Sifting through 5,000 years of history and the three major Abrahamic religions associated with Jerusalem’s Temple Mount – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – has been a challenge; hence the erratic postings since my Middle East trip.
I even did some pinch hitting in early May following my return from the Middle East via a destination wedding in Nags Head when my niece married while I worked to fill my historical gap. One-hundred-fifty years of history behind the Wright Brother’s Museum, Jockey Ridge, and the Bodie Island Lighthouse was just a drop in the bucket compared to the flood of history associated with the Holy Land.
Wouldn’t you know it; I’m drowning in a flood approaching Biblical proportions.
To paraphrase Eyal Meiron, a historian at the Ben-Avi Institute for the Study of Eretz Israel, “The Temple Mount is saturated with the history of Jerusalem.”
That’s what I’m talking about!
I had no idea the proliferation of religions on this one mighty mount. As the saying goes, we don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. I are Christian; I felt the dumbfounded pilgrim wandering through the ancient ruins of this sacred Jewish site, following in King Herod’s footprints.
King Herod’s renovations in the first century BC included a rectangular retaining wall around the slopes of the Temple Mount. He filled in the area, the size of 27 football fields, with thousands of tons of rubble to form a massive plaza around the temple.
Jimmy and I, along with the other members of our group,
Very little appears new when it comes to Old Jerusalem. Duh! The golden, Islamic Dome of the Rock, now situated in the center of the Temple Mount, dates to 691 CE, built during Jerusalem’s First Muslim Period (638-1099 CE). It was built atop the ruins of King Herod’s Second Temple along with the al-Aksa Mosque nearby.
No, there will not be a test following this post!
No wonder everybody is clamoring for this coveted hilltop.
Purportedly, in an attempt to rival the Christian domes of its time (i.e. the nearby Church of the Holy Sepulchre) the rotunda, an otherwise unusual architectural design for Muslims, became the focal point atop the Temple Mount for the Islamic miracle of the Isra and Miraj (the Night Journey).
Possession appears nine-tenths of the law, and currently that law is Islamic.
The only portion of the Temple Mount that has been accessible to Jews for prayer during the thousand year Muslim rule has been the infamous exposed portion of King Herod’s Western Wall (the Kotel).
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan helped revive a traditional Jewish custom when he inserted a written petition into the cracks on the stone wall following the 1967 Six-Day War when Israel reclaimed this remnant of the most sacred of Jewish sites.