barker is not only outside of the mainstream of Christian theology, her historical work is highly suspect. She regularly is at loggerheads with other scholars and, not surprisingly, has no explicit support from primary source material. She admits to doctoring her own evidence and demands that her readers and listeners take her at her word—a most suspect request given the amount of errors that pervade her work. It is best her work is treated with the highest degree of skepticism. Additionally, it is incredible that anyone, whether scholar or clergyman, to patronize or propagate her “research” in any way.

Works Cited

Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. 1993. Godesses in World Mythology. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Barker, Margaret. 2011. Mary & The Temple. March. Accessed November 27, 2020.

Barker, Margaret. 2010. “The Images of Mary in the Litany of Loreto.” Usus Antiquior 110-131.

Barker, Margaret. 2001. “Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?” Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate: Articles in English. Accessed June 3, 2022.

Brown, Michael. 2018. No, El Shaddai Does Not Mean ‘God With Breasts’. February 8. Accessed December 1, 2020.

Cohn, Robin. 2011. El Shaddai: The God with Breasts. May 25. Accessed December 1, 2020.

Flint, Peter. 2020. “The Great Isaiah Scroll.” The Digitial Dead Sea Scrolls. Accessed November 27, 2020.

Golitizin, Alexander. 2009. “The Image And Glory Of God In Jacob Of Serug’s Homily, ‘On That Chariot That Ezekiel The Prophet Saw.'” Saint Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly. Issue 46, 2003: 323-364.

Hadley, Judith M. 2008. Evidence for Asherah. December 2008. Accessed December 9, 2020.

Kirby, Peter. 2013. 1 Chronicles. Accessed December 9, 2020.

Kirby, Peter. 2013. Early Jewish Writings. Accessed December 9, 2020.

Nutzman, Megan. 2013. “Mary in the Protevangelium of James: A Jewish Woman in the Temple?” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies: 551-578.

Shoemaker, Stephen J. 2016. Mary in Early Christian Faith and Devotion. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Taylor, Joan E. 2012. “Kuntillet Arjud (Horvat Teman): An Ironce Age II Religious Site on the Judah-Sinai Border.” Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society 154-160.

The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. 2020. Languages and Scripts. Accessed November 27, 2020.

Vatican News. 2020. Vatican News. June 20. Accessed 30 2020, November.