Grounding Ezekiel's heavenly ascent: A defense of ezek 40-48 as a program for restoration


Through an examination of Ezekiel's second temple vision, as found in Ezek 40-48, this study challenges the commonly held thesis that Ezekiel sought to reform the theology of the Jerusalem temple cult, but argues instead that the vision account actually supports the Royal or "Zion" Theolo-gy. First, the recent arguments presented by Paul Joyce and Steven Tuell in their respective commentaries are reviewed. Both argue that Ezek 40-48 pre-sent a heavenly temple, ungrounded on earth, and consequently, with the con-sensus, understand these chapters to support a new vision of access to the divine, one undefiled by the Jerusalem temple cult, which in the past showed itself to be unable to maintain holiness. Quite to the contrary, this study reas-serts previous studies by scholars such as Levenson and Greenberg, who understood Ezek 40-48 to be a program for restoration in some sense. This examination, however, moves beyond a review of past studies, arguing that the foundational vision of the temple, the river, and the division of the land in Ezek 40-48 was written for the purpose of being archived for later study by the post-exilic community. In presenting this new thesis, the study uses the Deir Alla inscription as a heuristic aid, as well as the work of Karel van der Toorn, Susan Niditch, and others to explore how an ancient text would have functioned for Ezekiel's audience.


Religious Studies

Document Type





Archive, Deir'Alla, Ezek 40-48, Ezek 8, 7-13, Ezekiel, Royal Theology, Temple Vision, Zion Theology

Publication Date


Journal Title

Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament