Five Temple Mount Theories
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How big was the Temple and Fort Antonia compounds altogether?
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, 600 X 600. and
when combined the Temple and Fort Antonia compounds were a complex
forming a rectangle of approximately 600 X 1200 feet. Josephus quoted
book 6; 5.4 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 too 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 Bezetha
hill (new city) separating the two hills. The moat was excavated by
Charles Warren in the late 1800's and can be seen on his map of the
Temple Mount. Where did the water to cleanse the Temple Court come from?It came from the Lower Aqueduct fed by the Ein Etam (the spring of Etam) Tosefta Psachim, Ch. 3, Par. 12, asks "How is the Azara cleaned? Seal the area and let the water from the aqueduct enter till it becomes clean like milk."(Wars Of The Jews 5. 5. 2. ) Talmud (Zebhachim 54b), and in the Jer. Talmud (Yoma' 3 fol 41)Which Theories Fit These Descriptions? 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. Josephus claimed that one could not see
the Temple from New City (Bezetha hill) because Fort Antonia blocked
the view of it. This would only be the case if the Temple were on a
lower point on the eastern ridge. 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. Also a threshing floor
was never located on the rocky peak of the mountain. Two theories place
the temple at the peak of the Mountain, the Dome of the Spirit, (#1) the other at the Dome of the Rock (#2).Two theories show the Temple located on the middle level of the eastern ridge, Tuvia Sagiv's (#3) and Norma Robertson's (#4).Dr
Martin's theory (#5), with the Temple located at the lower level of the
eastern ridge in the City of David, and centers around the Gihon spring.
Kaufman - Dome of the Spirits theory
would actually have the northwest corner of the Temple compound in the
excavated 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. He also doesn't confine the Temple to a square of one
furlong by one furlong. There doesn't appear to be a fresh water source
in the area, only cisterns. The first two theories, Kaufman's and
Ritmeyer's, 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 these theories 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.Ritmeyer - Dome of the Rock theory shows
Solomon's Temple compound in, blue on the map, as being 500 x 500
cubits (according to the Mishna Middot 2.1 which says "The Temple on
the Mount was 500 x 500 ama,").
However I find it quite a coincidence
that if this were referring to a Babylonian cubit of 14.4 (used for
buildings) then 500 ama equals 600 feet, or one furlong, which fits the
size of the Herodian Temple given by Josephus. The Mishna is of course
speaking of Herod's Temple, not Solomon's. But somehow Ritmeyer claims
that Solomon's Temple was an ama x ama and shows the remainder of the
mount as Herod's extended courts.. Ritmeyer claims the whole east wall
of the mount today, which is 1470 feet long, as the east wall of the
Herodian Temple compound, over double the size claimed by Josephus. All
a bit confusing, since there is not a furlong to be found amongst his
numbers. In simple terms, Ritmeyer is claiming the Mishna is speaking
of "Solomon's Temple" compound and then applying a Royal Cubit of 20.67
inches to it so that it comes out to be 500 royal ama. The Dome of the
Rock area did not have a fresh water source, only cisterns.In Tuvia 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.
In his theory the walls of the Temple Mount
today were built by Hadrian for the Temple of Jupiter, and none of them
on the west at least, are Herodian walls. He states that the Wailing
wall was not a wall of the Temple. I am agreement with much of what
Tuvia Sagiv gives for a lower location for the Temple on the Mount,
such as the view into the place of the sacrifices from both the high
tower of Fort Antonia and also the balcony of Agrippa II, also water
levels of the mount. His Temple location allows for the aqueduct as the
source for water. One of the main problems with this theory is that the
Place of the Trumpeting stone was found at below the Southwest corner
of the Temple Mount. It fell during the destruction of the Temple and
cracked the paving stones on the first century street below. This makes
it irrefutable that this corner was part of the Temple. Another problem
arose when recently a “place for sacrificing” was found underground in
the City of David. It is believed that the place of sacrifice found in
the City of David was in use pre-David, perhaps dating back to the time
of Melchizedek (2000 BC). This means it was already there during the
time of David....If so then it can not be “the threshing floor” that
David purchaseCity of David theory (Dr.
Martin and all others that claim the location of the Temple was in the
City of David.) In Martin's theory, it is apparent that Fort Antonia
would have been the entire size of the Temple Mount.
This theory does
not comply to the Temple and Fort Antonia together being "six furlongs
around, including fort Antonia" (600 x 1200 ft). Instead he claims the
area between the Fort and the Temple was 600 x 600 feet, which distorts
the text of Josephus.
This also ignores the moat on Warren's map and
extends the fort right up to Bezetha hill. I will spend the most time
on this theory because Christians seems to be drawn to this theory
since many believe it would not cause problems with the Muslims to
rebuild a Temple here.
You will recognize this drawing as Dr. Martin's theory, and is also what Bob Cornuke claims to be correct.
I rotated in it's proper proportions so the image will fit correctly over Charles Wilson's survey map.
Map of excavations in the City of David....................Charles Wilson map with overlay of archeology excavation map, and Martin's drawing.. ..................................
Eilat Mazar excavated a 1000 to 900 BC royal building, according to
the artifacts found at that layer. She believes this to be David's
ruins do not resemble any part of the Temple or Temple platform.
This huge building and the Temple can not occupy the same
place, which puts an end to Dr. Martin and Robert Cornuke's theoriesI
read where Dr Martin said that the southeast corner was 300 cubits high
according to Josephus and was built into the bedrock of the Kidron
valley. The text does not say that at all. Josephus tells us. “The
lowest part of this (lower court of the temple) was erected to the
height of 300 cubits, and in some places more; yet did not the entire
depth of the foundations appear, for they as being desirous to make
them on a level with the narrow streets of the city; wherein they made
use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude;”This
of course was speaking of the southwest corner where there were narrow
streets of the city to bring the level up to. Not the Southeast comer
where there were no streets. There was no way to bury the foundation
stones of the southeast corner if they had been built clear to the
bottom of the Kidron Valley. The first century Herodian street
uncovered along the western wall lays far above the foundation stones
that were laid on the bedrock of the Tyropoean valley and that is the
valley Josephus was speaking of. There was no aqueduct to cleanse the
Temple court in the City of David location. These are just a few of the
reasons that this City of David theory does not work.
In the Robertson theory
moat is located between Fort Antonia and the Bezetha hill. Fort Antonia
was on the highest of the hills as recorded by Josephus. The aqueduct
and existing underground water system brings the living water to the
This theory relies on the water source of the lower
aqueduct. Solomon, bringing fresh water to the Temple Mount, originally
built the lower aqueduct. 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 this theory. 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. This level is defined by a large
outcropping of bedrock protruding out of the hill which is called Ophel
hill. This can be seen by 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 deep below the surface of the Mount we see today. It is a real
plus that it also agrees with the measurements given by Josephus for
the temple. In this theory the Wailing Wall was part of the Herodian
extended courts of the Temple to the West.
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