Now here you have many ideas which you have not in the Old Testament but in the New Testament, which developed in the period between the Testaments. The piety of the law becomes more and more important, partly replacing the piety of the cult.
Of course there is still the temple, but beside the temple the synagogue, the religious school, developed. The synagogue becomes the form in which the decisive religious life develops. The law is not valuated as negatively as we are accustomed to doing so, but for the Jews it was a gift and a joy. The law is eternal; it was always in God; it is pre-existent, as later in Christian theology Jesus was interpreted as pre- existent. The content of the law is the organization of the whole life, in its smallest functions: every moment of life is under God: this is the profound idea in the legalism of the Pharisees, which is so heavily attacked by Jesus.
But of course this produces an intolerable burden, and if in religion you receive an intolerable burden, either in thinking or in acting, two alternatives are always possible: the way of the majority, which is one of compromise: you reduce the burden to a point where you can stand it; or the other way, the way of despair, and this was the way of people like Paul, Augustine and Luther, In IV Esdras, written in the period of Paul, we read: “We who have received the law shall be lost because of our sins, but the law never will be lost. Here you have a mood which is ref lected in many Pauline sayings. This is the development of late Judaism, the period between the Testaments, and we see how many theological ideas came to the foreground beyond the Old Testament in this period, and were developed in the New Testament community.
Now I come to a third group of influential movements for Christian theology: mystery religions and mysticism. They are not the same. Let us begin with Philo, who developed a doctrine of ek-stasis , (standing outside of oneself which for him is the highest form of piety, lying beyond faith, uniting the prophetic ecstasy with the en-theos-mania (whence our word “enthusiasm”): possessing the Divine, in the Greek mysteries. Out of this comes finally the fully developed mystical system, the ecstasy which leads to the union of the one, namely the individual man, with the One, namely the Absolute, God. which is the fully developed mysticism of the Neo- Platonists such as Dionysius the Areopagite.