-------------------- The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Posts: 12853 | Registered: Feb 2002
| IP: Logged |
Cool article, Ishtar:
Jerusalem's volatile archaeology By Malcolm Billings Presenter, Trench Warfare: The Politics of Archaeology
One of the most visited archaeological sites in Jerusalem is also charged with emotion that has erupted in riot and bloodshed.
The Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif, is Holy to Muslims and Jews Known as the Western Wall Tunnel it runs under the old walled city and along the length of the western wall of what was once the Temple of Jerusalem.
Built by Herod the Great in 20 BC, the Temple itself was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.
All that survived was the rock platform - the Temple Mount - on which the Temple was built and the massive retaining wall that supported the foundations of the building.
The Temple Mount, or the Haram al-Sharif as it is called by Muslims, meaning noble sanctuary, is holy to both Jews and Muslims.
For most of the time since the 7th Century it has been in the possession of Muslims, who believe it marks the point where the Prophet Muhammad ascended into heaven.
Jews believe it is the site of the original Temple of Solomon, and where - in the story of Genesis - God tested Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son Isaac, before telling him to stay his hand.
Today, a beautiful Muslim shrine built in the 7th Century, the Dome of the Rock, covers the outcrop of stone where these events are supposed to have taken place.
TRENCH WARFARE Trench Warfare: The Politics of Archaeology Tuesdays, 1100BST, Radio 4 19 April: Identity and Belonging 26 April: The Stones Cry Out 3 May: Who Owns the Bones? Hear the latest episode at: Radio 4's Listen again page
To add to this eventful history, the building was turned into a church during the time of the Crusaders in the 11th and 12th Centuries.
The crescent on the top of the dome was replaced with a cross, and when the city was reconquered by Saladin in 1187, the first thing he did was to send people on to the roof to remove the offending symbol of the vanquished Christian kings of Jerusalem.
Despite the outcome of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, in which Israeli occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Temple Mount, the enclosure and the Dome of the Rock, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a superb range of Muslim Medieval buildings, remain under the jurisdiction of the Muslim religious authorities who control its day-to-day activities.
Both sides observe an embargo on archaeological work on the site.
But archaeological work in the Old City and around the Temple Mount is another matter.
Large areas of the city have been explored by Israeli archaeologists since 1967, including some tunnels dug in the 19th century by British archaeologists.
Guide: Jerusalem's holy sites
These tunnels were opened up again when Israelis took control of Jerusalem. In 1996, the digging provoked a riot in which 80 Palestinians and 14 Israeli soldiers were killed.
When digging began again, Israeli archaeologists traced the lower courses of the masonry of the wall along its full length of several hundred metres.
Deep underground they excavated beneath the massive foundation of medieval buildings and along the wall where they found ancient water cisterns, a Roman road and much of the detail of the construction of the 2,000-year-old Temple wall.
In one part of the tunnel system, they uncovered a three-storey house built in the Crusader period - a unique find for the history of the city of Jerusalem.
Large numbers queue up to walk through this tunnel and at points along the way shrines have been set up for religious Jews to pray for the day that the Temple is rebuilt.
Evangelical Christians also look forward to the rebuilding of the Temple believing, that the Second Coming of the Messiah will not take place until the Temple is up and running again.
The Muslims are intensely aware of these aspirations and are suspicious about any archaeological work beneath the Old City.
Cracks have appeared in medieval building giving rise to Muslim concerns that the Israelis have explored under the Temple Mount.
Not so insist the archaeologists. They maintain that they have only explored along the edge of the wall in an attempt to understand more about the missing Temple.
But rumours persist, however unlikely.
Fear and rumour
Many Muslims believe that extreme religious Jews are passionate enough about reclaiming the Temple to believe that they are tunnelling underneath the Haram to undermine the foundations of the ancient Muslim buildings on the site.
Indeed, there is a Jewish religious group which has prepared plans and building materials in readiness for the day they believe will come when God gives the go-ahead for the rebuilding of the Temple.
The Temple Mount is a crucible for fear, rumour and religious prejudice.
It is therefore not surprising to hear archaeologists describe it as the most politically volatile archaeological site in the Middle East.
IP: Logged |
I'll bet the Israelis have done some excavations under the temple. I've also heard that the Muslims have done some, too, though, and that there are rumors of them destroying evidence of the earlier Israeli presence there.
IP: Logged |
the Greek Orthodox chapel on the other side of the room (station 12), pass under an ornamental arch. The Greek altar is built over the spot which held the cross. Look to its right, to see where the rock cracked when " Jesus ä gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split" (Matthew 27:50-51).
A Christian tradition, born to symbolize mankind's redemption, maintains that Adam is buried at the bottom of Golgotha. Thus when the earth quaked, blood from Jesus' wounds dripped through the crack and onto Adam's skull. There are those who believe that this, and not the bareness of the rock, is the source of the term Golgotha. You will see the fissure even more clearly when we move downstairs to the Chapel of Adam.
-------------------- As Above So Below. Posts: 1445 | From: Native forest | Registered: Apr 2005
| IP: Logged |
One of the most unbelievable claims of the Da Vinci Code for me was the allusion that the whole point of the Crusades was to get something buried under the Temple Mount, evidence of some kind. Obviously, it was supposed to be evidence of some kind about an affair between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, secret documents, I guess.
Posts: 112 | From: the Midwest | Registered: May 2006
| IP: Logged |
Cayce said there were many forged manuscripts in excistence of Jesus, however the originals were destroy at Alexandria. The only true records of Jesus that have not been found yet,will be found in the pyramid.
Posts: 11378 | From: toledo .ohio | Registered: Mar 2000
| IP: Logged |
Over the next few years Muslim warriors try to reclaim every inch of sacred land they had lost to the Christians. In 1187 a robust Turkish sultan named Nur al-Din, who was later known as Saladin (whose name means "the bounty of religion"), enters the scene. As a result of his rapid and successful military career Saladin captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders. Through the battle cry of jihad (holy war), Saladin unifies all Muslims throughout the Arabic world (including Egypt, Syria and all of Mesopotamia) against the West. This triumph over the Christian's stronghold on Jerusalem prompted the Third Crusade in which a final show down between Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted occurred 12. Having made no real conquest over a three year period Richard leaves the Holy Land for good. Behind the scenes, while this sacred order of warrior monks were reportedly providing a clear and safe "passage" for Christian pilgrimages, it appears they became preoccupied with another type of "passage way" of their own. What they were actually doing was searching for a "passage" that would lead to the treasures of Solomon that were hidden within the "Holy of Holy's" deep within the Temple Mount. They hoped to gain possession of the "sacred knowledge" that was hidden by the ancient "Keepers of the Craft" long, long ago. Beside the comings and goings of the Christians, what the Templar's were actually protecting was the "tunnels and passage ways" that they had recently excavated at the Temple Mount directly beneath Solomon's Temple 13. Although what they found at this "Holy Sepulcher" has been widely debated, many researchers believe they found much more than Solomon's lost gold. It is believed they may have found such treasures as the blue prints of sacred geometry and human genetics and most importantly they may have even found the "Ark of the Covenant" itself. Although the Templars were working under the guidance of the Church, they never reported any of their "archaeological" discoveries to their superiors. This became the breach of trust that would soon lead to the destruction of the Templars themselves in 1307 (1+3+0+7 = 11). As far as we know, what ever the Templars found was kept secret. Throughout the centuries, the "secrets" of the Templars and their origins have been concealed within a veil of myths and fables. Even today, much of their history and deeds are shrouded in mystery. It was not until recently that their "covert" excavations at the Temple Mount have even been made public or accepted by the scholarly community.
The first evidence to support the Templar's early excavations of the Temple Mount was found by Lieutenant Charles Wilson of the Royal Engineers as early as the mid-1800s. After re-excavating a number of mysterious caverns and caves he found "tunnels" at the Temple Mount, that were dug by the Templars. Deep beneath the Temple Wilson found an array of artifacts that were positively identified as belonging to these early Templars. The small collection of artifacts that he found are now preserved in Scotland. The objects remain under the watchful care of Templar archivist Robert Brydon of Edinburgh 14.
Following the work of Wilson came a young London based engineer, Charles Warren, who conducted excavations at the Temple Mount between 1867-1870 15. Warren and his assistant Sergeant Henry Birtles explored the tunnels and found over 30 underground structures 16 (figure 1.4). Unfortunately, current accessibility to these underground "installations", some cut 43 feet below the level of the Temple Mount, are now closed off to researchers because of Muslim religious and political sensitivities 17. Are these "underground installations" where the Templars found the vast library of treasures, hidden by the followers of Solomon and the "Ark of the Covenant"?
If the stories are to be believed, the Ark of the Covenant is said to be found in Ethiopia. We shall, I'm sure, uncover how it got there later. Yet, other treasures were said to be found there as weell. Anyone care to guess what they were?
-------------------- "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand fail..." - King David, Psalms 137:5
reference to the Ark being forgotten. Jer. 3:16 says,
"And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the Covenant of the LORD; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more"(KJV).
From your link , gaston,
Well we haven't forgotten it yet.
-------------------- The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Posts: 12853 | Registered: Feb 2002
| IP: Logged |
First Jewish-Roman War Date: 66– 73 Location: Judea
Result: Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned the Temple in Jerusalem (70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Masada in 73), and enslaved or massacred a large part of the Jewish population of Judea.
Combatants Roman Empire Jews of Iudaea Province Commanders Vespasian, Titus Simon Bar-Giora Yohanan mi-Gush Halav (John of Gischala) Eleazar ben Simon Strength 70,000 ? 13,000 ? Casualties Unknown 600,000 to 1,300,000 (mass civilian casualties)
The first Jewish-Roman War (66–73), sometimes called the Great Jewish Revolt, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Iudaea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115–117, the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt, 132–135). It began in 66, sparked by religious violence between the Jews and the Hellenists; it ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod's Temple (70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Masada in 73), and enslaved or massacred a large part of the Jewish population. The defeat of the Jewish revolts against the Roman Empire notably contributed to the numbers and geography of the Jewish Diaspora, as many Jews were scattered after losing their state or were sold into slavery throughout the empire.
From about 6, Judaea was ruled by Roman procurators, who were responsible for maintaining peace and collecting taxes. Pocketing any amount above the quota had been a regular practice, which led to abuse. The tensions rose higher when pagan Rome took over the appointment of the High Priest, also beginning about 6. In 39, Emperor Caligula declared himself a god and ordered his statues to be set up at every temple. The Jews refused, and prepared for armed revolt. Only Caligula's death in 41 ended the disturbance. The theft of a large amount of money from Temple treasury by procurator Gessius Florus (who, according to Tacitus, "indulged in every kind of robbery and violence") contributed to the radicalization and increased the popularity of Zealots, some of whom believed that any means were justified in order to attain political and religious independence from Rome.
First Jewish successes
The revolt began in 66 in Caesarea, provoked by the desecration of a local synagogue by Hellenists; the Greek-speaking Roman garrison did not intercede. In an act of defiance, the son of high priest Eliezar ben Hanania ceased prayers and sacrifices for the Roman Emperor at the Temple and subsequently led a successful attack on the Roman garrison stationed in Jerusalem. The pro-Roman king Agrippa II and his sister Berenice fled Jerusalem to Galilee, where later they gave themselves up to the Romans. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought reinforcements to restore order, but was soundly defeated (Legio XII Fulminata lost even its aquila) at Beit-Horon while retreating.
Emperor Nero appointed general Vespasian instead of Gallus to crush the rebellion. Vespasian made Caesarea Maritima his headquarters and with his legions — X Fretensis and V Macedonica, 60,000 professional soldiers — methodically cleared the coast and the North. Some towns gave up without a fight. By the year 68, Jewish resistance in the North had been crushed.
The leaders of the collapsed Northern revolt, John of Giscala and Simon ben Jair, managed to escape to Jerusalem. Brutal civil war erupted: the Zealots and Sicarii executed anyone advocating surrender, and by 68 the entire leadership of the southern revolt was dead, all killed by the Jews, none by the Romans.
A drawing depicting the destruction of the Second TempleAfter the death of Nero and with the backing of the army, Vespasian was proclaimed emperor in 69 and left for Rome to take the throne from Vitellius in a brief Roman civil war, the so-called Year of the four emperors.
The seige of Jerusalem, the capital city, had begun early in the war, but had turned into a nasty stalemate. Unable to breach the cities defenses, the Roman armies established a permanent camp just outside the city, digging a trench around the circumfrence of its walls and building a wall as high as the city walls themselves around Jerusalem. Anyone caught in the trench attempting to flee the city would be captured, crucified, and placed in lines on top of the dirt wall facing into Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of crucifixes bodies encircled Jerusalem by the end of the siege. (From "Jews, God and History" by Max I. Dimont) Titus Flavius, Vespasian's son, led the final assault and siege of Jerusalem. During the infighting inside the city walls, a stockpiled supply of dry food was intentionally burned to induce the defenders to fight against the siege instead of negotiating peace; as a result many city dwellers and soldiers died of starvation during the siege. Zealots under Eleazar ben Simon held the Temple, Sicarii led by Simon ben Giora held the upper city.
The treasures of Jerusalem (detail from the Arch of Titus).By the summer of 70 the Romans had breached the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire city. The Second Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av (August 29 or August 30), 70. John of Giscala surrendered at Agrippa II's fortress of Jotaphta and was brought to Rome for public execution. The famous Arch of Titus still stands in Rome: it depicts Roman legionaries carrying off the Temple of Jerusalem's treasuries, including the menorah.
During the spring of 71, Titus set sail for Rome. A new military governor was then appointed from Rome, Lucilius Bassus, whose assigned task was to undertake the "mopping-up" operations in Judaea. He used X Fretensis to oppose the few remaining fortresses that still resisted. Bassus took Herodium, and then crossed the Jordan to capture the fortress of Machaerus on the shore of the Dead Sea. Due to illness, Bassus did not live to complete his mission. Lucius Flavius Silva replaced him, and moved against the last Jewish stronghold, Masada, in the autumn of 72. He used Legio X, auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish prisoners. After his orders for surrender were rejected, Silva established several base camps and a wall of circumvolution completely around the fortress. According to Josephus, when the Romans finally broke through the walls of this citadel (73), they discovered that the 960 defenders had preferred death with a mass suicide to surrender (this claim has been challenged).
A coin issued by the rebels in 68. Obverse: "Shekel, Israel. Year 3". Reverse: "Jerusalem the Holy"Estimates of the death toll range from 600,000 to 1,300,000 Jews: there was "no room for crosses and no crosses for the bodies". Over 100,000 died during the siege, and almost 100,000 were taken to Rome as slaves. Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean.
The Romans hunted down and slaughtered entire clans, such as descendants of the House of David. On one occasion, Titus condemned 2,500 Jews to fight with wild beasts in the amphitheater of Caesarea in celebration of his brother Domitian's birthday.
An ancient Roman coin. The inscription reads IVDAEA CAPTAThe coins inscribed Ivdaea Capta (Judea Captured) were issued throughout the Empire in order to demonstrate the futility of possible future rebellions. Judea was represented by a crying woman.
Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, as there is "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God". (Philostratus, Vita Apollonii).
Before Vespasian's departure, the Pharisaic sage and Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai attained his permission to establish a Judaic school at Yavne. Zakkai was smuggled away from Jerusalem in a coffin by his students. Later this school has become a major center of Talmudic study. (See Mishnah)
The main account of the revolt comes from Josephus, the former Jewish commander of Galilee who switched over to the Roman side. Since Josephus had been granted citizenship and a pension in Rome and was well accepted at the courts of Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, his work is likely to be biased in favor of his imperial patrons, especially Titus.
His popular works The Wars of the Jews (c. 79) and Jewish Antiquities (c. 94)—especially its autobiographical appendix-are frequently contradictory. He was loathed by the Jews as a turncoat and Roman apologist and never returned to his homeland after the fall of Jerusalem, ending his days in Rome.
In contrast to the general consensus of historians (that supposes that the ark was taken away and destroyed), variant traditions about the ultimate fate of the Ark include the intentional concealing of the Ark under the Temple Mount, the removal of the Ark from Jerusalem in advance of the Babylonians (this variant usually ends up with the Ark in Ethiopia), the removal of the Ark by the Ethiopian prince Menelik I (purported son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba), removal by Jewish priests during the reign of Manasseh of Judah, possibly taken to a Jewish temple on Elephantine in Egypt, and the miraculous removal of the Ark by divine intervention (Cf. 2 Chronicles).
From the Qur'an:
Their prophet said to them, "The sign of his kingship is that the Ark of the Covenant will be restored to you, bringing assurances from your Lord, and relics left by the people of Moses and the people of Aaron. It will be carried by the angels. This should be a convincing sign for you, if you are really believers." 002:248
Well, I don't know what to say about this one. Some of you have probably already heard of this, but it is news to me. Ron Wyatt claimed to have found the Ark beneath the Temple Mount and has photographed it. Don't get all excited, the photo is quite blurry and is quite indistinguishable to me:
The Hidden Secrets of the Temple Mount by Tuvia Sagiv
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- One of the unsolved problems in the investigation of Jerusalem is locating the site of the holy temples.
A three-dimensional study of the location of the temple and its various levels is helpful. By using a 3D view we will be able to examine the spatial relationships between functions outside the area and their relationships to the temple. We will also examine by comparison various suggested temple locations with the historical literature describing ancient Jerusalem with what we know today of its topography.
Cross-referencing the information received will bring us to the following conclusions:
Foundational remains of the first and second holy temples are hidden in the area between the Dome of the Rock and the El Aksa Mosque approximately beneath the El Kas fountain.
The level of the Herodian temple court would have been some 16 meters lower than the level of the Temple Mount courts that we see today, (the Haram Es-Sharif).
The Dome of the Rock is the site of Antonia's Fortress. Introduction
Scientific surveys began in the area of Moriah Court (Haram Es-Sharif) in Jerusalem in the middle of the past century. (1)
From these surveys it has been discovered that the court area forms a rectangular trapezoid. Its average dimension is approximately 300 x 500 meters, which equals approximately 150 dunams (see Fig.1). (2)
The court differs in its shape and dimension from what we know of it in the historical literature.
According to the Mishna, "The Temple on the Mount was 500 x 500 ama," (3) which is approximately 250 x 250 meters, (4)
and its area equals approximately 60 dunams.
According to Josephus Flavius, the sizes of the area was "ris by ris." (5) This is approximately 190 x 190 meters and its area approximately 36 dunams. He also mentioned that the length of the royal colonnade was a ris (approximately 190 m) and it continued from the Eastern Valley to the Western Valley. (6) Today the length of the southern wall is approximately 290 m.
Despite the fact that the dimensions mentioned by the two sources differ, both sources describe the court area as square shaped with a length of 200 meter 10% (according to a cubit equal to 44 cm, or about 18 inches).
The dimension of the Temple Mount area today is 3 times larger than what was described by the sources and the shape differs as well. (See Fig. 2) Consequently, some theories have been developed in an effort to locate the temple in the court area of Moriah Court (Haram Es-Sharif). The four main theories are as follows: the Central system, the Middle system, the Northern system and the Southern system.
According to the Central system the altar was located on the rock inside the Dome of the Rock (7) (see Fig. 3) whereas the Middle system (a variation on the Central system) places the holy of the holies on this site (8) (see Fig. 4). According to the Northern system, the holy of the holies was located on the stone inside the Ghost Dome situated to the north of the Dome of the Rock (9) (see Fig. 5). Lastly, the southern system places the temple near El Kas fountain to the south of the Dome of the Rock (10) (see Fig. 6).
The system most generally accepted by scholars and the rabbinate is the Middle system, (11) which located the Holy of Holies at the site of the Dome of the Rock.
This article will examine the four above mentioned systems, as well as the system which sites the levels of the Temple of the Mount according to the Robinson's Arch (12) and the levels of the temple according to Captain Warren's system. (13)
Scholars today disagree not only about the location of the temple, but also about the length of the cubit which was the element of measurement used during the time of the Second Temple. For this research the measurement information is arranged in tables according to the different systems using the dimensions and levels in meters according to typical cubit - a cubit of 44 cm.; of 50 cm.; 56 cm.; and 60 cm. (14)
The sources for the various dimensions and levels were collected from descriptions in the Mishna and in the writings of Josephus Flavius. Sources for more recent dimensions and levels of the court area were surveys done by Warren and Wilson in the past century. (15) Other surveys were done in the Western Wall (16) by the Foundation for the Heritage of the Western Wall. Still more surveys were conducted by the author (17) and further information was collected from the map of Jerusalem which was published by the Department of Surveys. (See Tables 1-13. These Tables are listed, and linked, at the end of this report).
Using three-dimensional geometry we can study the proposed locations of the temple and its internal levels. By using this system we will be able to examine the spatial relationship between the functions outside the area and their comparison, the historical descriptions of Jerusalem with what we know today of its topography.
The difference in the levels between the Hulda and Ciponus Gates as compared to the level of the temple.
Located in the southern wall of the area are the Double and Triple Gates which are recognized as the Hulda Gates. (18) The Barclay Gate, which is recognized as the ancient Ciponus Gate, is located in the Western Wall. (19) According to the description in the Mishna and Josephus Flavius, 39 steps led up from the main court gates to the level of the temple. The distance between these two levels was 22 "cubit" which equals approximately 10 to 13 meters (see Table 5M). (20)
According to all the systems except the Southern system, the distance between the levels of the Double Gate and the temple was approximately 17 to 23 meters (see Table 13A). If we assume that the Barclay Gate was the entrance to the court then, the difference between the entrance gate, and the temple level was approximately 23 to 27 meters (see Table 13C). This means that the level is twice as high as was mentioned in the sources. In order to resolve the problem of the difference in the heights of the levels, the scholars and scientists assumed that there were tunnels which led from the Hulda and Ciponus Gates to the temple court (21) (see Fig. 7). However, in the description in past literature there is no mention of such tunnels.
The tunnels which exist today, leading from the Double and Triple Gates, are arched constructions from a later period and we can not assume that at the time of the Second Temple there were such tunnels (22) (see Fig. 8). According to the descriptions in the literature, it seems that people gained entrance directly to the temple court area coming up from the City of David, through the Hulda and Ciponus Gates directly into the temple courts without traversing intervening tunnels behind the gates (which tunnels are there today). (23) This means that if the Double and Triple Gates (+725 meters above sea level) are the Hulda Gate, and the Barclay Gate (+725 m) is the Ciponus Gate, then the level of these three gates is at the original level of the Temple Mount (24) and we have to lower the level of the Temple Mount by at least 11 to 16 meters from the currently existing court level (+737 meters above sea level). (see Table 1D).
Antonia's Fortress was in the Northwestern corner of the Temple Mount. The purpose of building the fortress was to protect the Temple Mount from the North, the least protected side of the city for foreign invasions. The fortress was first built by the Hasmoneans and was enlarged and reinforced by Herod the Great. During the time of Nehemiah the area was occupied by Hananel's Tower also called Birah. The Hasmoneans called the fortress Baris, and it was Herod the Great who renamed it after Mark Antonio. We have no information about the dimensions of the fortress except the information given to us by Josephus Flavius regarding the height of the fortress and its towers. The dimensions given are 115 m from East to West, Western side 35 m and Eastern side 42 m, with four towers.
The rock on which the fortress was built was 50 cubits high (22-31 m). The height of the fortress itself was 40 cubits (18-25 m.) and it had 4 towers, one in each corner. The height of three of the towers was 50 cubits and the fourth tower was 70 cubits (25) (see Table 5A).
The fortress was used by Herod, followed by the Romans, and the Zealots (the Kanaim) when the latter fought against the Romans. in the siege of 70 C.E. Titus entered the Temple Mount and the temple itself only after he succeeded in conquering Antonia's Fortress. (26) According to the scholars, the Antonia fortress was located in the area of the present El Omariah school which is in the Northeastern corner of the Temple Mount courts (Fig. 9). (27)
Checking the levels of the existing court shows that in the Northwestern corner of the area there is no such rocky hill with a height of 25 m. Indeed the El Omariah building is located on a rock, but this rock is no more than 7 m high in comparison with its surroundings (see Table 1N: O). So, where is the rocky hill on which Antonia's Fortress was built? If we assume that the rock of El-Omariah is the rock on which Antonia'a Fortress stood, then the level of the Temple Mount should be approximately 25 m from the head of the rock, or about 18 m lower than the level of the Moriah Court.
The Water Tunnels Supply The Temples
Water tunnels (aqueducts) supplied water to Jerusalem. The aqueducts began in the area of the Hebron Mountains South of Jerusalem. The water was collected at Solomon's Pools in Bethlehem and from there the tunnels gradually sloped toward Jerusalem (28) (see Fig. 10 and Fig. 11). The later upper tunnel brought the water to the area of David's Tower, or the Citadel, as it is referred to today. The older, lower tunnel supplied water to the Temple Mount. This tunnel cut through the foot of the mountain on which the Jewish Quarter is now located and from there it enters into the Temple Mount through the Wilson Bridge (29) Visistors to the Western Wall who desend by the steps at the Southern end of the Kotel from the Jewish Quarter can see this aqueduct today, about half-way down the stairs. (see Fig. 12). According to the description in the Mishna, the purpose of the water tunnel was to supply water for the located above the Water Gate. (30) Another purpose of the water tunnel was to cleanse the sacrificial court area of the animals' blood. (31)
For the purposes of the Temple rituals the water had to be "living water," that is, fresh flowing water, not water lifted from a cistern.
According to all proposed systems for locating the Temples, except the Southern system, there is no way to bring the water from the aqueduct to the Ritual Bath (mikveh) by gravity as is required by religious law. (32) The aqueduct is lower by approximately 15-20 m from the level of the Ritual Bath (see Fig. 13 and 13.G). Also, the cleansing of the Azarah (the priest's court) by the water aqueduct is impossible because the aqueduct is lower by 2-8 m. from the level of this court according to the other systems (see Table 13.I).
In order to bring the water to the High Priest's mikveh, located above the Water Gate, and to enable cleansing of the court, we have to lower the level of the Temple Mount by 16-20 m. from the level of the existing court (see Table 11. O:Q) (see Fig. 14).
The view of King Herod Agrippa into the Temple area
Josephus Flavius describes as follows:
King (Herod) Agrippa built a huge hole in his palace which was located near the existus. The palace had belonged to the Hasmonean family and was built on a high place. The king was able to observe from the palace what was happening in the temple. The people of Jerusalem objected to this because it was not the tradition to observe what was taking place in the temple, especially the animal sacrifices. (33) Consequently, they built a high wall in the inner court above the western arcade (34) (see Fig. 15).
What did Agrippa see?
Herod Agrippa's palace was West of the Temple Mount, at or near the present day Citadel and Jaffa Gate. The altar in the temple cannot be directly seen looking from the West because the temple building prevents any view (see Fig. 16). The only way to see something going on in the Temple Courts is through the passageways between the temple wall and the walls of the court. If we were high enough, from the North we could see into the sacrifice-slaughter area and viewing from the South we could see the altar's ramp (see Fig. 17). Moreover, without knowing exactly the location of Herod Agrippa's palace, using vertical sections, we discovered that the western court wall prevented any view from the western court even without the addition of walls (see Fig. 18). In order to have seen what went on in the court, a building whose height was 31-47 m. above the ground (10-16 floors) was needed (see Table 12). Without mechanical equipment it would have been very difficult to climb to such a height, especially when concerning a building whose purpose was domestic and residential.
Even from the highest towers in Jerusalem, the Phasael and Hippicus Towers, there was no way to see what was being done in the temple court during the time of the Second Temple. The height of these towers was 70-90 cubits, (35) approximately 35-45 m (see Fig. 19). It is important to mention that according to the Northern system for placement of the Temples, the level of the Priest's court would have been lower by 10 m from the level of the current court and from a building whose height was 23 m (~7 floors) the sacrificing in the court could be seen (see Table 11 and 13) (see Fig. 20).
The level of the Hulda and Barclay Gates, the level of Antonia's Fortress, the level of the Aqueduct, and Agrippa's view each proves independently that the level of the Temple Mount should be be lowered.
Where can we locate the temple in lower place in the current court? In the center of the present Temple Mount courts the area is rocky, i.e., bedrock lies near the surface. In fact we can see the bedrock outcropping well above the floor level in Dome of the Rock (see Fig. 21). Even to the North of the Dome, bedrock lies just under the paving stones all the way to the Dome of the Tablets (or "Spirits") and again in the areas which are close to the El Omariah School (36) (see Fig. 22). Nowadays, the area just North of the Platform is covered with garden earth where there is a known ancient moat. However, the only place in which we can locate the temple in a sufficently lower place is the southern area between the El Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in the area of the El Kas ("The Trophy") (see Fig. 23). South of the Dome of the Rock platform the visitor descends a number of stairs. Beneath his feet the bedrock drops sharply as one proceeds towards El Aksa mosque. As is well known, the Mosque itself is supported on tall pillars, many meters high - as is the whole Southern end of the Temple Mount platform. Outside the Southern Wall of the Temple Mount, the bedrock of Mount Moriah drops even more rapidly down to the City of David.
The Ancient Moat
According to the British research from the last century, there is a moat between the Dome of the Rock and the El-Omariah School, in the Northeastern section of the court area. (37) The moat is covered today and can not be seen. According to the other systems for placement of the Temples - the Central, Middle and Northern - this moat would be located between Antonia's Fortress and the Temple (see Fig. 24).
On the other hand, in the literary sources there is no mention at all that there was such a moat between those two structures. Antonia's Fortress and the Temple Mount were connected. There were steps which one could descend, from the Fortress to the arcades of the Temple Mount. (38) (See Fig. 25)
According to Josephus Flavius, there was a moat whose location was North of Antonia's Fortress. (39) If we will assume that this moat is the same moat that was mentioned in the literary sources, then Antonia's Fortress, which was built on a rock, was South of the moat. (40)
The only outcropping rock which can be found South of this moat is the bedrock of the Dome of the Rock so we can assume that Antonia's Fortress was built on this rock (see Fig. 26). According to the sources, the Temple Mount was south of the rock, which means that the Temple Mount was located south of the Temple of the Dome of the Rock.
The Southern system, which places the Temple Mount south of the Dome of the Rock, substantiates the above mentioned claim that Antonia's Fortress was located in the rock of the Dome of the Rock.
The levels of the Moriah Court and how they correlate to the literary sources by assuming that the cubit was 44 cm.
The level of the Temple Mount according to Antonia's Fortress. The height of the rock in the Dome of the Rock was +743.7 meters above sea level (See Table 1.A). According to our assumption, this is the rock on which stood Antonia's Fortress. The difference in heights between the rock and its surrounding was 50 cubits, (41) which equals 22 m. Therefore, the level of the Temple Mount, which was connected to Antonia's Fortress, was +721.7 meters above sea level.
The level of the Temple according to the Water Aqueduct. The level of the Water Aqueduct was 737.5 m (see Table 3.D). The difference in the heights between the Temple Mount and the Water Aqueduct was 39 cubit which equals 17.2 m. (see Table 5.N). Therefore the level of the Temple Mount, according to the Water Aqueduct, was +720.3 meters above sea level.
The level of the Barclay Gate. The level of the Barclay Gate, according to Warren, was +721.3 meters (see Table 1.J). The level of Barclay Gate, according to current surveys, is +720.1 m (see Table 1.J).
From all of this information we can therefore conclude that there is a correlation between the literary descriptions about the Water Aqueduct and Antonia's Fortress, and evidence in the area itself. We can claim that the level of the Temples was +721 meters above sea level +/- 70 cm. (see Fig. 27).
The entrance to the Temple Mount from the South was direct without any need of tunnels. The rock on which Antonia's Fortress was built is at the site of the Dome of the Rock. Its height, above the surroundings, was 50 cubits. The Lower Water Aqueduct brought water, by gravity, to the High Priest's ritual bath (mikveh) and cleansed the court area. Agrippa could see the court from a building whose height was no more than 23 m.
A by-product of this research is finding the dimensions of the cubit, a problem which concerns many researchers. (42) Using a cubit of 44 cm. (the Roman cubit) maximizes the correlation between the evidence in the area itself and descriptions in the literature (see Table 13).
One of the problems in the investigation of the Second Temple period is the location of the Hakra. According to the literary sources, the ancient Hakra Tower was south of the Temple Mount, but North of the City of David. "After he destroyed (Antiochus) its walls he built the Hazra in the lower city because it was higher than the temple itself." (43) Also in the description of the "Great Revolution", approximately 70 A.D., it appears that the Hazra was south of the Temple Mount. (44) Although the evidence is unequivocal, scientists in the past centuries remained uncertain about the location of the Hakra, citing almost any area in Jerusalem as a possibility. (45) (See Fig. 28)
The reason for this confusion is the contradiction between the evidence about the height of the Hakra relative to the temple, on the one hand, and the City of David, which was built on a much lower level, on the other hand. Therefore the scientists tried to find other places to locate the Hakra in Jerusalem from which there would be a view of the Temple Mount. According to our assumption, the level of the Temples was more than 20 m lower than the level of the Dome of the Rock. Therefore we can locate the Hakra on a small hill south of the Temple Mount in the area of the present Double and Triple Gates. From there one could view the Temple as it was described in the literary sources (see Fig. 29). This hill was removed during the reign of Simon in the Hasmonean period. (46) The evidence of Josephus Flavius about the Hakra substantiates our assumptions that the level of the Temple Mount was lower that the level of the court today.
The Water Cisterns
In the Moriah Court there are currently more than thirty cisterns, some of them are small and some of them are large. The cisterns were checked and measured only in the last century (47) (see Fig. 30). According to the drawing of the cisterns we can see that the Northern cisterns are smaller in diameter and their shape is regular, square, round, oval shaped or other. In contrast to this, most of the Southern cisterns are very big and their shape is irregular or amorphic. The average depth of the cisterns is approximately 16 m (see Fig. 31). May be the fallen stones of the temple and court created holes which were later plastered and used as water cisterns.
Radar Examination of the Moriah Court
In June 1990, radar examinations were conducted through the outer walls of the Moriah Court. The instruments sent waves at a frequency of 90-900 Mhz. which recognized the differentiation of dielectric differences. There is dielectric constant in cavities and voids is 1.0, but in bedrock or soil is as high as 9-11. By taking advantage of these dielectric discontinuities we can graphically identify cavities and structures inside the Moriah Court. Radar examinations were made through the Western, Southern, and part of the Eastern walls. (48) (see Fig. 32).
The examinations prove that beneath the levels of the Hulda Gates there are large empty voids> These may be the great arches supporting the present Temple Mount platform at its Souther end, which are described in the Mishna. (49) Above the Hulda Gate the area is filled with artifacts (rubble) and perhaps this broken rock is part of the temple and its court (see Fig. 33). These examinations prove the history that the original level of the Temple Mount was the level of the Hulda and Barclay Gates.
By using a 3-dimensional system, we examined the spatial relationship of the functions outside the court and their relationships to the Temple Courts, we can determine with considerable confidence the location of the Temples and its associated levels, and the location of Antonia's Fortress. More than that, we can establish with greater confidence the length of the cubit which was used by the temple builders.
In order to continue investigating the subject, especially taking into consideration the political and religious sensitivities to this area, we are forced to rely on non-intrusive geophysical examinations such as: radar tests, magnetic and seismic tests, and infra-red imagery. These on-going examinations are expected to provide us with much additional information about the Temple site and its present contents, and will help reveal the secrets of the Temple Mount.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LIST OF TABLES
The tables referenced in this report are accessible by links as follows:
Table I. Elevations on the Temple Mount
Table II. Data about the Wilson and Robinson Arches
Table III. Water Facilities around the Temple Mount and Jerusalem
Table IV. Data About the Temple
Table V. Heights on the Temple Mount from Literary Sources
Table VI. Levels on the Temple Mount and Courts Referenced to Robinson's Arch
Table VII. Levels on the Temple Mount and Courts according to Warren
Table VIII. Levels on the Temple Mount and Court in the Central System
Table IX. Levels on the Temple Mount and Court in the Middle System
Table X. Levels on the Temple Mount and Court in the Northern System
Table XI. Levels on the Temple Mount and Court in the Southern System
Table XII. Calculating the Height of Herod Agrippa's Palace
Table XIII. Comparison of all Suggested Temple Locations
1. Robinson & Smith, Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1838, Crocher & New Breuster, 1856; Man Jerusalem and Zein Gerlande Guersloch, K.M. Kenyon, Jerusalem Excavating 3000 Years of History, London, 1974; The City of Jerusalem, London, 1974; De Vogue, Le Temple de Jerusalem, A. Vincent & Steve; Jerusalem de L'Ancien Testament, Vols. 1-4; C. Warren & C.R. Conder, The Survey of Western Palestine, Jerusalem, London, 1894. 2. See map of Jerusalem, the Old City. scale 1:2500, The Department of Surveys 1985. 3. "Mishna Middot," Chapter B, paragraph A. 4. By assuming that the length of the cubit was 50 cm. Later we will relate to the difference opinions of the cubit. 5. Josephus Flavius, Early History of the Jews (translated into Hebrew by A. Shaleet), Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, 1978, Vol. 15, Ch. 11, Par. 3 (hereinafter: "Early History"). 6. Ibid., Par. 3 and 5. 7. G. Delman, Annual Publication of Yeshiva Etz Haim, Jerusalem, 1873. Shick C. Der in Jerusalem 1890, criticism of this system see Koren, Temple Court of God, p. 306. 8. E. Yadin, "The First Temple," Book of Jerusalem, (pub. In Hebrew), 1955, pp. 176-190. M. Yadin, "The First Temple," Book of Jerusalem, (pub. in Hebrew), 1955, pp. 397, 415 (hereinafter: Avi Yonah, "The Temple House"). Tikuchinsky, The Holy City and the Temple, (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1969, pp. 11-15. Z. Koren , The Courts of God's Temple (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1977, pp. 301-306. (hereinafter: Koren, The Courts of God's Temple). 9. A. Kaufman, "The Second Temple, its Shape and its Location," The Temple Mount, it's Location and it's Borders ; Lecture Notes; April 1975, Jerusalem , 1975, pp. 39-46. 10. G. Kornfield, The Temple Mount is in the South of the Dome of the Rock, Tel Aviv, 1987. J. Ferguson, The Temples of the Jews and Other Buildings in the Harim Area of Jerusalem, London, 1878, plate VII. 11. Koren, The Courts of God's Temple , pp. 274-276. 12. M. Ben-Dov, The Dig at the Temple Mount, (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1872, p. 102 (hereinafter: Ben Dov, The Dig at the Temple Mount). 13. Warren, The Underground Jerusalem (translated by Shulamit Harran), Tel-Aviv, 1987, p. 67 (hereinafter: Warren, The Underground Jerusalem). 14.- There are many theories concerning the lengths of the cubit, but we can assume that the cubit was 50 cm.+/- 20%. For the this article we have chosen the cubit as follows: a) 1 cubit = 44.4 cm, which is the length of the Roman cubit. b) 1 cubit = 50.0 cm. the length of the cubit according to Warren (Warren, The Underground Jerusalem, p. 67) c) 1 cubit = 56 cm. the length of the cubit according to the dimensions of the Barclay Gate (Z. Koren, The Courts of God's Temple, p. 273) d) 1 cubit = 60.0 cm. (Tikuchinsky, The Holy City and the Temple, Part 4, p. 6) In order to make things simpler we can assume that the cubit that was used by J. Flavius and mentioned in the Mishna are the same dimensions. There is some evidence which supports this assumption: a) The dimensions of the Temple according to the sources are 100/100/100 cubits. (Mishna Middot, Ch. 4, Par. 6) Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, Vol. 5, Ch. 5, Par. 8 (hereinafter: War) b) The difference of the levels between the Priest's Court and the Temple Court was 16 cubits according to the (Mishna Middot, Ch. B, Par. 3, 4, 6_ and according to J. Flavius (Wars, Vol 5, Ch. 5, Par. 2) Another assumption is that the temples that are described in the Mishna and in J. Flavius' books are one and the same; Herod's Temple. The evidence which proves this assumption is:
1) Both temples, as described by the Mishna and Josephus Flavius, each possessed a height of 100 cubits and we know that the temple that had existed before Herod was only 60 ama high (History 15:11:1). 2) The dimensions of the Temple Mount according to the two descriptions were 200 +/- 10%. According to J. Flavius this "ris by ris" which equals 187 m. by 187 m. (History 11:3). According to the Mishna the dimensions of the Temple Mount were 500 by 500 ama which equals 220 by 220 m. (according to a cubit of 45 cm.) Mishna Middot, Ch. 2. Par. A). But in any case we have to emphasize that there are discrepancies between these two sources, e.g., the dimensions of the altar and the height of the gates, etc. (see A. Hilliseimer, The Dimensions of Herod's Temple, (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1974, pp. 26-61). 15. Jerusalem Excavations by L. Ch. Warren R. E. 1867-1870, Palestine Exploration Fund. 16. The survey was conducted by Zion Sharon in the year 1990 by the Wailing Wall Heritage Fund. 17. The survey was conducted by Hagai Caspi in the year 1990 at the request of Tuvia Sagiv. 18. Mr. Avi Yona, "The Second Temple," The Book of Jerusalem, (pub. in Hebrew), p. 470. 19. Ben Dov, The Excavation Nearby the Temple Mount, (published in Hebrew). p. 142. 20. 6 cubits between the Women's Court and the Israeli Court
(Medot, Ch. 2 Par. 5).
7.5 cubits between the Women's Court and the Israeli Court
plus (Medot, Ch. 2 Par. 5).
2.5 cubits between the Israeli Court and the Priest's Court
(Medot, Ch. 2 Par. 6).
6 cubits between the Priest's Court and the level of the temple
(Medot, Ch. 3 Par. 6).
- 22.0 cubits
21. Tunnels B. Mazar, "Excavation and Discoveries," Jerusalem in Herod's Time, (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1986, pp. 16-66. 22. Dating the Tunnels Vogue, M., Compte de la Temple de Jerusalem, Paris, 1864-65, p. 8. 23. "About the fourth side of the temple walls which face the south, in it there were gates in the center and nearby was the Basilica of the King." (History, 15:11:5). From the text it is evident that there were no tunnels from the south in order to enter the Temple Mount. "In Western side of the wall there were four gates; one gate to the King's Palace through the valley, two gates to the 'Parbar', and the last gate to the other part of the city and was separated by steps that led down to the valley and then up to the city." (History 15:11:5). There is no description in this text of a tunnel which could confirm the restoration theories that state that there was a tunnel from the Barclay Gate to the Temple Mount Court. 24. The difference in the levels between the Hulda Gate (+725 m) and the Barclay Gate (+720 m) is 5 m. The distance between the two gates in 100 m, which means that the difference is a 5% gradual slope. The difference between the levels of the Barclay and Warren Gates (+728 m) is 8 m. The distance between them is 150 m which means that the difference is a 5% gradual slope. We have to relate to all the gates as one level. Comparing the gates of the Robinson and Wilson Arch which are at the level of +/-736 m and +/-737 m respectively. 25. War, 5:5:8. 26. War, 6:2:7 27. P. Benior, "The Archeological Restoration of Antonia's Fortress," Antiquities, (pub. in Hebrew), 1963, Vols. 19-20, p. 127. 28 . A. Mazar, "Review About Water Aqueducts to Jerusalem," Ancient Water Aqueducts in Israel, (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem, 1989, p. 187, (hereinafter: A. Mazar, Water Aqueduct ). 29. A. Mazar, Water Aqueduct, p. 188. 30. This is the conclusion of Abaye, a Jewish sage of the 4th century, " What comes out is that the Ein Etam (the spring of Etam) is 23 cubits higher than the Azara." 31. Tosefta Psachim, Ch. 3, Par. 12, "How is the Azara cleaned? Seal the area and let the water from the aqueduct enter till it becomes clean like milk." 32. We have to emphasize that there is no religious commandment which states that the high priest should wash himself in spring water. 33. The translation of the Greek word ____________ means the act of killing the animal and the act of placing the animal on the altar. 34. Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 20:8:11. 35. War, 5:4:3. 36. See Warren map No. _____. 37. D. Bahat, "Warren's Excavations in Jerusalem," Between Mt. Hermon and the Sinai Desert. 38. War 5:5:8. 39. War 5:4:2. 40. Perhaps the walls of the higher court are the remains of Antonia's Fortress? 41. See Table 5A. War 5:5:8. 42. See Footnote 14. 43. History, 12:9:3. 44. War 5:4:1. War 5:6:1. War 5:9:1. 45. Yoram Tzafir, "About the location of the Hakra in Jerusalem." Cathedra, Vol. 14, 1980. pp. 17-40. "Jerusalem through its Generations." The Open University Bulletin, Vol. 2, 1984, p. 124. 46. History, 13:6:7. 47. M. Hecker, "Supplying Water to Jerusalem in Ancient Times." The Book of Jerusalem (pub. in Hebrew), Jerusalem: 1956, p. 210. 48. The survey was conducted I. Magli in the year 1990, at the request of Tuvia Sagiv. 49. Mishna, "Red Cow (Heifer)." Ch. 3, Par. 3.
Interview: Dr. Gabi Barkay On Temple Mount Excavations IMRA interviewed archeologist Dr. Gabi Barkay of Bar Illan University, Land of Israel Studies Department, in English, on 24 January. IMRA: Do you have a sense as to how much damage was caused by the excavations at the Temple Mount?
BARKAY: No I don't have. Nobody knows what was destroyed there and that is the tragedy. There was no recording and the dig was done clandestinely at night by heavy machinery and trucks and nobody knows. Only the result is there. IMRA: I have spoken with people from the Wakf and they say that if you look at photographs from 60 or 80 years ago that the area excavated didn't exist. That the area being excavated was basically modern landfill. BARKAY: This is outrageous. Totally incorrect. The Temple Mount has never been touched archeologically. Its surface has not even been properly surveyed. Nothing is known about the Temple Mount and all the aerial photographs that we have since the beginning of photography all indicate that that area did not change much since antiquity. What was done there is destruction. IMRA: Is there any indication of what was destroyed from the excavated material dumped in the Kidron Valley? BARKAY: By the way, the illegal dumping in the Kidron Valley that ruins the landscape there is another violation. It is very strange that nobody has done anything against the illegal activity of the excavation or the dumping. IMRA: Have you had a look at the excavated material now dumped in the Kidron Valley? BARKAY: Yes, as have others. I found pottery from many different periods in the dumped material going back to the 8th century BC - First Temple Period and onwards. I saw this pottery with my own eyes. IMRA: What information was lost by seeing the pottery only after it was dumped in Kidron? BARKAY: Wherever you dig in Jerusalem has a mixture pottery and finds from different periods. This is what tells us about the history of a particular place. The exact position of the various pieces of pottery vis-a-is each other and the earthen layers, which include the pottery are clues to the history of the sight. If this is eliminated then we don't have the history. The Temple Mount is almost three times the size of the City of David and we know nothing about it, as it was never excavated. It is one of the most essential parts of the ancient story of Jerusalem. Anything we learn about it is new and here we had an opportunity.
Nobody said that there can't be a new entrance to a mosque built - just that it could have been done more carefully, honoring the cultural values of the past of Jerusalem and honoring the law.
IMRA: What would you say about the work of the Antiquities Department? BARKAY: Their job, by law, is to safeguard the antiquities of the country and they aren't doing it. They have somebody having higher authority disturbing them. Telling them what to do and about what to be quiet. ++++++++++++ Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jan. 3, 2006 14:28 | Updated Jan. 3, 2006 18:40 Israel denies Temple Mount excavation By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
Israel dismissed as "blatant lies" and "preposterous and unfounded allegations" claims voiced by the top Muslim religious authority in Jerusalem and the firebrand leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel Tuesday that Israel built a synagogue and was trying to destroy a mosque on the Temple Mount by its recently-completed construction of a visitor's center near the Western Wall.
Islamic leaders have been fuming for weeks now over Israel's recent construction of the visitor's center, adjacent to the Western Wall tunnels, angered over the project which highlights Judaism's connection to Jerusalem and the Western Wall.
The lavish new state of the art tourist center at the Western Wall tunnels incorporates ancient and modern Jewish history and includes an elaborate sound and light show that highlight both recent discoveries of artifacts and infrastructure dating back thousands of years.
The high-tech center, which aims to link the past with the future in an effort to reach out to Israeli youth, includes one of the world's oldest aqueducts, a ritual bath from the Second Temple period, a First Temple wall, as well as exhibits on modern day Jewish history, such as the Holocaust and Israel's fallen soldiers.
The top Muslim clergyman, or mufti, of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, on Tuesday called the archaeological project an "aggression" that threatened the mosque compound and demanded an immediate end to the digs.
"These violations and aggression lead to tension in the region," he said at a Jerusalem press conference.
Sheik Raed Salah, a radical leader of Israel's Islamic Movement, who was freed from prison last year after serving a two year sentence for a series of security offenses including financing Hamas activities called the construction a "black stain" on Israel and accused the government of plotting to destroy the mosques to build a new temple.
Salah who heads the extremist northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Israeli Arabs which denies Israel's legitimacy has repeatedly warned supporters in the past that "Al-Aksa is in danger" and that Israeli extremists intended to attack the mosque at the Jerusalem holy site.
"These are lies, and there is nothing behind what they are saying," Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch said Tuesday.
"Archaeological excavations have never been carried out, and are not being carried out today, under the Temple Mount compound," Israel's Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
Though nearby, the visitor's center is hundreds of meters away from the Temple Mount compound.
The Islamic leaders' tirade comes just weeks after the Palestinian Authority's official website lambasted the construction project in a report that called into question Judaism's very connection to Jerusalem.
Temple Mount Artifacts Removed Archaeologists upset over unsupervised excavations By Gordon Govier
In the middle of a December night, a long line of trucks hauled several hundred loads of dirt from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and dumped them into the nearby Kidron Valley.
The Muslim Waqf, which oversees the Temple Mount, says it is constructing a much-needed secondary entrance to the underground Marwani Mosque, located in the Solomon's Stables area.
But archaeologists want to know why unsupervised excavations are continuing at one of the world's most sensitive political and religious sites. Prime Minister Ehud Barak granted permission for the construction with the provision that it be done under archaeological supervision. There is no indication, however, that any archaeologists are involved in the project.
Some archaeologists and Jewish leaders also raise concerns that the Waqf is attempting to remove any trace of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount for political reasons. When the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) seemed unconcerned about the debris, Bar Ilan University student Zachy Zweig assembled a group of volunteers and headed for the Kidron Valley.
But Zweig's salvage mission stopped on the second day, when IAA inspectors confiscated pottery his team had collected and ordered Zweig and his team out of the area.
"It's absurd," Zweig says. "The Waqf, in charge of the Temple Mount, can ruin any archaeological relics that they want and throw it away, and we cannot even look around the garbage of the archaeological damage?"
Zweig further antagonized the IAA when he presented some of his findings at the university. In an interview, he reported that 40 percent of the recovered pottery was from the First Temple Period. Other artifacts dated back to the 1500s.
Police raided Zweig's apartment in early January and held him for questioning. He refused to cooperate and was released.
Israel's High Court of Justice rejected a petition by a Jewish group called Temple Mount Faithful to halt the Temple Mount digging. Zweig has taken his campaign to the Internet, posting photos of the antiquities for others to study.
Zweig's site, The Temple Mount Dumps Survey Report, has dozens of photos as well as news about the excavations and political turmoil surrounding them. "Due to my arrest there is a delay in finishing the report," he writes plainly.
The Israel Antiquities Authority's site has a statement about the Temple Mount excavation and development work.
The Origin of the Phoenix as a symbol in Phoenixmasonry
The old mythological legend of the Phoenix is a familiar one. The bird was described as of the size of an eagle, with a head finely crested, a body covered with beautiful plumage, and eyes sparkling like stars. She was said to live six hundred years in the wilderness, when she built for herself a funeral pile of aromatic woods, which she ignited with the fanning of her wings, and emerged from the flames with a new life. Hence the phoenix has been adopted universally as a symbol of immortality. Higgins (Anacalypsis, ii., 441) says that the phoenix is the symbol of an ever-revolving solar cycle of six hundred and eight years, and refers to the Phoenician word phen, which signifies a cycle. Aumont, the first Grand Master of the Templars after the martyrdom of DeMolay, and called the "Restorer of the Order," took, it is said, for his seal, a phoenix brooding on the flames, with the motto, "Ardet ut vivat" - She burns that she may live. The phoenix was adopted at a very early period as a Christian symbol, and several representations of it have been found in the catacombs. Its ancient legend, doubtless, caused it to be accepted as a symbol of Jesus Christ's resurrection and immortality.
Here at Phoenixmasonry, we believe that each of us has had the feeling of being consumed by fire. That the problems of our lives have left us in the pit of despair, the ashes of destruction, although it may not have been the fire that creates those ashes. Adversity and the overcoming of it makes us stronger. Just as the beautiful Temple of King Solomon rose from the rubbish and ashes of barbarous forces to become an even more magnificent and resplendent structure, our belief and faith that Jesus died for our sins allows us to rise up from the ashes to become stronger and better Phoenixmasons.
The Meaning of Masonry
In all the rich symbolism of Ancient Craft Masonry two symbols, or symbolic themes, predominate. One is the "Search for Light"; the other is the "Labor of Building". The source of light is the Holy Bible, and the grand representation of the builder's art is King Solomon's Temple. Searching persistently and building carefully, the candidate travels slowly towards the East. As he pursues his quest for light and more light and still further light in Masonry, he learns by the way to use the working tools of the stone craftsman, until at last he finds himself portraying the character of the greatest of all legendary builders, the master architect of King Solomon's Temple Hiram Abiff. Searching and building, light and the Temple, - the two dominant Masonic themes are distinct but not separate, complementary rather than supplementary.
And the search and the labor are not completed by the candidate within the Lodge. Light is revealed, and the sacred source of all light is clearly indicated, but the search for complete illumination must be eternal. The Temple in the Masonic ritual is almost but not quite completed; the allegory rises from a physical to a spiritual Temple; "a house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Regardless of symbolic revelations in Masonic degrees apart from the Lodge, the unending search and that labor toward perfection, begun in the Lodge, must continue with the initiated Mason throughout his life.
The Tradition of Solomon
It was natural that imaginative stone Mason's, long before the development of anything like our modern fraternity, should have felt a kinship with the great builders of all ages. It was natural also that they should have acknowledged a peculiar attraction for the most famous and glorious of all building enterprises, King Solomon's Temple and Citadel. Interest and attraction for the wonderful structure on Mt. Moriah have increased rather than diminished during the six hundred and more years of recorded Masonic history, until today the Temple of Solomon is the spiritual home of Freemasonry. What do we know about the Temple, its form, its beauties, its historical and religious background?
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness
A thorough understanding of the details of the primitive Tabernacle of Israel is essential to grasp fully the fundamental principles involved in the construction of King Solomon's Temple. An intimate knowledge of the Tabernacle's contents and their relation to one another is necessary to comprehend the ritualistic system developed by Solomon and his priests. A study of the ceremonies, the sacrificial offerings, and the priestly ministrations of the Tabernacle will reveal the great spiritual mystery of the Indwelling God, as made manifest by Moses during the sojourn in the wilderness.
Moses, during his prolonged stay of forty days and forty nights on Mt. Sinai, appears to have visualized the form which the Tabernacle should take. The subsequent building of the Tabernacle, the system of worship adopted, and the structure of government developed by Moses under divine guidance, have inspired his race and impressed the whole of mankind. Moses chose as his chief architect, Bezaleel, a direct descendant of Terah, one of the master builders of Ur of the Chaldeans, and as chief assistant, Aholiab, also a direct descendent of Terah and by marriage of the line of Tubal-cain, traditionally the first instructor of artificers in brass and other metals. Bezaleel was unusually endowed with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding and knowledge. These three outstanding geniuses gave to the world the most beautiful and magnificent religious structure ever conceived and erected for a nomadic people. Exodus 24-31; Genesis 4:22.
Materials for the Tabernacle
Gold, silver, brass, and iron; silks, fine linen and a fabric of goats' hair; rams' skins, and badgers' skins; shittum wood or acacia timber; onyx stone, sardius, topaz, carbuncle, emerald, sapphire, diamond, ligure, agate, amethyst, beryl and jasper; also blue, purple and scarlet dyes; all of these went into the construction of the Tabernacle. Exodus 25:3; 35: 5-10.
How the Materials were Acquired
The Israelites, a nomadic tribe roaming about through Chaldea, Assyria, and Caanan. and finally locating in the land of Goshen in Egypt, naturally accumulated wealth by trading with the natives through whose countries they passed. They increased their flocks through attention and by seeking the well-watered localities for pasture. They industriously converted the wool from the sheep, and the hair from the goats and camels, into cloth, and wove grass fibers into fabrics, from all of which they made tents, rugs, clothing, and other useful articles. But, possibly, their greatest wealth was acquired just before they left Egypt, when we are told that they "spoiled the Egyptians" Exodus 11: 2, 12: 35-36.
Now, when the Lord spoke through Moses, requesting an offering from every man who would give with his heart and in accordance with his means for the building of the Tabernacle, the people responded with gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen; goats' hair, rams' skins, shittim wood, oil, spices, sweet incense and precious stones. In addition, every wise hearted among them gave personal services as needed. So great was their response that Moses finally gave commandment, saying: "Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the Sanctuary." So the people were restrained from bringing more wealth.
The Architecture of the Tabernacle
The Tabernacle, Tent, or Portable Temple, being so constructed that it could be readily taken down, moved from place to place, and erected at will, was especially adapted to the needs of a nomadic people. Being constructed on geometrical and scientific principles, it readily lent itself to a practical system of removal and erection which was essential in the case of so large and costly a structure. The Tabernacle consisted of an oblong or rectangle, called the Court, in the rear half of which was the tent or covering of the Sanctuary. Under this Tent, the Holy and Most Holy Places were defined by partitions of boards and pillars, securely joined by means of rods, rings, etc. A careful study of the entire structure reveals an architectural gem, servicably conceived, beautifully designed, mystically embellished, celestially canopied, and inspiring the beholder with profound reverence and peaceful security in the thought of an ever present and Indwelling God, and typifying the encampment of the Angels of the Lord around about them that fear Him.
The Court of the Tabernacle
The Court, the walled curtain of which surrounded the enclosure containing the Holy and Most Holy Places, with their furnishings - the Tent, Laver, Altar of Sacrifice, bowls and other sacrificial utensils - was oblong in shape; "100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide" (200 feet by 100 feet - A cubit was a Standard of measurement adopted by ancient builders, the distance from the elbow to the end of the middle finger.) Exodus 27: 9-19; 38: 9.
This court was enclosed by a wall "5 cubits high" (10 feet), composed of linen and canvas, supported by pillars of brass, which rested in sockets of brass. The pillars were ornamented at the top with capitals of silver, to which were attached hooks of silver to hold in place the rods. The rods kept the pillars an equal distance apart and supported the canvas or linen wall. This wall was further supported by guy ropes attached to pins driven into the ground on both sides. This enclosure, composed of 60 pillars of brass, filleted with silver, with their 60 capitals of silver, 60 sockets of brass, and 120 hooks of silver, was only broken on the eastern side by the entrance, which was "20 cubits wide" (40 feet). This entrance, or gate curtain, was of fine twined linen, wrought with needle work in the most gorgeous shades of blue, purple, and scarlet. One can visualize its appearance and effect as it stood in the midst of the encampment of Israel.
The Altar of Burnt-Offering
The Altar stood in the midst of the eastern half of the oblong Court enclosure, the sacrificial tables and utensils being upon the left of the main entrance within the Court. The Altar of Burnt-offering was the instrument used for the purpose of reconciling man with his Maker. The Altar was 5 cubits long, 5 cubits broad and 3 cubits high (10 feet by 10 by 6). It was a large hollow case, made of shittim wood, overlaid with brass, and ornamented with huge wooden horns overlaid with brass, one for each of the four corners.
A grating or network of brass, having a ring at each of its four corners, was hung in the middle of the top of the Altar, and on it was laid the wood for the fire which consumed the sacrifice. On two sides of the Altar were rings of brass, through which were laid staves of shittim wood overlaid with brass, to carry it from place to place. The pots, shovels, basins, flesh-hooks and fire pans, as well as all other vessels or utensils necessary to the service of the Altar, were made of brass. Exodus 27: 1-8; 38: 1-7.
The Brazen Laver
The Laver consisted of a large bowl or fountain, which held fresh water used by the priests in the services. It stood in a fount, or pool, as a base to catch the waste water. Here the sacrifices were washed and the priests cleansed before entering the Tabernacle. From the mention of the "Laver and its Foot" one gets the idea of two containers, like a cup and saucer. Exodus 30: 1-8; 38: 1-7.
The Biblical statement that the Laver was made of the looking glasses of the women of the congregation which assembled at the door of the Tabernacle, reveals the deep religious emotion which prevailed.
The Sanctuary in the Tabernacle
The Sanctuary was erected in the center of the western half of the oblong Court enclosure, and consisted of two chambers, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The tent, or covering, protected and formed a cover round about the Sanctuary, and was used by the priests and attendants as chambers or rest rooms.
The western end and the two sides of the Sanctuary were enclosed by boards made of shittim wood overlaid with gold. The length of one board was10 cubits (20 feet), and the breadth was 1 1/2 cubits (3 feet). Each board had two tenons at the base equally distant one from the other, with two sockets of silver for each board to fit the tenons and form the foundation. On the outside of each board were rings to receive the bars to join one board to the other. There were 20 boards for the north side and 20 boards for the south side, held in place by five bars for each side. Four bars joined in the center of the wall and one bar passed through all the rings of the 20 boards, on each side. For the western end of the Sanctuary there were six boards and twelve tenons, with two corner boards and four tenons. They were so cut and coupled together as to form a perfect right angle for each corner, coupled at top and bottom. All the boards stood upright, edge to edge.
The Most Holy Place was divided from the Holy Place by four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold, resting upon sockets of silver. These pillars supported a hanging of most sumptuous tapestry of fine twined linen, a splendid fabric in blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully embroidered with cherubim in gold.
A most beautiful covering of splendid linen fabrics in blue, purple, and scarlet, embroidered with figures of cherubim in gold formed the canopy for the two sacred rooms. This, together with the two hangings previously described and the boards of gold, produced an enchanting effect in gorgeous colorings, dazzling beyond description. The covering was composed of ten curtains of fine linen all in blue, purple and scarlet. Each curtain was 28 cubits (56 feet) long and the breadth of 4 cubits (8 feet). The ten curtains were joined permanently into two great curtains of five each by means of couplings. On one edge of one of the great curtains were loops of blue, 50 in number; on the edge of the other great curtain were taches of gold, 50 in number. The loops and taches coupled the curtains together into a one-piece covering. This splendid fabric of blue, purple, and scarlet colored linen, magnificently embroidered with figures of cherubim, formed the ceiling of both the Holy and Most Holy Places. It was drawn down on the outside of the golden boards and fastened to the center rod upon all sides except the eastern entrance.
To protect this beautiful and delicately wrought covering, eleven curtains of goats' hair were provided, each 30 cubits (60 feet) long and 4 cubits (8 feet) wide. Five of these curtains were permanently united into one great curtain and six into another. These in turn were provided with 50 loops on the edge of one curtain and 50 taches opposite the loops. The two composite curtains were joined to make one great covering carefully drawn over the entire Sanctuary and securely fastened on all sides except the eastern entrance. To complete the protection against inclement weather, a tent, oblong in shape, was also provided, consisting of two coverings, an inner one of rams' skin, dyed red, and an outer of badgers' skins. The tent had a ridge over which the coverings were drawn and then fastened by means of guy ropes to pins driven into the ground at regular intervals upon all sides.
The Holy Place
This was an oblong room 20 cubits in length, 10 cubits in width and 10 cubits in height (40 feet by 20 by 20). The entrance gate consisted of a beautiful tapestry of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, gorgeously embroidered with cherubim in pure gold. The tapestry was hung upon five pillars of wood overlaid with gold, having beautiful capitals of silver and sockets of brass. The pillars, which were arranged in regular interval across the east entrance of the room, had hooks at the very top of the capitals to receive the loops at the top edge of the curtain or veil of the Tabernacle, which was thus suspended across the entire front at the west so as to separate the Holy from the Most Holy Place. Above, and forming the ceiling, was the brilliant colored linen covering, and on the north and south sides were the highly polished golden walls reflecting in radiant splendor the varied colored drappings and richly rugged floor.
The Holy Place contained three articles of furniture, the Altar of Incense, which stood in the center, the Golden Candlestick with all its vessels, which stood on the left side center, and the Table of Shewbread with its dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls, which stood on the right side center. The priests entered the Holy Place each day to offer incense, and to renew the lights in the Golden Candlestick.
The Altar of Incense
The Golden Altar or Altar of Incense was made of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold. In form, it was two cubits high and one cubit broad (four-square, 4 feet by 2) on each of the four sides. Upon the top edge round about, it was ornamented with a crown of gold of unique design. On the four corners were horns made of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold, in shape like unto rams' horns. Under the crown, on each of two sides, were four rings of gold, two on each side, through which the staves, made of shittim wood overlaid with gold, were passed. These staves were for carrying it. Exodus 39: 38. The Censer was placed on the top center of the Golden Altar, and in it sweet incense was burned every morning. Exodus 30: 1-10.
The Golden Candlestick
The Golden Candlestick was made of pure gold of "beaten work" with a central shaft ornamented with knobs, flowers, and bowls. There were six branches going out of its sides, three branches out from one side and three out from the other. All the branches, like the shaft, were ornamented with knobs, flowers, and bowls. The bowls were made after the fashion of almonds. On the top of the shaft, and on each one of the six branches, were lamps large enough to hold sufficient oil and cotton to burn all night. Exodus 26: 31-39; 37: 17-24.
The Biblical text does not define the height or breadth of the candelabrum. However, proportionate harmony with the rest of the furniture would suggest a height of 3 cubits (6 feet) and a breadth of 2 1/2 cubits (5 feet).
The Table of Shewbread
The table was made of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold 2 cubits long, 1 cubit broad and 1 1/2 cubits high (4 feet by 2 by 3) and finished, like the Altar, with a crown or rim of gold round about at the top edge, and four rings and two staves with which to carry it. It was furnished with dishes, spoons, bowls, and covers, all of pure gold. Exodus 35: 23-30; 37: 1-16.
Upon this table were placed twelve cakes of fine flour, in two rows, six in a row, called "Shewbread." "And thou shall set upon the table Shewbread before me alway." Exodus 25: 30.
The Most Holy Place
The second or inner chamber, called the Most Holy Place, was 10 cubits (20 feet) on each side and consequently a perfect cube. It contained the Ark of the Covenant, in which were the two Tables of Stone. This place, the Holy of Holies, the most sacred portion of the divinely appointed structure, was surrounded on three sides by highly polished walls of pure gold. The "Veil" of fine twined linen in blue, purple, and scarlet, richly embroidered and ornamented with figures of cherubim in gold, hanging from the tops of four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with pure gold, and resting in sockets of silver, defined the eastern and only entrance. Over all this magnificent, foursquare, resplendent place hung the blue, purple, and scarlet curtain, richly embroidered with golden cherubim. The reflection of these brilliant hues, and of the Cherubim, upon the walls of polished gold, must a produced have weird, startling, awe-inspiring and overpowering effect upon all those who were ordained to enter this most sacred place. Within this enclosure there was but one article of furniture and its contents, that is, the Ark of the Covenant containing the Testimony.
The Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant was an ark or chest of shittum wood two and one-half cubits long, and one and one-half cubits high (5 feet by 3 by 3) overlaid with gold, and embellished with a crown of gold extending around the chest upon the top edge. Four rings of pure gold were set in the four corners, two on one side and two on the other, through which were passed the wooden staves overlaid with gold used in carrying the sacred chest. Exodus 25: 10; 37: 1-10.
The lid, or covering was the Mercy Seat, and was one piece of of pure gold, two and one-half cubits long and one and one-half cubits broad (5 feet by 3). Upon each end of this Mercy Seat were Cherubim, made of pure "beaten" gold. These cherubim stretched forth their wings on high, so as to cover the Mercy Seat, their faces being inward toward the Mercy Seat. In this Ark, or Chest, and directly under the Mercy Seat, were the most sacred religious items of Judaism which included the Testimony or Ten Commandments upon two tables of stone, Manna from Heaven and Arron's Rod.
The Ark of the Covenant, thus fittingly enshrined, was the only piece of furniture in the Most Holy Place. It was visited but once each year by the High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, to make "atonement for the sins of the people." This was the most solemn ceremony of the Hebrew worship.
King Solomon's Temple and Citadel
The comprehensiveness of the Tabernacle, its hidden grandeur, and its mysterious splendor, appealed to David to such an extent that he longed to build, with the Tabernacle as a model, a permanent Temple dedicated to the worship of the true God. David loved the Tabernacle as the house of the Lord. He desired to dwell in its courts forever, that he might behold the glory of God, make manifest His eternal presence, and sing His praise. David had the Tabernacle ever in mind when he prepared plans and patterns for the Temple to be erected upon Mount Moriah, the most sacred spot on Earth. He bequeathed the plans to Solomon, who with the Tabernacle as a guide, erected a Temple the grandeur of which has so impressed the world that men, never tiring in its praise, have placed it foremost in legend, romance, history, and religion.
The Tabernacle was the pattern which guided the master builders in the construction of King Solomon's Temple, as well as the priests in its ritualistic services. The physical Temple was completed about 1005 B.C. according to the received chronology. 1 Chron. 28:11-21.
Location of the Temple
Mount Moriah, in the days of Abraham, was one of the hills in the vicinity of Salem, the one chosen by Abraham upon which to sacrifice his only son Isaac "as a burnt offering" unto the Lord. In later years it came under the control of the Amorites, whose principal city, Jebus, occupied a hill westward from Moriah. Genesis 22: 2.
In the days of King David, who subdued the Jebusites, it became a part of the city named Jerusalem. It is 14 1/2 miles from Jordan, 15 miles from Salt Sea, and 41 miles from the Mediterranean. The location was not the most desirable one on which to erect the Temple, but was chosen by Solomon because of its sacred associations. It was fitting that the great Temple to be dedicated to the God of his fathers should be erected upon the very spot where Abraham made manifest that faith in Him which was accepted ever after by the children of Israel and the world. On this spot also, where Abraham offered Isaac, David made an acceptable offering unto the Lord, and by faith saved Jerusalem from destruction. David no doubt realized the significance of the name given to the Mount by Abraham, "Jehovah Sees," and ever after the children of Abraham found consolation in the thought, "In the Mount of Jehovah He will be seen." Solomon, in deciding to erect the Temple upon this sacred spot, fulfilled the wishes of his father, King David, and of all in whose breasts these sentiments were cherished. "Beautiful for Situation, the Joy of the whole Earth."
Materials for the Temple
"Gold for things to be made of gold; silver for things of silver; brass for things of brass; iron for things of iron; wood for things of wood; onyx stones and stones to be set, glistening stones of diverse colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance." Nails of gold were used, and nails of brass and iron; chains of gold; ivory from Ophir; hewn stones, stones sawed with saws, great stones (granite), costly stones (marble of various colorings); cedar wood from Mt. Lebanon, algum wood from Mt. Lebanon and from Ophir, fir wood, sycamore, shittim wood or acacia, olive wood and palm, juniper, balsam and mulberry wood. 1 Chron.29:2.
Leather came from ox skins and chamois; fur from goats and badgers; wool from sheep. Fine (white) twined linen was used, and goats' and camels' hair made textile fabrics of purple, crimson, and blue. Varicolored dyes were produced from clays, stones, fish, and vegetation. For the services were furnished oils, spices, incense, myrtle, fitches, myrrh, sweet cinnamon, calamus, cassia, stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense, - Nature's contributions to the handiwork of Man.
How the Temple Materials were Acquired
King David, one of the world's greatest generals and statesmen, founded an imperial dominion which theretofore had not been realized, though it had been promised to Abraham. David became King on the scale of the great sovereigns, demanding and receiving tribute, and forming alliances which enabled him to control the great trade route of which Jerusalem was the center. Yet, during the turmoil and struggles attending his rise to supremacy, he never ceased to make preparation for carrying out his one ambition, that of erecting a Temple to the worship of God. "Behold in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talants of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass without weight, for it is in abundance; timber also and stone I have prepared," declared David. Again he repeats, "I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold; and the silver for things of silver; and the brass for things of brass; the iron for things of iron; and wood for things of wood; onyx stones and stones to be set, glistening stones, and of diverse colors, and all manner of precious stones and marble stones in abundance." In addition to the sums he "prepared" he donated from his own private purse, "three thousand talents of gold, seven thousand talents of silver," all of which he carefully tabulated and dedicated to the Lord, in the presence of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, who stood in awed silence before their venerable and God-fearing sovereign. Genesis 15: 18-21.
In his final and supreme effort to arouse his hearers to respond with contributions of their own, David shouted: "Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?" "Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly of gold, five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord." 1 Chron. 29.
Hiram, King of Tyre, the friend of David, gave Solomon cedar, algum and fir trees according to all Solomon's needs, also great stones (granite), costly stones (marbles), and hewed stones, shaped for pillars and squared by stone squarers.during the course of the construction of the Temple, King Hiram and King Solomon caused periodical trips to be made to Ophir for gold, algum trees, and precious stones to add to the apparently inexhaustible store. "King David rejoiced with great joy." Hiram, King of Tyre, "blessed the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the King a wise son, endowed with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord."
Co-operation of Allied Nations
King David was thirty years old when the elders of Judah called him to the City of Hebron, gave him their allegiance, and publicly anointed him King. Seven years later, he received the allegiance of the entire nation. He then began to build the empire of his dreams, as promised to Abraham, which was to be the glory of Israel and the world. His first act was to set up the Tabernacle in the New City, restored, embellished, and unequalled for permanence and beauty. All his thoughts were for the religious interests of the people. Although he was recognized as "a man after God's own heart," he was not perfect. He was a man of great stature, a physical giant, a mighty warrior, and a great general, "every inch a King," a shrewd politician and sagacious statesman. His outstanding political act was the seizure of the city of Jebus, the key to control of the great trade route between the East and West, which he called Jerusalem. This also gave him possession of the most sacred spot on earth, Mount Moriah.
The commanding position of his capitol brought the Phoenicians into an alliance, and "Hiram, King of Tyre, sent messengers, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons, and built David an house (palace)." Realizing his strength, David fought and conquered the Philistines, thus making a trade alliance with Egypt possible. Having made these alliances, he was free to turn his victorious armies eastward. There he conquered the Moabites, who "became David's servants and brought gifts." He next conquered the Zobahites, which brought him into battle with the Syrians, whom he utterly routed and thus gained control of Damascus and part of Syria. The spoils of these wars were great; he received much gold, silver and brass, besides placing the Syrians under allegiance, so that they too "became servants to David, and brought gifts." Having conquered the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, Amalekites, Rehobites and Hittites with his thirteen hundred thousand fighting men, he forced tribute, withstood all enemies, and raised his kingdom to superior strength, opulence, and splendor. Having built an empire unequalled in his time and established peace with the world, he bequeathed to his son, Solomon, untold wealth, a commanding army, a multiple allegiance, a vast empire, and sympathetic international accord.
Through his energy, shrewdness, skill, unusual fairness, generosity, and devotion, he also left to his heir an affectionate people. "Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son." This dying charge, a magnificent state paper and one of the most remarkable readings in the Bible, related principally to the building of the Temple, whose erection David had not undertaken because of wars. "So David slept with his fathers and was buried in the City of David." 1 Kings 2; 1 Chron. 28, 29.
Solomon, King of Israel
Solomon was the son of Bath-sheba, a direct descendant of Ishmael, whom Hagar bore unto Abraham. David, through the house of Judah, was a direct descendant of Issac. Thus, the two great families founded by Abraham were united in Solomon. He was about 14 years old when he was anointed King of Israel in Gihon, and about 21 at the death of David, so that when he was fully established on the throne, he was familiar with the elaborate designs and abundant preparations of his father for the building of the Temple. Solomon, having been carefully nutured by his God-fearing queen mother, had grown into a young man of great mental vigor. Having been schooled under the greatest masters of the times, reared in one of the richest and most brilliant courts of the then known world, he was preeminently gifted for the stupendous task before him, and undertook with enthusiasm to carry it on. The secret of Solomon's success is faithfully portrayed in his request at the time the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and asked what he (the Lord) should give him. Solomon's request was "for an understanding heart" that he might "discern between good and evil," that he might know how to walk before his people. This submission to God, this desire to have God make manifest through him the righteousness of God, was the first indication of his future greatness. He gathered about him the wonders of Nature, both of animal and vegetable life, drew from them the secrets of their existence, and learned that God was made manifest in the heavens above and in the earth beneath, and that God was all and in all. He soon set about to fulfill the wishes of his father and to glorify the God of his dream by creating a Temple, monumental in design, exceedingly magnificent, and peculiarly fitted to amplify the mysteries of Godliness. He took counsel with his wise men, held conference with his allies, and sought out master builders from all great nations. Thus equipped, he laid the foundation and carried to completion the Temple, not only as a place for worship, but as a structure of dazzling architectural glory.
Workmen at the Temple
Hiram of Tyre, the principal architect and engineer, was of mixed race. "He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre." He was "skilled to work in gold and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him. Cunning, a man richly endowed by Nature in wisdom and knowledge, he was preeminently fitted for this almost supernatural task. With him were associated the trained and "cunning" men of David, who had "trained workmen in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber." 1 Kings 7: 13-14.
"Solomon numbered the strangers that were in the land of Israel, and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred." He set three score and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and four score thousand to be hewers in the mountain. In addition, Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel of thirty thousand men, which he sent to Lebanon. Over this great army of workers, in order to obtain the greatest efficiency and results, he set three thousand six hundred overseers, besides the chief of his officers, which were over all the work. 2 Chron. 2: 17-18.
Solomon having married a daughter of Egypt's king, and thus cemented his alliance with that powerful monarch, and having, at the same time, a workable trade pact with the Phoenicians, drew from these nations skilled workmen to assist his already well-trained and formidable force. In addition, nearly all the neighboring nations as well as those of more distant realms were drawn upon for builders and artisans skilled in wood, metal, and stonework. 1 Kings 5: 18.
Architecture of the Temple
The assemblage of the world's architectural genius at Jerusalem, and the amassed store of materials of gold, silver, brass, iron, granite, and marble, together with the precious stones and costly woods and fabrics brought from foreign shores, resulted in a structure distinctive in design, gigantic in proportions, and glorious in embellishments, the like of which Israel and the people of that day had never before seen, and which will never again be equaled, much less excelled. The Temple and the Palace together, as a unit, consisted of a series of terraces round about Mount Moriah, the highest point of which was crowned by the Great Porch, with the Holy and the Most Holy Place.
The second highest terrace, surrounding the Mount, was an oblong or rectangle, 1,600 feet long and 800 feet wide, having a retaining wall rising from the base of the Mount to a height of from 80 to 240 feet as conditions required for support, for defense, and to produce a uniform raised level about the Mount. Within this first enclosure the architects provided homes for the porters and singers, as well as havens for the worshipers. The upper terrace was 800 feet long and 400 feet wide, surrounded by a retaining wall of great stone. The eastern half of this second enclosed terrace or court was embellished by three rows of hewed stones or pillars, round about, forming a colonnade and supporting an entablature of cedar beams and costly stones. The Covert for the King was located on the north side and was of solid brass. In the western half of this oblong enclosure, and on the north side, was the Court for the women, surrounded by high walls and enclosing a series of chambers suitably arranged. To the south was the Court of the Priests, containing the chambers for those who were actively engaged in the Temple services. In the center of the western half of the great court was the inner court, 400 feet by 200 feet in size, in the form of a rectangle, surrounded by a cloistered colonnade of three rows of pillars supporting a beautiful entablature of cedar beams and costly stones. The only entrance to the inner court was through the Great Gate on the eastern side. In the center of the eastern half of the inner court stood the Great Altar of Burnt-offering. In the southeast corner was the Molten Sea, and on the north and south sides, five on each side, were the Lavers. The western square of the inner court contained the House, or Holy and Most Holy Places, surrounded by a series of chambers. The approach to these sacred precincts was through the Great Porch, rising to a height of 240 feet.
These crowning terraces which supported the Temple and King Solomon's Palace or Citadel, including his house, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, the Queen's Palace, the Porch of Pillars, and kindred structures, were surrounded for the sake of security by a wall which began at the bottom of the Mount. Some of the sides of this wall were reared 280 feet in height before they attained the desired level, and these massive and curious bases, together with the super-structure, formed an impressive prospect, which was the marvel of all beholders. 2 Chron. 3: 4.
Approaching the Temple terraces from the southwest was a road leading through a gate into the great citadel, within the walls of which were the numerous buildings. The citadel was on an elevation just below that of the Temple, and visitors to the latter had to pass through the former. Here were the King's Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, the Porch of Pillars, the Queen's Palace, the Tower of David, the Palace of the Captain of the Host, the Palace of the High Priest, and the Judgment Seat or Throne. Within this same enclosure were to be found the homes of the Royal Harem, and of the immediate official family and attendants. Here also were the Royal Gardens in which were to be found a great variety of trees and beautiful shrubbery, and enclosures for wild and domestic animals and birds.
The King's Palace, the House of the Forest of Lebanon, and the other royal buildings were of a size and magnificence such as Israel had never seen before, and were prized because they reflected the high political rank of the nation, as the Temple reflected the glory of its religious institutions. The road from the southwest gate ran diagonally northeastward to a central square which was dominated by the Tower of David. At the south of the square was the Court of Guards, at the west of the Queen's Palace, and at the east the Palace of King Solomon.
The Banquet Hall in the Palace
A banquet in King Solomon's Palace presented a scene of unparalleled magnificence. Here royal visitors, including the Queen of Sheba, were given sumptuous entertainment. Here also, according to tradition, the humble iron worker assumed the place of honor at a banquet celebrating the completion of the Temple, - to the consternation of the other guests but with the approval of the wise King.
The Palace of the Queen
It is stated that he built her "an house"; by that we understand that he meant it was a palace, in style Egyptian, where she could enjoy the music from her native land, isolated, as it were from Israel. Above all the women that surrounded Solomon, it is said that the only one that he really loved was his wife, the Queen; and so ardent was his love that she was able to draw him from the worship of his God and the God of his fathers.
The Porch of Pillars
North of the Queen's Palace was the famous Porch of the Pillars. This monumental structure was erected in honor of the Princes of Milo and was considered the most beautiful entrance to the Citadel of King Solomon. A famous picture portrays a Prince from Milo being received at this great portal. Important visitors such as Kings, Governors, Potentates and others of national and international standing, whom the King delighted to honor, were received at this Gate. The Porch of Pillars consisted of thirty-two pillars, beautifully entabulatured, resting upon a foundation or platform one hundred feet long and sixty feet wide. 1 Kings 7: 6.
The Porch of Judgment
Directly to the east, across an open space, was the Great Porch of Judgment. The Bible portrays a momentous event. Solomon is on his throne; at his right is his life-long friend, Zabod, and on his left, a scribe; immediately in front of the scribe is the High Priest; on the steps an orator, presenting the complaints of the Princes of the Tribes of Israel. On the right, in front of the throne, a Prophet of the Desert, dressed in leopard skin and carrying a sheppard's crook. So important was this meeting, that Solomon called out his personal bodyguard. "He is being condemned by this Prophet as having wandered away from the faith of the true God; he is being condemned by the Princes as having squandered money in riotous living, over-taxing the people, causing universal complaint, and threats of secession from the House of Judah." 1 Kings 7: 10, 18, 19, 20.
The House of the Forest of Lebanon
Northward, extending almost to the wall of the Temple terrace, was the monumental House of the Forest of Lebanon. In the foreground were the elaborate and beautiful sunken gardens. Upon the right and left of this building, enclosed by entablatured walls, were the international bazaars and shops.
The Inner Court of the Temple
The avenue from the southwest gate of the citadel, having passed the Palaces, the Porches, and the House of the Forest of Lebanon, proceeded again northeastward to an open space before the House of the High Priest, where there was a gate leading upward to the Forecourt of the Temple. This outer court occupied the whole of the eastern half of the Temple terrace, and on its northern side was the great brass Covert for the King. At the western side of the Forecourt was the gate to the Inner Court, whence rose the facade of the Temple itself.
The Altar of Burnt-Offering
In the center of the eastern half of the inner court stood the most indispensable part of the apparatus of worship, the Altar of Burnt-offering, made of brass, "twenty cubits in length, twenty in breadth and ten cubits in height" (40 feet long, 40 broad, and 20 high). 2 Chron. 4: 1.
The Molten Sea
The inner court, the southeast corner, stood the most striking of the creations of Solomon's Phoenician artist, Hiram of Tyre. This was the Molten Sea. It was a large circular tank of bronze, "thirty cubits in circumference, ten cubits in diameter and five cubits in height" (60 feet around, 20 feet across, and 10 feet high), with a brim the thickness of a handbreadth. These measurements show that Hiram understood the principles of circular form and construction. This great sea rested on the backs of twelve bronze bulls which, in groups of three, faced the four cardinal points. 1 Kings 7: 23-27; 2 Chron. 4: 2-5.
There were ten Lavers of brass raised on bases resting upon wheels. They were used for washing the animals to be sacrificed in the burnt-offering and in the general cleansing of the court after the services. Each one was "four cubits long, four cubits wide and three cubits high" (8 feet by 8 by 6). The Lavers, bases, and wheels were highly ornamented, and symbolically embellished with lions, oxen, cherubim and palm trees. Five of the Lavers stood on the north side of the inner court and five on the south side. 1 Kings 7: 27-39.
The Great Porch
The Great Porch was a monumental structure "one hundred and twenty cubits high" (240 feet), built over the entrance to the Sanctuary. This entrance or vestibule was "twenty cubits long and ten cubits broad" (40 feet by 20). Through this porch the priests were admitted to the Sanctuary. 2 Chron. 3: 4; 1 Kings 6: 3.
The Two Pillars of Brass
These two great bronze shafts, standing in relief, formed an important feature in the architecture of the Temple. Each one was "thirty-five cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference" (70 feet high and 24 feet in circumference). They were highly ornamented by a network of brass, overhung with wreaths of bronze pomegranates, each row containing one hundred. Upon the pillars and the top of the chapiters were pommels (great bowls or vessels for oil) over which were hung, festoon-wise, wreaths of pomegranates, interspersed here and there with lily work. They bore the names of Jachin and Boaz and were placed in front of the porch leading to the Sanctuary. 2 Chron. 3:15; 1 Kings 7: 15-22; 2 Chron. 4: 12-13.
The Treasure Room
This room occupied the space above the Holy and Most Holy Places, extending the entire length of the House. It was "sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high" (120 feet by 40 by 20). Here were stored the many things King David had dedicated to the Lord. Here also were the silver and gold vessels and instruments, and all the dedicated things such as gifts from allied kings, princes, potentates, and all other important personages. It was also the royal treasury where Solomon deposited and from whence he disbursed all things of value. 1 Kings 6: 2.
The Chambers Round About the Temple
A series of chambers surround the house on three sides, the north, west, and south, all three stories high. The uppermost chamber was "five cubits," 10 feet broad, the middle one was "six cubits" (12 feet) and the third or lower chamber was "seven cubits" (14 feet). Access to these chambers was by means of a peculiar and secret winding stairway on the south side of the house from the lower into the middle and from thence to the upper chambers. These chambers were all finished in fine wool and overlaid with pure gold, affording quiet and secluded spots for secret communion with God and for the preparation and proper clothing of the priests, as well as storage room for the vessels and instruments used every day in the ritualistic services. 1 Kings 6: 5, 6, 8, 10.
The Holy Place
The Holy Place, or Greater House, was a double cube "forty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high" (80 feet long, 40 wide, and 40 high), "ceiled with fir tree," overlaid with fine gold and settings of palm trees and chains, with engraved cherubim on the walls. The entire house was garnished with precious stones for beauty. The entrance to the house was by a large double door, two leaves to the one door and two leaves to the other, of olive wood, carved with cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, all overlaid with pure gold.
The furniture of the Holy Place consisted of ten candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left, together with their lamps and snuffers; also ten tables with pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left, together with their bowls, basins, spoons, and covers. To these must be added the golden altar of incense and its censer, the table of shewbread, and the golden candlestick of the Tabernacle, all harmoniously arranged within the walls, ceilings, and floors of gold set with precious stones. 1 Kings 7: 49; 2 Chron. 4: 8.
The Most Holy Place
The Holy of Holies was a perfect 40 foot cube "twenty cubits broad, twenty cubits long, and twenty cubits high." All the walls round about were carved with figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, all overlaid with pure gold; even the floor was overlaid with gold, and all was garnished with precious stones for beauty. The two doors leading to this Most Holy Place were of olive wood, cunningly carved with cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid with pure gold. Each door had two leaves which folded. Over this entrance hung the veil of blue, purple, and crimson of the finest fabric, cunningly wrought with cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. This beautiful tapestry defined the entrance to the Oracle. The only piece of furniture in the Most Holy Place was the Sacred Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, containing the testimony. This was the place within the oracles shadowed by the wings of two gigantic cherubim of olive wood, overlaid with pure gold. Each cherubim was "ten cubits high" (20 feet) with an outspread of wings of "twenty cubits) (40 feet). 1 Kings 6:23.
The Temple and Early Masonry
History is an afterthought, written only when greatness has already been achieved. There was no Hebrew history before David, who united the tribes and conquered their enemies. Nor was there any Masonic history, as we know it, until the operative stone masons of England had established their craft by building some of those marvelous monuments to Christian civilization, the Gothic cathedrals. But there were Masons and there were Hebrews long before their were books about either. In the widely separated beginnings of both Hebrew and Masonic history we find references to the building of a Temple. We have seen that King Solomon's Temple was not built in a day, or without the accumulation and expenditure of a vast treasure in materials, craftsmanship, and human organization. We have seen that a generation of intensive preparation (David concentrating the energies of a kingdom on a project he was never able to behold) preceded the actual building, and that long ages of venerating the simpler Tabernacle in the Wilderness came before that.
The Masonic fraternity started simply, too, and the magnificent brotherly structure of the past two hundred years was many centuries in the making. Unlike the Temple, the fraternity in its formative years had no powerful king to protect and support it, and its growth was far less spectacular than that of the great monument on Mount Moriah.
The Temple and Eternity
King Solomon's Temple was the perfect architectural expression of the religious faith of a people. As such, it has never been equaled in the history of the world, much less excelled. Its actual life was short, but is influence has been incalculable. Built to endure for centuries, only a few years elapsed before it was desecrated and then completely destroyed by invading armies. Yet its fame did not die. The children of Israel, with fervid determination, rebuilt it twice, and twice more it was destroyed. The descendents of its builders were scattered far and wide over the face of the earth, but the traditions of their labor and their unity and their accomplishment have remained to inspire all subsequent ages, and the magnificence of the Temple they built is still acknowledged as the epitome of gorgeous architecture. To arrive at recorded Masonic history, we must leave the age of King Solomon and the builders of the temples at Jerusalem far behind, coming up to the British Isles during the Christian Middle Ages.
Medieval History and Legend
The legends of Masonry are very old, and they tell of times far older then themselves. The earliest legendary Masonic writing which has survived in manuscript is a little book consisting of 33 leaves of parchment, written in English, probably before 1390 A.D. "Here begin the constitutions of the art of Geometry according to Euclid," are the opening lines, in Latin. Then the manuscript proceeds, in old English doggerel, to tell how "that worthy clerk, Euclid," taught the useful art of geometry to unemployed sons of the Egyptian nobility, how the knowledge which he taught spread to France and England, and how he admonished his pupils, in fifteen articles and fifteen points, to be good men and worthy exponents of the art of geometry. By geometry he meant Masonry. This medieval stone masons' organization, forerunner of modern Masonry, was already of respectable age when the book of "Euclid's constitutions" was written. It was old enough so that its living members saw nothing ridiculous in tracing their history back to Lamech, the grandson of Adam, and through him to Pythagoras of Greece and Hiram, King of Tyre, and King Charles Martel of France and Athelstane, King of England, even though these celebrities were separated from each other by centuries rather than by years. It was old enough so that not only stone masons but gentlemen and dignitaries of the Church were interested in its legends, and impressed with its supposed continuity since Biblical times. The next oldest Masonic manuscript, written only a few years later, tells substantially the same story in a somewhat different manner, and also includes a reference to King Solomon's Temple. Solomon is represented as having confirmed Euclid's articles and points for the government of Masons. These two Masonic manuscripts are the oldest of a long series known to have been written over a period of more than 300 years, between the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 18th. They are sometimes called the Old Charges of Masonry, and sometimes the Manuscript Constitutions of the Craft. Because they link modern Freemasonry with an immemorial past, they are also called "the title deeds of the Fraternity." In all of them is an account of the Temple of Solomon, or "Templum Dei," or "Temple of Jerusalem," or "Templum Domini," and an attempt at the establishment of a kinship between the builders of this Temple and the English stone masons for whom the manuscripts were written. King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre, are always in the story, and usually a third builder who is represented as Aynon, a son of Hiram. Thus the dominant theme of the builder's art appears in the very earliest history of the Craft.
The Bible and Early Masonry
In the oldest Masonic legends the building of King Solomon's Temple was not the only, or even the principal event commemorated. Nor is the Bible mentioned in these early times as the central light of the Lodge. But the Masonic organizations in which these legends were cherished, like Masonic Lodges today, were religious bodies. Masons working on the abbey at Hirsau in southern Germany, 300 years before our first manuscripts were written in England, were actually organized as Lay Brothers under the Benedictine rule. Almost as early, there were Cistercian Lay Brothers working on a church in Yorkshire. Their motto was "Ora et Labore," "pray and work." Practically every one of the old manuscripts containing Masonic legends begins with an invocation to deity: "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen." Practically every one closes with an oath, or a reference to an oath, "So help you God, and by the contents of this book," and often with the further admonition, "It is a great peril for a man to forswear himself upon a book." In many manuscripts an actual ceremony is described, practically always in Latin: "One of the Eldest taking the Book shall hold it forth that he or they which are to be made Masons may impose and lay their right hand upon it and the Charge shall be read."
The Church and the Bible
The repeated references to the "book" in these old manuscripts almost certainly mean the Bible. And as far as recognition of the Bible by early Masons is concerned, this is quite as much as could be expected in an age before printing had been invented, when every book in the world had to be laboriously copied by hand, and when the Bible, moreover, was written only in Latin. Few people could read the Bible, and fewer still could own a copy. It was a book to be venerated, but not read. The religious instruction and inspiration which the Bible supplies nowadays was then derived from three sources: (1) ecclesiastical symbolism and ceremony; (2) mystery plays or Biblical entertainments; and (3) architecture. Masons may have participated in the second; they were of primary importance in the third. When people could not read books, the lessons of religion had to be taught in other ways. They were taught by sermons of the priests and by the ritual of the sacraments. They were also taught dramatically through mystery plays, performed often by the craft guilds. The Masons may possibly have used a mystery play whose story survives in the third degree. Above all, the lessons of religion were taught during the Middle Ages through architecture and sculpture. Every village church was a message from God, and the cathedral was an entire Bible. The general plan of the church, the choir, the chapels, the carved figures of saints, the painted windows, - all told the story of God's fatherhood as clearly to the people of that day as our Bible tells it to us. The Masons' part in telling this story was a most important one, and this as well as other circumstances set the Masons apart from other crafts.
The Letter and the Word
This medieval period, which saw such a growth of Masonry, was essentially an age of symbolism. Everything in architecture, in ceremonial, in heraldry, in religion, had its symbolical meaning. Interpretation of the symbolism was left almost entirely to one division of the community, the Church, and to a few thinking people it must have seemed that as time went on the symbols grew in importance and the meaning faded. The letter became dominant, and the Word was lost. Toward the end of the medieval period, at just about the time the Masonic Old Charges were being written, the first complete English translation of the Bible was compiled by William Wycliffe. Here was the word itself, and those who had an opportunity to read it could go beyond the symbolism of architecture and heraldry and ceremonial to the religious reality on which it was based. A new authority was challenging the supremacy of the Church. That new authority was the Bible. The progress of the challenge was called the Reformation.
The invention of printing made possible the rapid dissemination of the new religious literature, especially the Bible. The Church ceased to be the unquestioned interpreter of religious truth; its place was gradually taken in Protestant countries by the Bible. The importance of religious architecture as a teacher of the people decreased rapidly, and with it diminished the importance of the operative stone mason's craft.
Operative to Speculative
Membership in medieval craft guilds, including whatever type of organization the Masons had at that time, was not strictly confined to the workers of one particular craft. Other workers, and sometimes gentlemen and noblemen, occasionally sought and gained admission. This must have been especially true in the Mason's organizations. The writer of the earliest Masonic manuscript was almost certainly a priest, and no doubt many churchmen held a kind of Masonic membership. Later, after church building had practically ceased, and the nature of the Masonic organization changed with the new conditions, members from outside the craft continued to be accepted. These "accepted" members, or "speculative masons" as they were later called, were no doubt few in number at the time of the Reformation. Their presence, however, and the legendary background which attracted them, must have encouraged the survival of a craft whose operative reason for existence was rapidly disappearing. Even with economic ruin which the Reformation brought to the stone masons' industry, it was a long time before the "accepted" masons reached the majority and took possession of the organization.
The Bible and the Temple
The Bible is many centuries old, but as a literal force in the life of western Christianity it began to grow only with the invention of printing and the success of the Reformation. Its growth as the Great Light in Masonic Lodges paralleled its growth in the churches and in the homes of pious men. Masons, like other people, took up the reading of the Bible as soon as it was translated out of the Latin and printed in sufficient quantities to bring it within reach. Always present in the Lodge for the swearing of candidates, it became increasingly important in the minds and lives of its readers. Masons became aware of the Biblical source of many of their Legends, and perhaps became inclined to attribute Biblical significance to legends which originally had none. At any rate they could see that the fundamental precepts of Masonic morality were actually to be found in the Volume of Sacred Law. They saw also that King Solomon's Temple occupied a prominent place in divine as it did in Masonic history. The growth of popular interest in the Temple paralleled very closely the growth of Bible reading. Perhaps Masonic interest also increased from a more or less incidental notice of the Temple to a final preoccupation with it as a symbol of spiritual man. The Bible hardly came into its own as a widely read book until after the publication of the King James version in 1611. The Temple began to appear prominently in religious literature at about the same time. Hugh Broughton, who died in 1612, left some writings on the Temple, as did John Selden (1584-1654). Nicholas Fuller referred to it in a book published at Heidelberg in 1612 and at Oxford in 1616. Christopher Cartwright (1602-1658) had a good deal to say about the Temple in his writings on the Talmud. Samuel Lee, in 1659, published a very suggestive work: Orbis Miraculum, or the Temple of Solomon, Portrayed by Scripture-light . . .
Models of the Temple
Late in the 17th century there were several attempts to create models of King Solomon's Temple. Some of them attracted wide notice in England at just the time the operative Masonic craft was being gradually transformed into what we know as speculative Freemasonry. Gottfried Hensel, rector of Hirschberg in Germany, made a model. Rabbi Jacob Jehuda Leon was displaying one in England in 1675. A little later, Gerhard Schott was building his in Hamburg. This one was still being shown in London in 1725, eight years after the first Grand Lodge was organized.
Solomon's Temple Spiritualized
Even before the Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, spoke of man as "the Temple of God," the idea of a spiritual temple in the human soul has had religious currency. It was natural that Solomon's great building should come to be regarded as the ideal prototype of such a temple. It was natural, also, that this idea should be an integral part of the first essay in which the word "Freemason" ever appeared in print. In The Pilgrimage of Perfection, by William Boude (1526), the following appeared: "We were but as apprentices bound to learn the craft of the exercise of virtues; and now this day we shall be masters of the craft. Example. The free mason setteth his apprentice first a long time to learn to hew stones, and when he can do that perfectly, he admitteth him to be a free mason and chooseth him as a cunning man to be master of the craft, and maketh him a setter or orderer of the same stone . . . And so to build to Almighty God a glorious and pleasant temple in our souls, we as the workmen, and He as the principal author and master of the work. Now in diverse degrees, according to their exercise in grace, every person buildeth in his soul a temple to God, some more some less, as the clearness of their consciences requireth . . ." The next section of the book drew lessons from the Tabernacle and Temple.
Antiquarians and Freemasons
Many non-operative members of Masonic lodges, the "speculative" or "accepted" Freemasons, must have been interested in the Temple, as well as in the cathedrals, now old, which the operative Masons had built. In the century following the Reformation, the craft attracted philosophers, scientists, and antiquaries, as well as gentlemen and soldiers. Elias Ashmole and Randle Holme were two distinguished examples, and there is no doubt that several of the original members of the Royal Society were Masons.
To these men, if not to the operative Masons generally, the place of King Solomon's Temple in Masonic legend and symbolism must have become increasingly important. They were interested in the Temple as Solomon actually constructed it, and they were almost certainly interested in it also as a symbol of man's struggle for perfection. Francis Bacon, who may or may not have had direct connection with then existing Masonic organizations, wrote a few years before 1626 a fable called The New Atlantis, an important feature of which was a marvelous society known as "Solomon's House." This had nothing directly to do with King Solomon's Temple, but it showed the disposition of learned men of the 17th century to associate any organized search for wisdom and truth with the symbolism of the Temple which Solomon built in Jerusalem.
Grand Lodge Masonry
The exact position of the Temple and the Bible in operative and early speculative Masonry is still in question. Enough has been shown to indicate that both must have been of considerable importance. It is especially evident that King Solomon's Temple, since it was attracting so much attention in the world at large and among the class of men who became speculative Masons, must in the 17th century have been one of the outstanding legends of the Craft.
Early in the 18th century (1717), four old Lodges in London met together to form the first Grand Lodge, and Freemasonry was well on its way toward becoming the organized fraternity which we know today. Probably as early as 1720 or 1730, George Payne, John T. Desaguliers, and their associates had developed a ritual of three degrees, with the legend of King Solomon's Temple holding the central position. This legend, of which there were possible suggestions in the earliest manuscripts, had grown to be one of the dominant themes in Masonry.
Concerning God and Religion
Probably we should never know just how different or how similar Grand Lodge Masonry may be to the operative and speculative Masonry that came before it, but of one important change there is no doubt. The operative Masonry of the Middle Ages, and also the increasingly speculative Craft of the 17th century, were Christian and Trinitarian. In contrast, the first Charge in the Grand Lodge Book of Constitutions, 1723, was as follows: "A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient time Masons were charged in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet 'tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to be good Men and true, or men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever Denominations or Persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the center of Union, and the means of conciliating true Friendship among Persons that must else have remained at a perpetual distance." Still deeply religious, Masonry had become universal.
Important as the Bible undoubtedly was in early speculative Masonry, its dominant position became more rather than less pronounced after the organization of Grand Lodges in the 18th century. Although this first charge Concerning God and Religion in the Grand Lodge Book of Constitutions does not specifically mention the Bible, the implication is that its immemorial status as an essential part of the Lodge was well understood, and was to remain unchanged. A little later, when printed references to Masonry became more plentiful, the Bible appeared prominently in them. As early as 1730, the Bible, Square, and Compasses were mentioned in London as "furniture of the Lodge." According to The Boston Evening Post, June 20, 1743, reporting an incident in Vienna, a Lodge there had "a Bible on the table, open at the first chapter of Genesis." In Helston, Cornwall, April 21, 1752, a Brother Issac Head delivered a Charge: ". . . Let our whole deportment testify for us that we have formed our lives upon the perfect model of God's revealed will, exhibited to us in the Holy Bible; that this Book is the basis of all our Craft, and that it is by this piece of Divine furniture, so essential to our society, we are taught wisdom, to contrive in all our doings. . ." The Bible is now so closely identified with the Lodge that, for Christian countries, it is one of the very few undisputed Landmarks of Freemasonry. Another is belief in God. These two essentials, belief in a Supreme Being and reverence for His Word, establish beyond question the character of the Fraternity.
How the Pictures were Obtained
It is known to every reader of the Bible and student of Solomon's days, that an amazingly detailed description of the Temple and its associated structures has been carried down from the mists of antiquity by the Scriptures. Lineal measurements, materials employed, and ornamental detail are so graphically presented that restoration of the Temple, at any time within a score of centuries past, awaited only the coming of a man with the vision to recognize its historic value, and the imagination to undertake the task. Notwithstanding the universal interest in King Solomon's Temple, -- a fascination which has created innumerable legends and romances during the intervening centuries -- the incredible fact remains that no scientific effort to restore the Temple was made until John Wesley Kelchner, Archaeologist, Bible Student and Lecturer began eighty years ago to make real his vision of the Scriptural description. His personal fortune went freely into the world-wide search for archaeological data and period decorative technique, from which to render accurately, down to the minutest detail, the ornamental scheme revealed by the Biblical story. Other noted archaeologists collaborated with Dr. Kelchner, and at length the work was completed. In 1923 Dr. Kelchner had assembled all that was needed to erect an exact replica of a Temple which had vanished 3,000 years ago.
The next step was to display the entire conception, from the foundation up, in graphic sketches, paintings, working drawings and plans. In his New York studio, he surrounded himself with expert draftsmen and capable artists, laying before them the models, plans and designs of this, his life work. As Moses after receiving the Designs of the Tabernacle of Israel called to his aid the "cunning" master mechanic, Bezaleel, who was "filled with the spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship," and as Solomon "sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre," filled with wisdom and understanding, and a cunning skilled workman, so did John Wesley Kelchner labor with these experts. Together they dropped out of the Twentieth Century, back into the years 1011-1004 Before Christ. The difference was only thirty centuries between; the creative objective the same; and the results identical.
Now the art of our period is enriched by a set of paintings and drawings of unparalleled historical value. Nothing so marvelous of its kind has ever been achieved for the illustration of any subject. The paintings and drawings were prepared by the ablest artists of their field in America and Europe. They translate to the layman's vision the architect's technical plans as worked out in modern builders' specifications.
A special "Thanks" to Artist and Lecturer - Rev. David Hamilton of Mishkan Ministries for allowing us to photograph and display his beautiful Ark and other Temple furniture in our museum. David has a website of his own where you can see other reproductions of Temple artifacts like the Golden Candlestick, Table of Shewbread and Altar of Incence. David travels the United States giving lectures on these sacred objects. You can visit his website by clicking on the link below:
Pity for all the futile effort, the real Temple of David & Salomon was at "Ras-Aidan-Crater" but they don't know that. because they did not, view my abstract "Seven-Up" article on that "BlueHue"
-------------------- *Forgotten PIT-FALLS 1)EgyptwasATLANTIS(1155-855bc)=ATHE-Midland<Medan=Myrinapolis 2)Athe-Batina/Bissara=assyrianVIEF,Maa/Sheba in Yemen+Djibut 3)OCEAN=AUSSEE=SINus/Red-Sea=originally,Sea<MidLand-also,JORDAN 4)Cuba's Atlant-is a modern-Fib Posts: 1231 | From: DELFT, PollyTechnical Univ. Delft, Holland also: City of Master-painter Vermeer. | Registered: Oct 2004
| IP: Logged |
First Temple artifacts found in dirt removed from Temple Mount
By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent
The project of sifting layers of Temple Mount dirt has yielded thousands of new artifacts dating from the First Temple period to today. The dirt was removed in 1999 by the Islamic Religious Trust (Waqf) from the Solomon's Stables area to the Kidron Stream Valley. The sifting itself is taking place at Tzurim Valley National Park, at the foot of Mount Scopus, and being funded by the Ir David Foundation. Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Tzachi Zweig, the archaeologists directing the sifting project with the help of hundreds of volunteers, are publishing photographs and information about the new discoveries in the upcoming issue of Ariel, which comes out in a few days.
The bulk of the artifacts are small finds - the term used for artifacts that can be lifted and transported, rather than fixed features. The dirt was removed in the course of excavating the mammoth entrance to the underground mosque built seven years ago in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The Waqf and Islamic Movement in Israel separated dirt from stones, then used the ancient building blocks for rebuilding, in case the police barred construction materials from being brought in.
Most of the finds predate the Middle Ages. The finds include 10,000-year-old flint tools; numerous potsherds; some 1,000 ancient coins; lots of jewelry (pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings and beads in a variety of colors and materials); clothing accessories and decorative pieces; talismans; dice and game pieces made of bone and ivory; ivory and mother of pearl inlay for furniture; figurines and statuettes; stone and metal weights; arrowheads and rifle bullets; stone and glass shards; remains of stone mosaic and glass wall mosaics; decorated tiles and parts of structures; stamps, seals and a host of other items.
The sifting project is precedent-setting: This is the first time dirt from any antiquities site is being sifted in full. Among the many volunteers are soldiers, tourists, high-school students and yeshiva boys. Visitors over the past few months have included ultra-Orthodox MKs and rabbis, who usually steer clear of archaeological digs.
When the dirt was originally trucked out, the late director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, termed it "an archaeological crime," and the attorney general at the time, Elyakim Rubinstein, said it was "a kick to the history of the Jewish people. Now it turns out that the dirt removed from the Temple Mount harbors thousands of small finds from diverse periods.
The oldest artifacts found are remnants of tools like a blade and scraper dating back 10,000 years. Some potsherds and shards of alabaster tools date from the Bronze Age - the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C.E. (the Canaanite and Jebusite eras). Only a handful of potsherds were found from the 10th century B.C.E. (the reigns of King David and King Solomon), but numerous artifacts date from the reigns of the later Judean kings (the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.), such as stone weights for weighing silver.
The most striking find from this period is a First Temple period bulla, or seal impression, containing ancient Hebrew writing, which may have belonged to a well-known family of priests mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah.
Many other findings date from the Persian period (Return to Zion), Hasmonean, Ptolemaic and Herodian periods, as well as from Second Temple times. Second Temple finds include remains of buildings: plaster shards decorated a rust-red, which Barkai says was fashionable at the time; a stone measuring 10 centimeters and on it a sophisticated carving reminiscent of Herodian decorations; and a broken stone from a decorated part of the Temple Mount - still bearing signs of fire, which Barkai says are from the Temple's destruction in 70 C.E.
The project has also yielded artifacts from the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Early Arab periods. According to Barkai, the Byzantine finds radically alter the assessment that the Temple Mount was empty at that time.
Barkai and Zweig reject doubts cast by other archaeologists on the source of the dirt. They state that eyewitnesses monitored the trucks that removed the rubble, and that they have internal evidence that further confirms the dirt came from the Temple Mount.
In 73 CE, the Roman governor of Judea, Flavius Silva, laid siege to Masada with Legion X Fretensis. When the walls were broken down by a battering ram, the Romans found the fortress' defenders had set fire to all the structures and preferred mass suicide to captivity or defeat. Masada has since become part of Jewish mythology, as has the name Silva, who Josephus Flavius mentions in his writings. It is therefore no great surprise that Hungarian archaeologist Dr. Tibor Grull, studying in Israel three years ago, was excited to discover a stone tablet during a visit to the Temple Mount with a Latin inscription of the name of Masada's destroyer.
Grull asked officials of the Waqf, the Muslim trust for the Temple Mount, where the tablet came from, and they explained it had been found in the large hole dug in the mount in 1999 when the entrance to Solomon's Stables was opened. The Hungarian archaeologist received rare permission to photograph and document the finding. In October 2005, Grull published the discovery in the journal of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.
Particularly interested in the find was Bar Ilan's Dr. Gabi Barkai, who has been sifting through Temple Mount dirt for the past two years. The dirt, in which many finds dating as far back as the First Temple period have been discovered, was dug from the same hole by Waqf personnel and taken from the same area - the south-east side - from which the inscription fragment was taken. Barkai contacted Grull and included Grull's work - which had not received exposure - in a comprehensive article on the sifting project at the Temple Mount, slated for publication in the next edition of the periodical Ariel.
Grull's photographs of the stone tablet are first being published in Haaretz. The five-line monumental inscription is 97 centimeters by 75 centimeters. The text itself is damaged. Barkai, relying on Grull, says the inscription is undoubtedly the dedication carved into a victory arch, and it includes the Latin word for "arch."
"This is the only evidence we have of a victory or memorial arch the Romans built on the Temple Mount after the destruction of the city and the Temple," Barkai notes. "This is the first evidence of reconstruction, carried out by the Roman army, immediately after Jerusalem's destruction, about fifty years before Aelia Capitolina was founded."
Barkai says the inscription memorializes Flavius Silva, the conqueror of Masada and governor of Judea from 73 to 80 CE. The missing section of the inscription apparently mentioned Roman military commanders Aspasianus and Titus. The inscription also mentions a previously unknown person named Atnagorus.
The Waqf, which is opposed to archaeological digging on the Temple Mount, apparently has the tablet itself. Due to Waqf opposition, only areas surrounding the Mount itself, the City of David and the southern Western Wall, south of the Wall Plaza, and the western area of the wall north of the plaza - the Wall Tunnel - have been excavated until now.
Spain digs for its once-hidden Jewish heritage By Renwick McLean / The New York TimesPublished: November 5, 2006
TOLEDO, Spain: Spain has sometimes been slow to recognize its own treasures. Miguel de Cervantes was slipping into obscurity after his death until he was rescued by foreign literary experts. El Greco's paintings were pulled from oblivion by the French. The Muslim palace of Alhambra had fallen into neglect before the American author Washington Irving and others wrote about it in the 1800s.
Now, more than 500 years after expelling its Jews and moving to hide if not eradicate all traces of their existence, Spain has begun rediscovering the Jewish culture that thrived here for centuries and that scholars say functioned as a second Jerusalem during the Middle Ages.
"We've gone from a period of pillaging the Jews and then suppressing and ignoring their patrimony to a period of rising curiosity and fascination," said Ana María López, the director of the Sephardic Museum in Toledo, a hub of Jewish life before the Jews were expelled or forced to convert to Christianity in 1492 during the Inquisition.
Cities and towns across Spain are searching for the remains of their medieval synagogues, excavating old Jewish neighborhoods and trying to identify Jewish cemeteries. Scholars say they are overwhelmed with requests from local governments to study archaeological findings and ancient documents that may validate a region's Jewish heritage.
Today in Europe
Breakaway Georgian region votes on independence On Advertising: Fashioning a makeover EU grapples with proposal to set rules for new mediaOther people are joining in, delving into family histories to hunt for signs of Jewish ancestry.
"I don't go a week without someone calling and asking me if their last name has Jewish roots," said Javier Castaño, an expert in Spain's Jewish history at the Higher Council for Scientific Research in Madrid.
"It's the opposite of 300 years ago, when people changed their last names to Spanish names and looked for ancestors of pure Spanish blood," he said. "Now it's trendy to say you have Jewish roots."
But Castaño and other scholars say the revival has in some ways gone too far. They contend that some local governments, eager to attract well-heeled tourists from the United States and Israel, are making claims about their Jewish heritage that are not supported by historical evidence.
"This whole revival is a very important and positive contribution," Castaño said. "The problem is that in some cases people are falsifying the past by creating a Jewish patrimony that never existed." He and other critics say cities are promoting old Jewish quarters with no original structures, cemeteries whose real location is still a mystery and medieval synagogues that are hardly medieval, if they ever functioned as synagogues at all.
"History is being exploited," Castaño said, citing Oviedo near the northern coast and Jaén in the south as particularly egregious examples. "People are trying to reproduce what has occurred in Toledo. Everyone wants their medieval synagogue."
Toledo, with two intact medieval synagogues, including the Tránsito Synagogue from the 14th century, is something of an exception in Spain, where the expulsion of the Jews was followed by a campaign to destroy, disassemble or obscure obvious reminders of their presence.
The Network of Jewish Quarters in Spain, which works to revive and promote medieval Jewish neighborhoods, concedes that some cities have oversold their possessions.
"But it's not that they don't have the history, it's that the history is not so visible," said Assumpció Hosta, the network's secretary-general. "We have to give these cities time to invest in the recovery of their patrimony."
Spain had the most vibrant Jewish population in Europe before the expulsion of 1492, and it produced one of the most influential cultural legacies in Jewish history.
It was here that Hebrew was reborn as a language suitable not just for prayer and liturgy but for poetry and other secular pursuits, contributing to the advent in Spain of what has been called a golden age of Jewish literature, philosophy and science in the 10th and 11th centuries.
"In the minds of her sons and daughters, Sepharad was a second Jerusalem," Jane Gerber wrote in her book "The Jews of Spain: A History of the Sephardic Experience."
"Expulsion from Spain, therefore, was as keenly lamented as exile from the Holy Land," she said.
Scholarly interest in this chapter of Jewish history has been intensifying in Spain for decades, but only recently has it extended to the public.
Besides the revival of Jewish neighborhoods, there has been an explosion of books on Jewish themes, with 200 to 250 published every year, and new museums, cultural centers, restaurants and musical groups devoted to Sephardic traditions.
Medieval festivals that have typically included only Muslims and Christians are now seeking to add Jewish participants. Jewish leaders say the trend has received an added push from Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who has made encouraging a more open and tolerant society a primary objective of his administration.
Still, despite the new enthusiasm for Spain's Jewish heritage, intolerance toward Jews here is far from a thing of the past, the leaders say.
"A contradictory element in all this is that a new anti-Semitism is also developing in Spain," said Jacobo Israel Garzón, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain. "It uses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as its source, but it passes very quickly from anti-Israelism to anti-Semitism."
Today in Europe
Breakaway Georgian region votes on independence On Advertising: Fashioning a makeover EU grapples with proposal to set rules for new mediaIsrael said the number of Jews in Spain today was small, 40,000 to 50,000. But he said the population was growing steadily thanks to immigration, particularly from North Africa, where so many Jews fled after the 15th- century expulsion.
Many of these returnees still speak a form of the Judeo-Spanish language of their ancestors and have maintained their traditions.
"There is tremendous nostalgia for Sephardic Spain in the Jewish world, particularly in the ancestors of the expelled Jews," Israel said. "But even in the souls of the Jews who were not expelled, there is the sense that with the end of Jewish Spain something very important was lost."
"Spain is now opening the way for the study of that lost footprint," he said.
A Christian pendant of the Jesuit sect, with the design of the Holy Grail, dated by archaeologists to the 19th century, which was discovered in Jerusalem, is seen in this photo made available by the City of David Foundation, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006. The pendants and other findings came from underneath one of the world's most fascinating and explosive holy places: The Temple Mount, or Haram el-Sharif, is the holiest place in the world for Jews, who venerate it as the site of two ancient temples, and the third-holiest site for Muslims, who believe it is the place where Mohammed ascended to heaven during a nighttime journey recounted in the Koran. (AP Photo/Zeev Radovan) JERUSALEM -- Off an East Jerusalem side street, between an olive orchard and an abandoned hotel, sit a few piles of stones and dirt that are yielding important insights into Jerusalem's history.
They come from one of the world's most disputed holy places - the square in the heart of Jerusalem that is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
The story behind the rubble includes an underground crypt, a maverick college student, a white-bearded archaeologist, thousands of relics spanning millennia and a feud between Israelis and Palestinians which is heavily shaped by ancient history.
Among finds that have emerged are a coin struck during the Jewish revolt against the Romans, arrowheads shot by Babylonian archers and by Roman siege machinery, Christian charms, a 3,300-year-old fragment of Egyptian alabaster, Bronze Age flint instruments, and - the prize discovery - the imprint of a seal possibly linked to a priestly Jewish family mentioned in the Old Testament's Book of Jeremiah.
And the finds keep coming. On a drizzly November morning, Gabriel Barkay, the veteran biblical archaeologist who runs the dig, sat in a tent near the mounds examining some newly discovered coins stamped by various Holy Land powers: the Hasmonean dynasty of Jewish kings more than 2,000 years ago, a Roman procurator around the time of Pontius Pilate, the early Christians of the Byzantine Empire, two Islamic dynasties and the British in the 20th century.
Considering the wealth of findings, it is odd, perhaps, that this is an excavation that was never supposed to happen.
Jews revere the Mount as the site of their two ancient temples. Muslims believe it's where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during a nighttime journey recounted in the Quran. Two mosques stand on the site, as do some of the temple's original retaining walls, including the Jewish shrine called the Western Wall, but there is no visible trace of the temple itself.
The site has been the frequent arena of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, and its volatility has prevented archaeologists from ever touching it.
In November 1999, the Waqf, the Muslim organization that administers the site's Islamic holy places, opened an emergency exit to an ancient underground chamber of stone pillars and arches known to Jews as Solomon's Stables and to Muslims as the Marwani mosque.
Ignoring fierce protest from Israeli archaeologists who said priceless artifacts were being destroyed to erase traces of Jewish history, the Waqf dug a large pit, removed tons of earth and rubble that had been used as landfill and dumped much of it in the nearby Kidron Valley.
The Waqf's position was, and remains, that the rubble was of recent vintage and without archaeological value.
Zachi Zweig, a 27-year-old archaeology undergraduate at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv, showed up at the dump a few days later. Though Israel's archaeological establishment had shown no interest in the rubble, Zweig was sure it was important, especially after a Waqf representative told him to leave.
Zweig returned surreptitiously with friends, gathered samples of the rubble and discovered a high concentration of ancient pottery shards. He was charged by the Israel Antiquities Authority with stealing relics - charges that were later dropped - and finally convinced Barkay, his lecturer at the university, that the rubble needed to be studied.
In 2004, after five years spent getting a dig license and raising funds, they had 75 truckloads of rubble moved to a lot on the slopes of Jerusalem's Mount Scopus.
The first coin they found, Barkay said, was one issued during the Jewish revolt that preceded the Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., imprinted with the Hebrew words "Freedom of Zion."
The most valuable find so far, Barkay believes, is a clay seal impression discovered last year. Its incomplete Hebrew lettering appears to name Ge'aliyahu, son of Immer. Immer is the name of a family of temple officials mentioned in Jeremiah 20:1.
Another important discovery is the many relics from the early Christian era, which seem to disprove the notion that the site was abandoned in those years as a symbol of God's abandonment of the Jews.
Stephen Pfann of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, best known for his work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, said moving the rubble around has jumbled its contents and diminished its scholarly value.
But even so, "This is an insight into the life of Jerusalem, and whatever they find will be very exciting," he said.
Archaeology here, however, is rarely just about providing insight into the past.
Barkay's dig is funded by the City of David Foundation, a hard-line religious group which spends most of its money settling Jewish families in Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. It's part of a broader attempt by groups affiliated with the settler movement to make the point that Jerusalem is Jewish.
When it removed the rubble, the Waqf was trying to destroy evidence of Jewish history on the Temple Mount, said Uri Ragones, a foundation spokesman. "We are going back to Jerusalem physically, learning about it and uncovering our past. We're touching our deepest roots as a people."
For its part, the Waqf says it wasn't destroying any evidence of Jewish presence - because there isn't any.
"I have seen no evidence of a temple," said the Waqf's director, Adnan Husseini. He had heard "stories," he acknowledged, "but these are an attempt to change the situation here today, and any change would be very dangerous."
Such reactions don't surprise Israeli Historian Gershom Gorenberg, whose book "The End of Days" documents the fight over the holy site.
"Dig a centimeter beneath the debate over antiquities," he said, "and you hit the debate over whom the Mount belongs to, and a centimeter beneath that is the war over whom the entire country belongs to."
These forums are maintained by
Atlantis Rising as a public service. The intent is to give everyone the freedom
to express independent points of view without censure or undue restriction.
However, we ask that you act responsibly in the exercise of your freedoms.
Please keep all comments in good taste and free from insult or the disparagement
of any individual or group (religious, political, racial, ethnic, sexual preference,
For the record, the management
of Atlantis Rising wishes to make clear that any and all statements presented
on this forum represent the views of that particular writer ONLY and should
NOT be construed to represent in any way the views, opinions or policies of
Atlantis Rising Magazine or AtlantisRising.com.