Category Archives: Temple

Model of Second Temple Jerusalem

The model of Jerusalem on a 1 to 50 scale that depicts Jerusalem as it would have appeared just prior to the First Revolt (began ca. 66 CE) is justly famous.  Professor Michael Avi–Yonah was the original consultant and the model has been updated on a number of occasions—based upon new archaeological discoveries.

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I thought some might find the following labeled image useful.

modelgeneral01View looking north northeast at the model of Second Temple Jerusalem.  On the left (west) side of the image is the higher “western hill.”  This is where the elite of Jerusalem lived (see Wohl Museum).  Note the placement of the “theater.”  However, no archaeological evidence of the structure of theater has been found.

Note the bridge that connects the Western Hill with the Temple Mount (see Wilson’s Arch) and the platform and staircase to the south of it (see Robinson’s Arch).

In the center, and right (east) of center, is the Herodian Temple platform with the Temple clearly visible.  On the south end of the platform the long red–roofed building is the Royal Portico (stoa).  Below it are the two Double Gates that led up into the Temple Mount.  Note the staircases that lead up to them.  The large open space to the south of the Mount is where originally a “stadium” was placed.  However, in spite of excavations, no evidence of it has been found and thus it was removed from the model.

On the northwestern corner of the Temple Platform is the Antonia Fortress.

This model was originally built on the grounds of the Holy Land Hotel but has been moved to the Israel Museum.

Worshiping the Roman Emperor

After preparing for, leading, and reflecting on some twenty trips to Turkey and Greece that emphasize the development of the early church there, it has become more and more evident that one of the “cutting edges” of scholarship has to do with how the Early Church came into contact and conflict with the common practice of “worshiping” the Roman Emperor.

This conflict has been examined extensively in connection with the New Testament book of Revelation, but it is now more evident that Paul and others interfaced with this cult to a much greater degree than was previously emphasized.

Questions such as to whom did early Christians owe their allegiance arose?

The Roman Emperor Claudius (nude as a deity in a divine epiphany with drapery billowing above his head; A.D. 41-54) portrayed as a deity receiving homage from the earth (cornucopia on the lower left) and the sea (ship’s steering oar lower right)
Claudius is presented as a “universal saviour and divine protector”
Original from the Sebasteion (below) now in the the museum at Aphrodisias

To the Emperor?  To a crucified peasant from a far eastern Roman province—namely Jesus?   How could these “Jesus is the King” people be loyal subjects to the Kingdom of the Emperor while at the same time being loyal subjects to the Kingdom of God?

Continue reading

Solomon’s Temple — A 3D Video (5 min)

Daniel Smith has created an informative, beautiful, video that illustrates what Solomon’s Temple looked like.  This 3D model is based upon 1 Kings 6 and 7 and uses some of the material that Leen Ritmeyer presented in his excellent book The Quest.  Ritmeyer says:

Although I don’t agree with some of the details, the video is well worth watching.

Enjoy.

HT: Leen Ritmeyer

Ancient Capital on Temple Mount?

Life on the Haram esh–Sharif (Temple Mount in Jerusalem) is not static but dynamic!  Over the years the Muslims have been refurbishing older structures and completely remodeling others.  In the process much debris has been discarded, some of which was from ancient structures—possibly even from the Second Temple Period.

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A well-carved ancient capital that was on the debris pile
of the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
June 2011
Click on image to Enlarge (or download if you wish)

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Debris pile on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
located east of the Dome of the Rock — July 2009
Click on image to Enlarge (or download if you wish)

For additional images of “Life on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount”
Click Here.

Underground the Temple Mount (Haram esh-Sharif) Very Unique Photos

In his recent blog Leen Ritmeyer, THE expert on the history/archaeology of the Temple Mount, has shared some very very unique photos including an underground tunnel that leads from cistern #10 to a Byzantine building.

Temple Mount Cisterns

Note Cistern #10 in the lower portion of the diagram.

Also included is a rarely seen photo of the “Cradle of Jesus” that is/was located at the southeastern corner of the Temple Mound (evidently in the so-called “Solomon’s Stables”).

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The “Cradle of Jesus” in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount (in the so-called “Solomon’s Stables” — Please see the link to Ritmeyer’s blog for the complete article

For the complete article Click Here (a 5 minute read with 5 wonderful photos and an informative diagram).

PS — The Temple Mount may not have been devoid of structures as previously thought!!  See his article.

 

Aside

Leen Ritmeyer has done more for our understanding of the Temple Mount (Haram esh-Sharif) than anyone else. So far he has published 8 different studies including informative diagrams that describe the development of the Temple Mount through history:  Mount Moriah, … Continue reading

Ancient Timber on Temple Mount?

In recent years there have been several articles and news items that argue that some of the timbers that were discarded after the remodeling of the el-Aqsa Mosque on the Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem are quite ancient—possibly even from the Temple that Herod built (the Second Temple) around 15 B.C.

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Wooden debris—including timbers—stored just west of the Golden Gate on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
Photo June 2009 — Click on image to enlarge and/or download

I thought I would share one of my pictures of such debris from a pile that was located just west of the interior of Golden Gate (to view exterior Click Here).  Note especially the notched  beams on the far side of the pile.

On of the more recent articles is that of Peretz Reuven, “Wooden Beams from Herod’s Temple Mount: Do They Still Exist?”Biblical Archaeological Review 39, no. 3 (May/June 2013): 40–47.

Temple A at Laodicea (turned into a “library”?) — Part 1 of 2 Parts

Rev. 3:14–17 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: . . . 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (NIV)

When we first visited the site of Laodicea in 1999 for all practical purposes the site had not been excavated and information about it was “sketchy.”  Since 2003 very large scale excavations have been taking place under the direction of Professor Celal Şimşek.

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Celal Şimşek (center, excavator of Laodicea), Tulu Gokkadar (left, guide), Carl Rasmussen (right, content provider to http://www.HolyLandPhotos.org) in front of Temple A.

One, of the many(!), outstanding finds is “Temple A.”

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View looking north at the reconstructed entrance to Temple A at Laodicea. Notice the steps leading up to the entrance, the four spiral columns on plinth, and the composite capitals (a combination of the Ionic and Corinthian orders)—all signs that this is a Late Roman phase of the Temple) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

According to the excavator, Celal Şimşek (on site verbal communication 2014; but see below), Temple A was established in the first century A.D. and was dedicated to Apollo (not to Zeus as some previously speculated). Soon the sister of Apollo, Artemis, was worshiped here and eventually Imperial Cult worship was also added (very early fourth century A.D.—during the reign of Diocletian).

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View (2008) of the vaulted substructure of Temple A not too long after its excavation. Note the arch and the springs of the arch (on both sides of the image) of the vaulting (typically Roman construction) — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

Previously there was some speculation that Temple A was dedicated to Zeus partially because of analogies with the Temple of Zeus at Aizanoi.

Carl Rasmussen Copyright and Contact

The temple of Zeus at Aizanoi has a special subterranean temple below the main temple, as does Temple A at Laodicea — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

At Aizanoi Zeus was worshiped at the above ground temple while Cybele (mother goddess) was worshiped in the subterranean chamber (above).

More next time on some evidence as to the Apollo and Artemis connections at Laodicea.


According to an undated glossy brochure distributed at the site, Temple A was:

“. . . built in the Antonine period (second century CE) . . . [and] was heavily renovated in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian (284–305 CE)”

“[The] Temple was used as [a] religious archive of the Ladoicea Church when Christianity was accepted as [the] official religion in the 4th century CE . . . and [the] temple was destroyed after the earthquake in 494 CE”

Steven Fine has noted that the Church at Laodicea was evidently anti-Jewish—as evidenced by the anti-Jewish Council of Laodicea that was held at Laodicea soon after the death of Julian the Apostate in A.D. 363.  See a previous post on a menorah and cross.

Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima

Most tour/study groups will visit Caesarea Maritima as part of their program in the Holy Land.  There they will typically visit the theater, the hippodrome/circus, the Crusader City, and the aqueduct.

The Mithraeum is inside the left (northern) storage vault

Another interesting, but infrequently visited site is the Mithraeum that is located in one of the storage vault areas just to the north of the seaside hippodrome/circus.  There, from the first to the fourth century pagans worshiped the deity Mithra/Mithras.

The worship of Mithra was especially favored by soldiers in the Roman Legions.

Mithra slaying the bull — a statue in the British Museum
To view a full size image with commentary and without markings Click Here

The statue above depicts Mithra dressed in a flowing garment with a Phrygian style hat.  Notice him plunging his knife into the bull while a dog and a snake lap up the blood.  A scorpion is biting the bull’s genitals.

View of the worship area with altar, benches, and a Summer Solstice “window” arranged so that at noon on 20/21 June the sunlight would shine into this area

The above is a view looking at the eastern end of the Mithraeum.  The altar  is visible at the far end and in the upper portion of the image is a “window” in the vault that allowed sunlight to fall on the worship center at noon on 20/21 June—the time of the summer solstice.

Marble Medallion — Mithra slaying the bull — From Caesarea Maritima
To view a full size image of this Medallion Click Here

One very unique find from the Mithraeum is a marble medallion that depicts Mithra slaying the bull.

For additional commentary and to view additional high-resolution images
Click Here.

The “seldom visited” Asclepion at Corinth

Most visitors to Corinth stop at the small, but significant, museum located on the site.

Terra Cotta Body Parts Found in/near the Temple of Asclepius at Corinth

There they have assemble a large number of terra cotta body parts that were Continue reading