Talk:D&C 107:1-20

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Two Priesthoods and "Classification"[edit]

So, here's the problem with studying library science: I'm thinking more and more about the word "classifying" that you used here, Matt. To what extent does this verse lay out a kind of taxonomy of priesthood? Is such a reading something we all too easily impose on it (not that I know how else to read it!)? It is especially interesting that this first verse would seem to reduce priesthood to the number "two," and yet it lists precisely three: Melchizedek, Aaronic, and Levitical. And this, of course, overlooks what this very revelation will go on to lay out as a third order: the Patriarchal (which is to begin to pave the way towards, but to stop significantly short of, Joseph's comments on the three priesthoods in his Nauvoo discourses). How should this best be approached?

And then this phrase, all too easy to miss: "in the Church." To what extent does that phrase relativize the taxonomy being laid out? That is, does it obscure the existence of a patriarchal priesthood precisely because this last is not a part of the Church (rather of the Kingdom)? But then, what of the Levitical? There is, obviously, a great deal more to think about here. --Joe Spencer 22:49, 14 December 2007 (CET)

Levitical vs. Aaronic Priests[edit]

I was thinking about this very possibility just this morning, in an entirely different register, before reading these questions, Matt. Interesting.

Some sort of sense needs to be made out of the high/Melchizedek priesthood business, primarily in terms of how these terms map onto the situation presented in the Old Testament. The Old Testament, on one reading, provides a kind of fourfold (or, perhaps, a threefold-plus-one) structure of the priesthood: Levites, Priests, High Priests, and those of the order of Melchizedek. What is interesting about this structure is that while the first three are all genealogically inherited priesthoods, the fourth is emphatically not (a point that probably deserves more careful attention in interpreting Joseph's statements about the prophets of the OT holding the Melchizedek Priesthood). The three inheritable priesthoods, of course, all have very specific places in the ritual complex of the OT temple: the Levites do the most outward work (of the courtyard), the Priests the next most outward work (of the Holy Place), and the High Priests of the inward work (of the Holy of Holies). Because these three "offices" would seem to exhaust the entire field of ritual work, is there any place left for those after the order of Melchizedek? Or is this exhaustion precisely the reason that those after Melchizedek's order are so tirelessly transgressing that field?

Of course, the massive question to be asked is this: how do these four or three-plus-one offices connect up with the restorative work of the revelations in the D&C? In the end, this is probably a question of nomination: when do what names match up with what structures? This is something that deserves much closer attention. Needless to say, I've not at all as yet begun to unfold it myself. --Joe Spencer 20:31, 15 December 2007 (CET)

Why should we think of the Melchizedek Priesthood as a separate office as High Priest? If the Aaronic(/Levitical??) High Priest enters the Holy of Holies once a year, might we not think of him receiving something like the Melchizedek Priesthood there/then? Doesn't verse 10 here suggest a connection something like this between a high priest and the Melch. Priesthood? --RobertC 20:15, 16 December 2007 (CET)

Yeah, Robert, that's actually the way I've seen it for some time. More than anything, I'm trying to loosen up some possibilities I'm wondering if I've overlooked before. Much more thinking to be done... --Joe Spencer 23:38, 16 December 2007 (CET)

Priesthood Taxonomy[edit]

Those were the precise issues I was identifying as I questioned the use of the descriptive phrases modifying priesthood. I'm glad I haven't been totally off-base. The paradox of assigning the number two to the list of three seems like it has plenty to offer, but perhaps as I read the remaining verses of this first passage closely, some of that will come together? I had also thought about the Patriarchal as being not mentioned here, which poses its own questions.

Where the generational/lineal priesthood is concerned (patriarch, and to a limited extent--at least in this section--[presiding?] bishop) perhaps the "in the Church" phrase can help frame the scope. Although, again, I wonder whether the purpose of describing priesthood in "Melchizidek," "Aaronic," "Levitical," or "Patriarchal" terms might be more a way of describing uses of priesthood rather than categories... But it could be that these uses naturally open the way for a natural "classification" of priesthood...

So much to think about. --Morrisonmj 15:19, 17 December 2007 (CET)