When Christ Went to the Temple
Words by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 2015
Music: Welsh folk melody, LLANGLOFFAN. Harmonized by David Evans, 1927.
Scriptures: Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; John 2:13-16
Topics: Lent; Holy Week; Passion; prayer; Temple
The Rev. Bruce Gillette writes of this hymn:
This hymn written by Carolyn is based on Jesus' protest in the Temple. Thirty years ago when I was a student at Princeton Seminary, I did a paper for Professor Bruce Metzger arguing that John 2:15 in the RSV Bible was an inaccurate translation: "And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables." Dr. Metzger chaired the Revised Standard Version Bible Committee and was an editor for the Greek New Testament (UBS) and many books. He gave me an "A" on the paper, which was a real joy since I struggled learning Greek, though I liked to do research. He later wrote me a note saying the NRSV was going to have a new translation: "Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables." It is very significant since only John mentions the whip in the temple protest and the NRSV (and NIV) reflects the Greek that Jesus used the whip on the animals, not the people as it says in the RSV. The temple protest (often mislabeled cleansing) was a symbolic, prophetic act. Recent scholarship that supports Jesus not using the whip on people includes Craig Keener, Gospel of John: A Commentary, p. 522; R. Alan Culpepper, Gospel and letters of John, p. 132; Mark R. Bredin, “John’s Account of Jesus’ Demonstration in the Temple: Violent or Nonviolent?” Biblical Theology Bulletin 33.2 (2003): 44-50; N. Clayton Croy, “Messianic Whippersnapper: Did Jesus Use a Whip on People in the Temple (John 2:15)?,” Journal of Biblical Literature 128, no. 3 (2009): 3-21. Check out an excellent summary article online: “Violence, Nonviolence and the Temple Incident in John 2:13-15” by A. Alexis-Baker, Biblical Interpretation 20 (2012) 73-96