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date: 21 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter initially considers the classic Christian reading of the Old Testament as containing a figural anticipation of the Christian sacraments. Special attention is given to Melchizedek in relation to the Eucharist, and to Naaman in relation to baptism. The issue of how best to interpret Naaman’s request for Israelite soil leads into a discussion of what content within the Old Testament might be considered sacramental on its own terms. After noting the marginal significance of springs, trees, stones, and caves, and the way in which the presentation of both circumcision and manna is perhaps less sacramental than might be, it is argued that the ark of the LORD is the prime object of sacramental quality in the Old Testament, and is in certain ways analogous to the bread and wine in the New Testament.

Keywords: figural reading, Melchizedek, Eucharist, Naaman, baptism, Israelite soil, circumcision, manna, ark

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