Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/ Flash 90
In this article, the NYTimes takes on the Jewish Temples and the Temple Mount.  Entitled “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place”, Rick Gladstone poses a question (see below for the paper’s correction)

“which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered…whether the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.”

His theme:

“Many historians have said independent scientific verification of such a reference is problematic”


“The sources for the first temple are solely biblical, and no substantial archaeological remains have been verified”


Gladstone, Reporter and Editor on the paper’s Foreign Desk  recently reported on migrants to Greece and Binyamin Netanyahu at the UN but doesn’t seem to have any specific acquaintance with archaeology.

Matthew J. Adams, Dorot director of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem appears and is quoted saying, “We just don’t have enough primary source data, textual or archaeological, to say where it was with any confidence…“It’s also an academically complex question.” Rivka Gonen’s book is noted.  Wendy Pullan is quoted saying “The sources for the first temple are solely biblical, and no substantial archaeological remains have been verified.” Jane Cahill, who was a senior staff archaeologist for Hebrew University’s City of David Archaeological Project, says “nobody knows exactly” where the temples once stood, although “pretty powerful circumstantial evidence” suggests they were on the site.  Kent Bramlett of La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif. offers that historical records of the Roman committed destruction are “pretty overwhelming” in supporting the existence of the second temple in the immediate vicinity of the Dome of the Rock.
Unnamed archaeologists

“agree that the religious body of evidence, corroborated by other historical accounts and artifacts that have been recovered from the site or nearby, supports the narrative that the Dome of the Rock was built on or close to the place where the Jewish temples once stood.”

Of course, the main problem* is excavations and the article informs us that the

“Waqf has never permitted invasive archaeological work that could possibly yield proof of either temple.”

and that

“Because there have been no organized excavations there, and not likely to be, circumstantial     evidence is probably all we’re going to have”

Gaby Barkay and Tzachi Dvira are missing.  Eilat Mazar is missing.  Dan Bahat, too.  Even a Google search could have enriched the piece.  It is not clear if he consulted with anyone at the Rockefeller Museum or reviewed the works of Robert Hamilton and his 1949 “The structural history of the Aqsa Mosque: a record of archaeological gleanings from the repairs of 1938-1942” or Jon Seligman’s article in this collection.  And so many more academic articles that would provide a more balanced picture. And where is the purposeful destruction of Jewish artifacts by the Waqf?

Another dig at Jewish history and Zionism.


Don’t forget:


  • Muhmammed’s flight on a winged horse to a place that couldn’t have been a mosque prior to 630 is taken at face value to justify the Dome of the Rock & Al-Aqsa.

    A good book. A good article.



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