Temple (édifice)

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Temple. [from Latin templum, tempulum a small division from Greek, Latin tem to cut off, mark out] Templum was a spot marked off for sacred purposes by the augur with his staff, and might be on the ground or in the sky, where it was a region designated for the observation of omens. This connects the idea with that of the celestial mansions or zodiacal signs. From being a mere marked-off spot, it gradually evolved into elaborate edifices, and it has also a figurative use, as when the body is called the temple of God or the earth is described as a temple. When a temple in ancient days was constructed by adepts for specific purposes, it became a center or receptacle of spiritual energies attracted and focused there; and from this arose the merely exoteric ideas, true in their origin but absurdly untrue today, that a consecrated portion of a temple or church was the Holy of Holies or the Seat of God, etc.

The temple then is the shrine of the divine presence, and as such plays a predominant role in all cults, appearing as a Holy of Holies, a tabernacle, etc., and with many elaborations and accessories, such as special chambers, images, sacred vessels, and the like. The word becomes equivalent to all those signifying the receptive side of universal nature, such as moon, ark, and womb. The object of making inner understanding and inner vision seem more real to the mere man, by constructing edifices consecrated to divine worship and designed to draw down divine presences, is one that can readily be understood, and which may be either an assistance or a drawback according to whether the spirit of the worshiper is less or more materialistic.

There is a suggestive connection with temple and tempus (Latin "time," from the same root), divided time as opposed to duration or undivided time.

(source : "Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary", traduction d'Esopedia)