"T.J. Willis" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> the Temple of Herod was in Jerusalem
If I recall correctly the wall of the platform were 90 feet tall and
platform top was very large. There are also a goodly number of features
ascribed to it that could be checked out when it is found assuming as I'm
sure you do that it was ever lost.
> "Matt Giwer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>> Where was the Temple of Herod?
>> Utah State University anthropologist says Dome of the Rock is not
>> of Herod's Temple.
>> Utah State University
>> Some time ago a conversation with a colleague about the absence of
>> archaeological information on the Temple Mount or, as it is called in
>> Arabic, the Haram al-Sharif, and the unlikelihood that permission will be
>> granted for a thorough archaeological investigation of the area in the
>> future led me to wonder whether it might be possible to learn enough from
>> ancient sources to at least make an educated guess about where within the
>> Haram the Jewish Temple is likelihood. My goal was to see if a "virtual
>> archaeology" could be constructed with sufficient detail that one might
>> good advice about where to begin excavating, were an archaeologist given
>> permission to do so.
>> One of the first things I discovered was that archaeologists'
>> about the original site of the Temple were not typically based on the
>> evidences that one usually associates with archaeology. Perhaps because
>> the relative lack of hard, artifactual evidences or perhaps because the
>> topic has strong religious significance even to archaeologists who are
>> interested in biblical times, arguments for various placements of the
>> are often grounded more in symbolism than on pragmatic evidences.
>> Articles on the topic often rely heavily on judgments such as "The
>> of the Dome of the Rock, being the highest spot within the Haram, was the
>> most appropriate place for the Jews to have built the Temple of their
>> or assumptions such as the idea that the Temple surely must have been
>> in the middle of the sacred, walled precinct (Solomon's five hundred
>> walled square that surrounded the Temple) that surrounded it-the middle
>> assuredly being more appropriate than some less symmetrical placement.
>> as any anthropologist knows, what seems symbolically "appropriate" in one
>> culture may not be in another, and symbolic ideals frequently take a
>> seat to practical considerations that must be dealt with when erecting
>> large piece of architecture. My goal was to avoid such symbolic second
>> guessing about what the Jews of antiquity might or might not have found
>> aesthetically or symbolically appropriate, and to stick to what hard
>> evidence might be found.
>> To my surprise, I did discover one voice crying in the wilderness of
>> symbolism for a more practical, hard-evidence approach to the question,
>> I must give him credit at the outset for most of what I will present,
>> I have only added a bit to the basic arguments that he had already
>> Tuvia Sagiv is an Israeli architect, and it is perhaps because of his
>> of credentials as an archaeologist that his more pragmatically minded
>> approach to the question has failed to reach the venues that are usually
>> read by those interested in biblical archaeology. On the other hand, Mr.
>> Sagiv's training as an architect predisposed him to look at questions
>> the placement of the Temple from the practical mind-set that his
>> requires. I will present his basic arguments here along with my own,
>> additions (mainly, point 6, below) which, I believe, strengthens his
>> argument somewhat. Background
>> Mount Moriah is actually a north-south trending ridge rather than a
>> peak. It rises from its southern end near the entrance to David's City
>> north of the Hinnom Valley and gets progressively higher until it reaches
>> the spot where the Dome of the Rock now stands. The rock that is
>> by the dome is bedrock that simply rises above the surface about this
>> It stands about five feet higher than the surrounding surface. North of
>> this, the ground was relatively level, although it actually dipped
>> before rising again where the Moriah ridge narrows just south of Mount
>> What people currently think of as the Temple Mount is a roughly
>> area on the ridge. This rectangular court is bounded by walls that were
>> built in relatively recent times on the ruins of earlier walls. The ruins
>> include both Herodian and Hasmonean masonry.
>> It is generally recognized that the eastern wall of the current courtyard
>> occupies the same location on which Solomon built a retaining wall to
>> the area east of the First Temple. This feature is called Solomon's Porch
>> and included a roofed colonnade. Solomon did not otherwise modify the
>> north-trending ridge of Mount Moriah. Herod extended Solomon's Porch to
>> north and south when he "doubled" the size of the Temple Mount. The
>> to Solomon's Temple Mount courtyards was through gates that rested
>> on the ridge itself.
>> The Hasmoneans made an addition to the south of Solomon's Porch and
>> an east-west retaining wall along the southern extremity of their
>> to create a larger, level courtyard to the south of the Temple. This
>> retaining wall was higher than the original southern gates (the Hulda
>> Gates), so that they thereafter connected to the floor of the courtyard
>> underground passages. Herod more than doubled the size of the Temple
>> courtyards by extending the eastern wall again, both to the south and the
>> north, and by adding similar retaining walls on the east and north ends
>> the rectangle. He built his great Stoa (where the Sanhedrin met and where
>> sacrificial animals were sold--the scene of Jesus' overturning of the
>> moneychangers' tables) on his southern extension. Hadrian may have made
>> additions to the walls of the Temple Mount as part of his building
>> in AD 135+, but the specifics are difficult to document.
>> What Was Within the Walled Precinct?
>> The Temple Mount contained more than just the Temple. In Solomon's day,
>> already contained several other features: Solomon's palace (to the south
>> the Temple), a hall of justice (called the Forest of Lebanon) and other
>> administrative buildings (possibly to the west of the Temple). The
>> wall included the Tadi Gate (through which sheep were brought to the
>> Temple), a Prison Gate (which led into a prison), and a defensive tower
>> called Hananeel (at the northwest corner). Just beyond the northern wall
>> outside the northwest corner was a fosse or waterless moat that cut
>> the ridge at a narrow point. Hananeel Tower and the fosse formed an
>> important military defense structure, since the northern route down the
>> Moriah ridge was the easiest invasion route for foreign armies, which is
>> the Romans invaded from that point when they took the Temple in AD 70.).
>> Moriah also contained a "high place" where Astoreth had been worshiped
>> ancient times.
>> In Herodian times, the site of Ashtereth's high place was dominated by an
>> eight-sided tower called Strato's Tower (the name being a corruption of
>> Astoreth, which was written as STRT in the unpointed Hebrew of the time).
>> know from Josephus that Strato's Tower lay to the north of the Temple and
>> south of Baris. Later, a military fortress and tower, called the Akra,
>> built to the south of the Temple Mount by Antiochus after he destroyed
>> walls of the Temple. The Akra, a military installation, was offensive to
>> Jews because it afforded a view into the Temple area. It was therefore
>> destroyed by Simon in the later Hasmonean period.
>> When the First Temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity,
>> palace and the Forest of Lebanon were razed and the ground was leveled
>> they had stood. The stone was used in rebuilding the Temple and its
>> From the above, we can see that in Herodian times the Temple Mount had
>> basic precincts, one sacred (the Temple and its courts) and one secular
>> pagan high place of Strato's Tower and the defensive fortress to its
>> The latter occupied the northwest quadrant of the Temple Mount, leaving
>> sacred area as an irregular shape that occupied the three other
>> The Temple precinct
>> The Temple area had two major components, the so-called Court of the
>> Gentiles that surrounded it and a sacred platform on which the Temple
>> along with the walled Women's Court, Court of Israel, and Priest's Court.
>> This Temple precinct was originally 500 cubits square and occupied only
>> of the Herodian Temple precinct, although it too was missing a notch in
>> northwestern corner where the pagan site of Asteroth lay. Josephus cites
>> old prophesy that if the Jews ever "squared the Temple", it would be
>> destroyed, and he asserts that doing so was the cause of the Roman
>> destruction of Jerusalem. That is, Herod razed Strato's Tower and the old
>> Baris fortress and built a new Baris (Baris Antonia) on the northeast
>> of his enlarged Temple Mount. This made a nice, square sacred area around
>> the Temple platform but violated God's injunction by incorporating the
>> idolatrous site of pagan worship into its design.
>> Where Was the Temple?
>> The Temple was not located on the high spot currently occupied by the
>> of the Rock. The Dome was built on the most imposing location, the
>> of the former Strato's Tower, a pagan place of worship. It incorporated
>> eight-sided design of Astoreth's place of worship into its architecture,
>> feature of the Dome that is unique in Islamic architecture. The actual
>> location of the Temple was to the south of the Dome of the Rock at the
>> approximate location of the Al Kas fountain which is north of the current
>> location of the El Aksa mosque at the south end of the current Temple
>> This places the Temple directly to the west of the Western Wall (a.k.a.
>> Wailing Wall).
>> Reasons for This Placement
>> The evidences for the southern placement are as follows:
>> (1) Baris Antonia was built to defend Mount Moriah against invasion from
>> north--the only easy route to the Temple. The east and west slopes were
>> steep and the city lay to the south. The most defensible place for the
>> location of the fortress was just south of the narrow constriction
>> the ravines that ran into the Kidron Valley on the east and the Valley of
>> the Cheesemakers on the west. In fact, these two ridges were joined at
>> top by a man-made moat which would have made an attack on the Baris even
>> more difficult. (The moat was noted in Wilson's survey of Jerusalem, so
>> position is known.) This is the arrangement described by Josephus. Had
>> Temple been located on the Sakhra (the Rock), then there would have been
>> insufficient room for both Strato's Tower and the Baris to have fit
>> the Temple and the Moat. The northern placement favored by the Temple
>> Faithful leaves no room for even the defensive tower, Baris, to be
>> between the Temple and the fosse.
>> (2). A Dome of the Rock location for the Temple would have made it
>> impossible to supply running water to the Temple, a necessity for the
>> Priest's mikvah and for the cleansing of blood from the Temple platform.
>> According to the Mishnah, the way that blood was washed from the floor of
>> the Priest's Court where sacrifices were performed was to open the
>> of the aqueduct directly into the court . This means that the aqueduct
>> brought water to the Temple Mount had to have been above the level of the
>> raised floor of the court. In fact, part of the aqueduct is still in
>> existence, and it lies over 20 meters below the level that it would have
>> have occupied to service a Temple at the level of the Dome of the Rock.
>> proposed northern placement is also too high to have received water from
>> aqueduct. In fact, remains of the aqueduct itself show that after
>> the Temple Mount across Wilson's Arch, it turned to the southeast towards
>> the Al Kas fountain and its associated cisterns. The Moriah ridge at this
>> location is low enough that the aqueduct could have served the Temple as
>> described by the Mishnah at this location south of the Dome of the Rock.
>> (3) Josephus says that the hill to the north of the Temple (Bizita Hill)
>> obscured the view of the Temple from the north. If the Temple had rested
>> the Sakhra, they it would have been so high that the view from the north
>> would not have been obscured. In fact, it would have been visible from as
>> far away as Ramallah.
>> (4) According to Josephus, King Herod Agrippa built a dining room in his
>> Hasmonean Palace from which he and his guests could watch the sacrifices
>> the Altar. That palace was located near the Citadel at the Jaffa Gate on
>> Mount Zion to the west of the Temple Mount, and the Temple itself would
>> blocked its view of the Azarah if the Temple had sat atop the Dome of the
>> Rock site. No buildings existed in that era that were high enough to have
>> made the view possible. However, a placement of the Temple at the Al Kas
>> fountain location to the south of the Dome, being over 20 meters lower
>> a straight-line view of the Azarah possible along a line of site between
>> Temple and the southern wall of the Temple.
>> (5) The Mishnah says that the Temple was not at the highest spot, but
>> it resided "between the shoulders"--that is between the Rock to its north
>> and the small hill on which the Selucid fortress Akra was built to the
>> of the Temple.
>> (6) A southern placement with the Holy of Holies just northeast of the Al
>> Kas fountain is the only one that allows there to be an underground
>> under the Laver in which the priests washed their hands and feet each
>> morning and under each of the parts of the Temple in which there was a
>> mikvah (with the exception of the mikvah used by the High Priest on the
>> of Atonement, which was in a second-floor room and supplied with flowing
>> water from the aqueduct). thereby allowing water to be directly
>> for each of the mikvah sites. No other placement I know of associates
>> sources with the various mikvahs and the Laver.
>> (7) After Hadrian destroyed the Temple in AD 135, he built a temple to
>> Jupiter on the site. The standard pattern for such temples, as
>> at Baalbek, was an entry through an octagonal portico, a plaza with an
>> altar, and the temple proper. The Baalbek temple's walls surround a
>> row of pillars. So do the walls of the contemporary El Aksa Mosque on the
>> south end of the modern Temple Mount rectangle. This construction, like
>> octagonal shape of the Dome of the Rock, is unique within Islamic
>> architecture. If the Baalbek temple plans are superimposed on the Haram
>> the temple situated where the El Aqsa Mosque is and the octagonal portico
>> where the octagonal Dome of the Rock is situated today, then Herod's
>> would have been situated within the plaza, under the Roman altar where
>> sacrifices were performed to Jupiter--a perfect way of making the Temple
>> location inaccessible to the Jews. The Mishnah describes the Holy of
>> as having been located where the statue of Hadrian was in the plaza, just
>> west of the altar to Jupiter.