In the words of Paul Johnson: The Temple, now, in Herod’s1 version, rising triumphantly over Jerusalem, was an ocular reminder that Judaism was about Jews and their history—not about anyone else. Other gods flew across the deserts from the East without much difficulty, jettisoning the inconvenient and embarrassing accretions from their past, changing, as it were, their accents and manners as well as their names. But the God of the Jews was still alive and roaring in his Temple, demanding blood, making no attempt to conceal his racial and primitive origins. Herod’s fabric was elegant, modern, sophisticated—he had, indeed, added some Hellenic decorative effects much resented by fundamentalist Jews who constantly sought to destroy them—but nothing could hide the essential business of the Temple, which was the ritual slaughter, consumption, and combustion of sacrificial cattle on a gigantic scale. The place was as vast as a small city. There were literally thousands of priests, attendants, temple-soldiers, and minions. To the unprepared visitor, the dignity and charity of Jewish disapora life, the thoughtful comments and homilies of the Alexandrian synagogue, was quite lost amid the smoke of the pyres, the bellows of terrified beasts, the sluices of blood, the abattoir stench, the unconcealed and unconcealable machinery of tribal religion inflated by modern wealth to an industrial scale. Sophisticated Romans who knew the Judaism of the diaspora found it hard to understand the hostility towards Jews shown by colonial officials who, behind a heavily-armed escort, had witnessed Jerusalem at festival time. Diaspora Judaism, liberal and outward-minded, contained the matrix of a universal religion, but only if it could be cut off from its barbarous origins; and how could so thick and sinewy an umbilical cord be severed? This description of “Herod’s” Temple (actually the Second Temple, built in the sixth century B.C. and rebuilt by Herod) is more than a bit overwrought. The God of the Jews did not roar in his Temple: the insoluble problem was that, since the destruction of the First Temple and, with it, the Ark of the Covenant, God had ceased to be present in his Temple. Nor would animal sacrifice have disgusted the gentiles, since Greeks, Romans, and all ancient peoples offered such sacrifices (though one cannot help wondering whether, had the Second Temple not been destroyed, it would today be ringed from morn to night by indignant animal-rights activists). But Johnson is right to emphasize that Judaism, in its mother city, could display a sweaty tribalism that gentiles would only find unattractive. The partisan, argumentative ambience of first-century Jerusalem, not unlike the atmosphere of the ultra-Orthodox pockets of the contemporary city, could repel any outsider, whether gentile or diaspora Jew. Perhaps most important is Johnson’s shrewd observation that Judaism “contained the matrix of a universal religion.” By this time, the more percipient inhabitants of the Greco-Roman world had come to the conclusion that polytheism, whatever manifestation it might assume, was seriously flawed. The Jews alone, by offering monotheism, offered a unitive vision, not the contradictory and flickering epiphanies of a fanciful pantheon of gods and goddesses. But could Judaism adapt to gentile needs, could it lose its foreign accent and outlandish manners? No one saw the opportunity more clearly than Luke; his gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, present a Jesus and a Jesus Movement specifically tailored to gentile sensibility.