Tradition has held that Solomon’s Temple, the first permanent temple that the Israelites built in Jerusalem around 968 B.C. and destroyed around 587 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar, was located on the same site as the modern-day Muslim mosque, the Dome of the Rock. A new archaeological team made up of Garth Norman, Lance Harding, Jason Jones, and John Pratt who have been studying the subject for several months propose that the original temple might have actually been located between the modern Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Tablets. They propose that Solomon’s Temple could be rebuilt, the Third Temple, on its precise original location without disturbing the standing Muslim mosque. At least 20 other locations have been proposed for the site, including Margaret Barker’s last Monday, so it will be interesting to see how this new theory is accepted.
See the full article at Meridian Magazine:
Some of the evidence this new theory presents seems somewhat unconvincing to me, such as the “pillar base.” Could a pillar base from Solomon’s Temple really have survived intact on the temple mount since 587 B.C.? What have other scholars proposed as the purpose of this stone, which stands out in the middle of the otherwise flat temple mount? If that is where Solomon’s temple originally stood, and the pillar base is intact, would we not also see some evidence for the exterior or interior walls?
The question has been asked, and could be asked again, if the Third Temple has to be built directly on the first temple site at all, or only near it. What do you think about this latest theory?
It’s not convincing. However, it does bring up an interesting point that we don’t really know where the temple was or where it will be.
This theory was recently explored on an episode of The Naked Archaeologist.
And what did they say in the episode?
They discounted the theory. It was a very good episode. Very informative of what is happening with the third temple movement.
It seems that the problem derives from the hatred that each radical group has for the other. The temple mount could become a beacon of peace for the world if the three sides of the conflict could learn to accept each other and put their differences aside. I had a professor of Arabic at college that once told us that the Latter-day saints may be able to bring them to an agreement because we have a unique view of all three major religious groups. Imagine what it could be like if the temple mount were a center of religious tolerance in the middle east, however it would take a lot of maturity and patience on the part of those concerned. I know that there will need to be many changes before that happens, but miracles do happen in our day.
I hate to break it to them, but this theory has been around for quite a while. I took a trip to Israel in 1993 and my tour guide expressed a very similar theory that put the Holy of Holies at the Dome of the Tablet. He expressed the same idea that the Temple could be rebuilt without disturbing the Dome of the Rock.
I think its a pretty good theory, but I am starting to like theories such as Margaret Barker’s that the First Temple was located in a totally different place. So the question is: do you want to rebuild the First Temple or the Second Temple. I sent a message to the Temple Institute in Jerusalem (folks that are working to rebuild the temple), asking them that question, but they never answered. The Second Temple was supposed to be a rebuilding of the First Temple, but there is evidence that it was a very different building built in a different place, and with a different priesthood and ordinances. Then there is Ezekiel’s vision of the future temple in Jerusalem–should the Jews try to build their temple following this pattern? Many good questions that are difficult to answer.
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