Numismatic and History Discussions > Biblical & Judean Coins

proof of First Temple's existance

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I have heard many people discredit the existance of the First Temple using the proof that no archaeological evidence has ever been found to authenticate it.  My question is this: have there ever been excavations on the site of the Temple?  If so, what have these excavations come up with?  Would the Temple be directly below the Dome of the Rock?  having never been to Jerusalem, I don't really know the geography of the city very well.

Sorry, I know I'm openning up a whole can of worms here, but civil debate is a good thing, right?  :)

thanks for any clarification.

The site of the First Temple would presumably be somewhere on the Temple Mount; it's never been excavated. The only 'artefact' ever found that was supposed to be from it was an ivory pomegranate which proved eventually to be a fake, probably from the same person who forged the James ossuary. I don't see any reason to discredit its existence though!

It's pretty plain that for the exiles to return with a grandiose scheme for reforming the Israelite religion, there has to have been a previous, well-established cult of Yahweh to be reformed. The pre-Exilic community worshipped many gods, but there's never been any serious suggestion that Yahweh wasn't worshipped, and in the ANE, you couldn't have a religious cult without a temple.

It's pretty clear from the Book of Kings that the kings of Judah had a major role in the operation of the Temple. Exactly what that role is isn't known; the book was probably fairly heavily edited later, when there were no kings, the High Priest was the effective local ruler, and they decidedly didn't want royalty interfering in their bailiwick! But there  are references to the Temple treasury being used to supply the king's war chest, and the king giving orders for repairs to the Temple. It really has to have been in Jerusalem; why would the Old Testament authors have been going on about Zion so much if it wasn't a traditional centre of Yahweh's cult? It was probably small; I see it more as a royal chapel attached to the king's palace than anything else, in which case it would be unlikely to be found by ill-advised burrowing.

There has been a persistent rumor for years that the Israelies have been digging under the temple mount/dome of the rock.  This is just a rumor and no digs have been undertaken there.  It is true that they have dug along the western wall of the temple mount, but this is on the side away from the temple mount.  You can actually take a tour of this area, it is fascinating.  There is one old ancient gateway that leads under the old temple mount, but about 10 years ago they did some minor digging their, only a few feet and the project was soon stopped.
It is true that the wafti, muslim authorities have been digging out the area that is known as Solomon's stables to make it into another mosque to expand room for prayer.  These "stables" are actually from Byzantine or Crusaders time though.  There is concern that the excavations in Solomons Stables have weakened  the foundations of this region of the temple mount.  This is disputed though, with the Palestinians saying that it has not been weakened and the Israelies saying that it has.  Recently a Jordanian team has gone in, I am not sure but I believe that the conclusion was that although the area could be in danger soon, for now it appears stable.
The main tourist entrance to the temple mount is without a doubt an unstable region, but this is not part of the temple mount itself and their is a plan inplace to replace this entrance with a bridge.
Once again, it is an old rumor that the Israelies have dug under the temple mount and made the area unstable, this is another rumor started to stir up religious fervour and cloud the climate of peaceful co-existence.

Howard Cole:
I have to agree with Ibex Coins.  It is just a rumor about the tunnels being dug under the temple mound.  I have been following this closely and there is no evidence for the tunnels, nothing published or found as far as I have read.

Will we ever know what is under the temple mound?  Most likely never.  It is a too holy of site to ever allow serious digging.  Unless we develop better methods of remote sensing, we can only speculate about the existence of the First Temple.


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