(updated March 3, 2013)
by Norma Robertson
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|The main concern for people trying to decide where the
Jewish Temple was once located should begin with the eastern ridge itself.
What did it look like in the time of King David and Solomon?
We now look at it and see a huge fat surface but that wasn't always the
case. The place of the Dome of the Rock was the peak of a very high
mountain, the highest point of the eastern ridge. From there it slopped
down towards the south reaching a lower level called the Ophel, and then
down to the level of the old City of David. So we have two theories
that place the temple at the peak of the Mountain, one at the place of
the Dome of the Spirit, the other at the Dome of the Rock (numbers
1. and 2. on the map). Two problems arise with these theories.
The first, is that a threshing floor was never located on the rocky peak
of the mountain. The second, is that Josephus places Fort Antonia on the
highest peak of the Mountain, saying the fort overlooked the Temple, and
the Temple overlooked the city. This tells us that the eastern ridge had
three distinct levels, the rocky peak, the middle level, with a very large
flat rock, which was used as a threshing floor, and the lower level where
the City of David was located.
Two theories show the Temple located on the middle level of the eastern ridge, Tuvia Sagiv's and Norma Robertson's (numbers 3. and 4. on the map). The middle level is defined by a large outcropping of bedrock protruding out of the hill which is called Ophel hill. This can be seen in the huge steps, which were cut into that bedrock at the southern wall of the Temple Mount. At the top of the steps the rock levels out where the threshing floor would have been located. This would have been deep below the surface of the Mount we see today. Both of these middle level theories rely on the water source of the lower aqueduct. Solomon, bringing fresh water to the Temple Mount, originally built the lower aqueduct. It utilized Etam Spring and Solomon's Pools. It enters the Temple Mount at Wilson's Arch and angles southward, down hill, to the place of the Muslim Fountain. It then continues southward, through water Channels, ending at the location for Norma Robertson's theory. Abaye, a Jewish sage of the 4th century, was quoted as saying;" What comes out is that the Ein Etam (the spring of Etam) is 23 cubits higher than the Azara (Temple Court).” 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." The Dome of the Rock area did not have a fresh water source, only cisterns.
Dr Martin's theory (number 5 on the map), with the Temple located at the lower level of the eastern ridge in the City of David, centers around the Gihon spring. He claimed that this was the water source for cleansing the Temple court. If this were so then King Hezekiah wouldn't have diverted the waters of the Gihon to the south, away from Martin's proposed site for the Temple.2Chr 32:30 "It was Hezekiah who blocked the upper outlet of the Gihon spring and channeled the water down to the west side of the City of David."
How big was the temple compound and Fort Antonia altogether?
Josephus says the Temple Mount was "six furlongs around, including fort Antonia" A furlong was approximately 600 feet long.
According to Josephus the Temple compound by itself was a square 4 furlong around, that is approximately 600 X 600 square. Making both compounds when combined to be 600 X 1200 feet. The combined temple compound and fort Antonia compounds were were a complex forming a rectangle approximately 1200 x 600 feet.
In a plea of Josephus to the Jews he quoted an old Jewish prophecy that said "When the Temple becomes four-square once again then will the temple and city be destroyed." By the destruction of Fort Antonia the temple had once again become four-square and he begged them to make peace with the Roman's before it was to late. Of course they refused.
Where was the Moat Josephus spoke of?
According to Josephus there was a man cut moat between Fort Antonia and the of Bezetha hill (new city) separating the two hills. The moat was evacuated by Charles Warren in the late 1800's and can be seen on His map of the Temple Mount.
I have taken the layout for each of the theories and applied Josephus' dimensions in the form of a red rectangle.
Kaufman's Dome of the Spirits theory would actually have the northwest corner of the Temple compound in the moat. In this theory the ruins of the moat (foss) on Warren's map is not acknowledged. Fort Antonia is not a furlong by a furlong in this theory.
Ritmeyer Dome of the Rock theory incorporates the whole Temple Mount as the size of the Herodian extended walls to the West, North and South, making it double the size of Josephus' description. In this theory the actual ruins of the moat on Warren's map is also not acknowledged at all. Fort Antonia is also not a furlong by a furlong in this theory, but claims it to have been where the Muslim School is located on Bezetha hill.
In Sagiv's Muslim Fountain theory the moat is in the proper
place. A 600 x 600 foot Fort Antonia would fit well, leaving the moat as
separating Fort Antonia from Bezetha hill, but I don't know what Mr. Sagiv
shows as Fort Antonia in his theory. Perhaps it is also the Muslim
..Dome of Rock-Ritmeyer Theory
In Martin's City of David theory (below) it is apparent
that For Anontia would have been the entire size of the Temple Mount. This
theory does not comply to the Temple and Fort Antonia together being six
furlong around. "six furlongs around, including fort Antonia". This
also seems to ignore the moat on Warrens map and extends the fort right
up to Bezetha hill.
In the Robertson theory (below) the moat is located between Fort Antonia and the Bezetha hill. Fort Antonia would have been situated on the highest of the hills as recorded by Josephus. The aqueduct and existing underground water system brings the living water to the Priest's court. The ruins on the top of what is referred to as Ophel Hill fit into the layout. and so do the underground structures below the surface of the Mount. And unlike Mr. Sagiv's theory the Wailing Wall was part of the Herodian extended courts of the Temple to the North, West and South.
-Temple Mount and Ophel
-With cistern explainations
|5 location Theories
-Map and info
-Map of City Walls
-On the highest hill
-What was Triple Gate?
-Not Huldah Gate
-Who built it?
-Ruins reveal the location
-illustration 70 AD
-According to ruins
-According to Josephus
- from David to Herod
-A little history