Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Findings at the Jerusalem Temple Wall

A new archaeological discovery is confirming the report of the first century Jewish historian Josephus regarding the building of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Here's the AP report:
Newly found coins underneath Jerusalem's Western Wall could change the accepted belief about the construction of one of the world's most sacred sites two millennia ago, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday.

It was long thought that the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary was built in its entirety by Herod, a Jewish ruler who died in 4 B.C. The compound replaced and expanded a much older Jewish temple complex on the same site.
But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound's Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod's death.

That indicates that Herod did not build the wall - part of which is venerated as Judaism's holiest prayer site - and that construction was not close to being complete at the time of his death.

"The find changes the way we see the construction, and shows it lasted for longer than we originally thought," said the dig's co-director, Eli Shukron.
The article goes on to explain that the finding confirms the report of the construction of the temple offered by Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian.
"The coins confirm a contemporary account by Josephus Flavius, a Jewish general who became a Roman historian. Writing after the destruction of the Temple by Rome in 70 A.D., he recounted that work on the Temple Mount was completed only by King Agrippa II, Herod's great-grandson."
H/T Jim West, who has a great slideshow of pictures from the dig. Great stuff! Check them out! See also the video below:

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