The Destruction of the Second Temple
"Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth," let Israel now say - "Sorely have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows." The LORD is righteous; he has cut the cords of the wicked. May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward! Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up, with which the reaper does not fill his hand or the binder of sheaves his bosom, while those who pass by do not say, "The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!" (Psalm 129. A Psalm of Ascents)
Prelude to the Second Desolation of JerusalemSamuel, Kings and Chronicles, as well as most every one of the prophets of Israel, give us copious amounts of information telling us why it was that Israel was taken into exile in Babylon and why the magnificent First Temple should be destroyed. The terrible loss of life and all the associated suffering which took place especially on the 9th of Av, 586 B.C.E. were followed by a slow restoration. By the time of Yeshua (Jesus), 600 years later, Israel enjoyed a modest place among the nations of the Middle East. Gone was the great military prowess she had enjoyed under King David. Gone was the King - Israel had been a vassal state under foreign dominion for centuries. However, a respectable Temple stood in Jerusalem. Sacrifices and offerings and the externals of her religion were in place. The priesthood was corrupted and the number of the godly who were faithful to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was very few. There was little evidence of real spiritual life from God. Demonic activity and occult practices were at an all time high, as the Christian gospels reveal, and the Jews were not highly regarded by the Greeks and Romans for their religion, or for their exemplary lifestyles. The internal politics of a once unified people was divided into factions of Herodians, Hellenists, Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Scribes. Thankfully, a tiny believing remnant remained faithful to the Holy One of Israel.
The four Christian gospels say very little about the Temple in the days of Jesus. Except for a few brief words from Jesus there was no extensive public warning that the Second Temple was to be destroyed. The analysis of why this happened would be explained afterward, after resurrection of Jesus. It was then that the Apostles (all Jews) confronted the nation with her grievous sins.
The life of Jesus seemed unimportant to the Romans and to many of the Jewish people at the time Jesus the Christ taught and walked among his own people. The resurrection of this same Jesus and His ascension after a number of public appearances was followed 50 days later by the birth of church on Pentecost Sunday. This took place on the Temple Mount. However, it was not long before persecution drove the apostles and church leaders North to Antioch. The Jewish people were accustomed to outspoken sect leaders and false messiah so Jesus was soon forgotten and his qualifications as a true prophet of God were ignored. The hundreds of new followers of Jesus after the Day of Pentecost were of course originally all Jews.
CaligulaShortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the mad Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus - nicknamed Caligula ("little boots") - attempted to desecrate the Temple. Everywhere else in the Roman empire subjugated peoples had been forced to conform to the cult of Rome and acknowledge not only Caesar as Lord but also fall into line by adopting the Roman pantheon of gods. The Jews had been left alone and it was time they began to conform. Caligula gave an order to set up his statue in the Holy of Holies in the Temple:
Now Caius Caesar did so grossly abuse the fortune he had arrived at, as to take himself to be a god, and to desire to be so called also, and to cut off those of the greatest nobility out of his country. He also extended his impiety as far as the Jews. Accordingly he sent Petronius with an army to Jerusalem to place his statues in the temple, and commanded him that, in case the Jews would not admit of them, he should slay those that opposed it, and carry all the rest into captivity. (Ref. 1)The Roman writer Tacitus adds that Caius commanded the Jews to place his effigies in the Temple. Josephus records that the Jews pleaded with Petronius not to do this. The Jews in their stubborn monotheism were willing to sacrifice their whole nation before they would allow the Temple to be defiled. Petronius marveled at their courage and ceased with the process so confrontation was temporarily averted. An enraged Caligula commanded that Petronius be put to death. Josephus records that Caligula himself died soon thereafter and due to bad weather at sea, the letter ordering Petronius' death arrived three weeks after the news arrived of Caligula's death. Petronius was not executed and the Temple was spared this particular abomination.
Revolt and TurmoilTo enforce their rule the Romans were forced to brutally repress the rebellions led by various "messiahs" - Theudas, James and Simon. One Jewish group, the Zealots, in existence since the turn of the century, gained enough strength by 50 A.D. that they were able to raid Jerusalem. The Roman procurator Gessius Florius (62-64), whose headquarters were in Sebaste (Samaria), had taken advantage of the instability by taxing the Temple treasury for his own benefit. He was the most cruel of all Roman leaders to date. Florius met the Zealots in Jerusalem by killing 3600 Jews as he pillaged the upper market place. The Zealots in response destroyed the northern portico of the temple adjacent to the Antonia fortress thus preventing Florius from reaching the Temple where he wanted to seize the temple treasures.
Florius was driven from the city eventually and the high priest Eliezer ben-Hananiah persuades the priests to cease offerings to the health of the Emperor. This gave Rome even more reason to crack down.
At the outset of the revolt Herod Agrippa II (grandson of Herod the Great) gained control of the Upper City but the high priest Eliezer took over the Lower City and a civil war began. Agrippa gathered the people in the Chamber of Hewn Stone in a futile effort to restore peace. The rebels set fire to the palaces of the king, his sister Bernice, and to the house of the high priest. Agrippa fled from Jerusalem allowing the Zealots to capture Fortress Antonia and Herod's palace. The former was set on fire and burned.
As the civil war raging in Jerusalem intensified Cestius Gallius, procurator of Syria attacked Jerusalem in 66 A.D. from Mt. Scopus and the ascent of Beth-Horon, but a Jewish group led by Simon Bar-Giora harassed the soldiers of Gallius from the rear and captured all their arms. The rebels had a respite for four years during which time they were able to complete the third wall.
The struggles between the Zealots and the Roman soldiers from Syria destroyed the food stocks of the Zealots who then robbed the homes of the local Jewish population. The inhabitants of Jerusalem died in great numbers by famine as had happened when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem centuries earlier (Jer. 52:6,7). Greater disaster was soon to come.
The Second Temple Destroyed - As PredictedDuring the last days of his life Jesus had assembled his disciples together on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the Temple. The disciples were uncertain and anxious about the future especially in light of Jesus' cleansing of the Temple and stopping the sacrifices, and his astonishing statements delivered in holy anger denouncing the Pharisees. The disciples opened the conversation by talking about the beauty of the temple and its courts. Jesus opened his amazing and detailed reply by predicting the soon-coming destruction of that magnificent building:
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down." As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" (Matthew 24:1-3)Both the Temple and the City of Jerusalem were indeed about to be destroyed. With four Legions, Titus the Roman General, later to become Caesar, began the siege of Jerusalem in April, A.D. 70. He posted his 10th legion on the Mount of Olives, directly east of and overlooking the Temple Mount. The 12th and 15th legions were stationed on Mount Scopus, further to the east and commanding all ways to Jerusalem from east to north. The 5th legion was held in reserve.
The Second 9th of Av - 70 C.E.On the 10th of August, in A.D. 70 -- the 9th of Av -- in Jewish reckoning, the very day when the King of Babylon burned the Temple in 586 B.C., the Temple was burned again. Titus took the city and put it to the torch, burning the Temple.
Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus was present in Jerusalem when the city was captured and the Temple was burnt. He described the event in this manner:
The Romans, though it was a terrible struggle to collect the timber, raised their platforms in twenty-one days, having as described before stripped the whole area in a circle round the town to a distance of ten miles. The countryside like the City was a pitiful sight; for where once there had been a lovely vista of woods and parks there was nothing but desert and stumps of trees. No one - not even a foreigner - who had seen the Old Judea and the glorious suburbs of the City, and now set eyes on her present desolation, could have helped sighing and groaning at so terrible a change; for every trace of beauty had been blotted out by war, and nobody who had known it in the past and came upon it suddenly would have recognized the place: when he was already there he would still have been looking for the City. (Ref. 3)Josephus speaks of the house to house fighting that occurred:
These Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched some what out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing . . . thus it was the holy house burnt down . . . Nor can one imagine any thing greater or more terrible than this noise; for there was at once a shout of the Roman Legions, who were marching all together, and a sad clamour of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword . . . the people under a great consternation, made sad moans at the calamity they were under . . . Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on which the Temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on every part of it. (Ref. 4)And Josephus lists the horrendous outcome:
To give a detailed account of their outrageous conduct is impossible, but we may sum it up by saying that no other city has ever endured such horrors, and no generation in history has fathered such wickedness. In the end they brought the whole Hebrew race into contempt in order to make their own impiety seem less outrageous in foreign eyes, and confessed the painful truth that they were slaves, the dregs of humanity, bastards, and outcasts of their nation.The prediction of Jesus with regard to the city and the Temple were now fulfilled:
....It is certain that when from the upper city they watched the Temple burning they did not turn a hair, though many Romans were moved to tears. (Ref. 5)
As the flames shot into the air the Jews sent up a cry that matched the calamity and dashed to the rescue, with no thought now of saving their lives or husbanding their strength; for that which hitherto they had guarded so devotedly was disappearing before their eyes. (Ref. 6)Jerusalem was totally destroyed and as Jesus had predicted - not one stone was left upon another. When the Temple was set on fire the Roman soldiers tore apart the stone to get the melted gold. The Menorah and vessels were carried to Rome and the treasury was robbed.
As Daniel had predicted the Temple was destroyed after the Messiah had come, not before.
Bible scholar Ray C. Stedman comments on the predictions of Jesus and their fulfillment in history a few years later,
In Luke 21:20 we have other details of this predicted overthrow of the city and the Temple. There Jesus adds, "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near." Forty years later the Roman armies under Titus came in and fulfilled the prediction to the very letter. With Titus was a Jewish historian named Josephus who recorded the terrible story in minute detail. It was one of the most ghastly sieges in all history. When the Romans came the city was divided among three warring factions of Jews who were so at each others' throats that they paid no heed to the approach of the Romans. Thus Titus came up and surrounded the city while it was distracted by its own internecine warfare. The Romans assaulted the walls again and again, and gave every opportunity to the Jews to surrender and save their capital from destruction.
During the long siege a terrible famine raged in the city and the bodies of the inhabitants were literally stacked like cordwood in the streets. Mothers ate their children to preserve their own strength. The toll of Jewish suffering was horrible but they would not surrender the city. Again and again they attempted to trick the Romans through guile and perfidy. When at last the walls were breached Titus tried to preserve the Temple by giving orders to his soldiers not to destroy or burn it. But the anger of the soldiers against the Jews was so intense that, maddened by the resistance they encountered, they disobeyed the order of their general and set fire to the Temple. There were great quantities of gold and silver there which had been placed in the Temple for safekeeping. This melted and ran down between the rocks and into the cracks of the stones. When the soldiers captured the Temple area, in their greed to obtain this gold and silver they took long bars and pried apart the massive stones. Thus, quite literally, not one stone was left standing upon another. The Temple itself was totally destroyed, though the wall supporting the area upon which the Temple was built was left partially intact and a portion of it remains to this day, called the Western Wall. (Ref. 2)
A Temple LegendFlavius Josephus also recorded a legend that sprung up about the Temple. While the Temple was on fire and there was tremendous looting, killing and rape many rushed to the Temple to die rather than become Roman slaves. When the flames leaped through the roof and the smoke had risen in thick columns one of the priests supposedly climbed to the top of the main tower. He had in his hand the key to the sanctuary. When he reached the top he cried out, "If you, Lord, no longer judge us to be worthy to administer Your house, take back the key until You deem us worthy again." As the legend goes, a hand appeared from heaven and took the key from the priest.
A Second Exile for IsraelWhen the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 the period of the second exile began. The Jewish people were soon to be scattered throughout the earth. For the next 1900 years the Jews would have no authority in the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However during most of the period of this Second Exile there have always been some Jews living in Jerusalem. Although most of the nation was in exile from their land, the Jews did not forget Jerusalem or the Temple Mount. Their daily prayer was for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. The traditional Jewish prayer book contains the following passage:
Because of our sins we were exiled from our country and banished from our land. We cannot go up as pilgrims to worship Thee, to perform our duties in Thy chosen house, the great and Holy Temple which was called by Thy name, on account of the hand that was let loose on Thy sanctuary. May it be Thy will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, merciful King, in Thy abundant love again to have mercy on us and on Thy sanctuary; rebuild it speedily and magnify its glory.For the next two thousand years, the Temple Mount would lack any Jewish presence. The destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 caused the beginning of the scattering of the Jews throughout the world. During this period, the Temple Mount was for the most part neglected and profaned. Though this time constituted a period of neglect some significant events concerning Jerusalem and the Temple Mount did occur. More information on this time period of Temple Mount history is given in Tuvia Sagiv's writings.
HadrianIn the first hundred years after the city and Temple were destroyed, there was high expectation among the Jews that they would once again return to their land and rebuild that which was devastated. The Court of 70 Elders, the Sanhedrin, was intact and many Jews still lived in small communities in Israel. Their hopes were dashed by the Emperor Hadrian when he decided to establish a new city on the ruins of Jerusalem. The Old City was plowed up to make way for the new Roman city to be named Colonia Aelia Capitolina.
Second Jewish RevoltHadrian's actions, particularly his attempted to eradicate all traces of a Jewish city named Jerusalem, caused ongoing rebellion among the Jews. In response, there were large scale mass murders of Jews in Caesarea and other communities by the Romans. These murders sparked a larger rebellion led by a man named Simon Bar Kochba (A.D. 132-135). Bar Kochba rallied the people and massacred the famous 12th legion of the Roman army. Jerusalem was liberated for three years and Rabbi Akiva proclaimed Bar Kochba as the Messiah who was to deliver the Jewish people.
The Jews proceeded to set up an independent government. Coins were struck that commemorated the "First Year of the Deliverance of Israel." One coin showed the facade of the Temple. It is possible that Bar Kochba attempted to rebuild the Temple. One later historical work (Chronicon Paschale) describes Hadrian as the one who destroyed the Temple of the Jews. The Roman historian Dio Cassius also said that Hadrian built his Temple to replace the one of the God of Israel. Some, therefore, assume that the Chronicon is not referring to the destruction of the original Temple by Titus in A.D. 70 but to a later destruction by Hadrian of a partially restored Temple built by Bar Kochba.
Within three years of Jerusalem's liberation under the Bar Kochba revolt, Rome marched against the rebels and killed Bar Kochba. The Sanhedrin officially labeled him a false Messiah and Jerusalem was again in Roman hands. Jewish Jerusalem was once again blotted out and Aelia Capitolina was built on its site as had been planned. Because the war had cost the lives of Roman heroes, the Jews were thenceforth forbidden to enter Jerusalem upon penalty of death. Hadrian attempted to destroy every connection Jerusalem had with the Jewish people. Christians of Jewish background were also excluded from the city, but gentile Christians were able to remain.
In an effort to leave no trace of the Second Temple, Hadrian erected a Temple to Jupiter Capitolinus on the site. An equestrian statue of Hadrian was also built on the site. The next Emperor, Antonius Pius (A.D. 138-161), added another statue. The Jews were only allowed to enter the city on special occasions to mourn on the Temple Mount.
Constantine and the "Christian" Roman EmpireIn A.D. 324 Emperor Constantine and his mother Queen Helena were converted to Christianity. Aelia Capitolina was renamed Jerusalem and the title of "Holy City" was restored to her. It was now, however, considered the Holy City of Christianity, not the national capital of the Jews. The pagan temple Hadrian was destroyed and the church of Holy Zion was built on the Temple Mount. These conditions lasted under A.D. 362 when the Roman emperor Julian the Apostate permitted the Jews to return.
A Plan to RebuildThere was one occasion after the destruction of the Second Temple when the Jews were able to formulate plans to rebuild their temple. The man behind this project was the Roman Emperor, Flavius Claudius Julianus, a nephew of Constantine - also known as Julian the Apostate because of his opposition to Christianity. Julian planned the project in the last year of his reign in A.D. 363. Julian rescinded all the anti-Jewish laws that his uncle Constantine had instituted. He issued an edict that the Temple be rebuilt in Jerusalem. This caused a great deal of excitement among the Jews. From far and wide, Jews came to Jerusalem to help in the rebuilding work. Julian supplied the necessary funds and appointed Alypius of Antioch, the Roman Governor of Great Britain, to carry out the project. Jews from all over gave from their wealth upon the projected work of rebuilding the Temple. The roads to Jerusalem were filled with multitudes of Jewish men and women who had hopes of seeing a Third Temple built.
Then sudden tragedy struck. The foundations of the Second Temple were barely uncovered when flames of fire burst forth from under the ground. The flames were accompanied by large explosions. The cause for the flames were probably the result of noxious gas in the subterranean passages catching fire. The workmen fled and the building was stopped, never again to be restarted. Many believed that the explosion and fire were a demonstration of the anger of God.
With their hopes dashed, the Jews were then driven into Exile and became wanderers in foreign lands. They were people without a homeland. For some eighteen centuries they would be dispersed and persecuted. Throughout time their thoughts were of the Temple which once stood in Jerusalem and prayers for its restoration.
Visible Remains of the TempleFrom ancient records we can glean some information about visible remains of the Temple after its destruction. Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea (A.D. 260-340) testified that he could still see the remains of the sanctuary. He said that the large stone blocks were hauled away to build sanctuaries and theaters. During this period of exile the city was visited by a pilgrim known as the traveler of Bordeaux. He gave the following testimony in A.D. 333:
At the side of the Sanctuary, there is a pierced stone. Jews visit there once a year, pour oil over it, lament and weep over it, and tear their garments in token of mourning. Then they return home.The once-a-year visit was probably on the 9th of Av, the Jewish date of the destruction of both Temples. The pierced stone, or a rock with a hollow in it, is not identified. It is assumed by some to have been the foundation stone upon which the Holy of Holies was built. In the Talmud we find a reference to the "Foundation Rock" which the Holy of Holies had rested (Yoma 5:2).
Early church father John Chrysostom wrote:
The Jews began uncovering the foundations by removing masses of earth, intending to go ahead and build ...You can see the bared foundations if you visit Jerusalem now...Some of its parts (sanctuary) are razed to the ground.The Jews were allowed to enter the city only one day a year during this period of exile. In A.D. 392 the Christian leader Jerome wrote concerning this day:
On the anniversary of the day when the city fell and was destroyed by the Romans, there are crowds who mourn, old women and old men dressed in tatters and rags, and from the Top of the Mount of Olives this throng laments over the destruction of its Sanctuary. Still their eyes flow with tears, still their hands tremble and their hair is disheveled, but already the guards demand pay for their right to weep. (Ref. 7)In the sixth century the Pilgrim of Piacenze mentions the ruins of the Temple of Solomon. From these accounts we can deduce that there were at least some visible remains of the Temple foundation through the sixth century.
Cursed of God?In the early years, the Christians looked upon the Temple Mount as a place that God had cursed. As Christianity gained foothold in the Roman world the Temple Mount was left to become a desolate rubble heap. In A.D. 534, over the site of Solomon's elaborate palace, the Emperor Justinian built mighty substructures as foundations for the New Church of St. Mary. While other holy sites in Jerusalem were explored and identified, the Temple Mount was neglected.
The Scourge of Anti-SemitismOne of the tragedies of this period was the anti-Semitism that arose among the "Christians." Concerning the Jews, early Christian leader John Chrysostom falsely wrote:
They sacrificed their sons and daughters to devils: they outraged nature and overthrew their foundations the laws of relationship. They are become worse than the wild beasts, and for no reason at all, with their own hands, they murder their offspring, to worship the avenging devils who are foes of our life...They know only one thing, to satisfy their gullets, get drunk, to kill and maim one another. (Ref. 8)Chrysostom delivered eight sermons which expressed intense hatred of the Jews. His accusations were nothing but outright lies. The purpose of these falsehoods was to keep the Christians in Antioch from having any contact with the Jews. In another act of anti-Semitism, Bishop Ambrose of Milan ordered a synagogue to be set on fire. When Emperor Theodosius demanded an explanation the Bishop wrote him back:
I declare that I have set fire to the synagogue, or at least that those who did acted on my orders, so that there would be no place where Christ is rejected . . . Moreover, the synagogue was in fact destroyed by the judgment of God. (Ref. 8)This desecration even angered the Romans. The bishop was required to rebuild the synagogue and those who had participated in its destruction were punished.
These, and others, failed to realize that it was God who had scattered the Jewish people and that He had ultimate purposes in doing so. The Jews would be a blessing to each city in which they were scattered to be regathered by God at the right time.
End Notes:Special thanks to John G. Yimin (firstname.lastname@example.org) for permission to reproduce his rare David Roberts lithographs.
The abbreviations B.C. and B.C.E. and also A.D. and C.E. are used synomously in these articles.
1. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities, 15, 403 ff.2. Ray C. Stedman, What's This World Coming To? (An expository study of Matthew 24-26, the Olivet Discourse). Discovery Publications, 3505 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94306. 19703. Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, p. 3034. Josephus, Antiquities xi. 1.25. Josephus, The Jewish War, p. 2926. Josephus, ibid. p 3237. Chrysostom's Sermons, cited J. Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue, pp. 105-1068. Bishop Ambrose, Eleventh letter to Theodosius as quoted by Parkes, ibid. pp. 163-164
The Wars Of The Jews, Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book V, CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF NEAR SIX MONTHS. FROM THE COMING OF TITUS TO BESIEGE JERUSALEM, TO THE GREAT EXTREMITY TO WHICH THE JEWS WERE REDUCED. (Josephus)
The Wars Of The Jews, Or The History Of The Destruction Of Jerusalem, Book VI, CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF ABOUT ONE MONTH. FROM THE GREAT EXTREMITY TO WHICH THE JEWS WERE REDUCED TO THE TAKING OF JERUSALEM BY TITUS. (Josephus)
9. Summary, Jerusalem History, from ISBE:
James the Bishop of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13; Gal. 2:9; cf. Jas. 1:1; Jude 1). The leadership of James in the Jerusalem church is indicated by his position in the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15) and by his priority over Peter and John (Gal. 2:9). He came to be known as "James the Just," and his death in A.D. 62 by stoning is recorded in Josephus (Ant. xx.9.1 [2001). Both Josephus and Paul (Gal. 1:19) refer to him as "James the brother of Jesus" (cf. Mt. 13:55; see BROTHERS OF THE LORD). Ananus, the high priest responsible for James's death, was deposed after a tenure of only three months (Ant. xx.9.1 ). According to Hegesippus (quoted in Eusebius, HE ii.23.11-18), James was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple. stoned. and clubbed to death with a fuller's club.
Population of Jerusalem. Estimates of the population of Jerusalem in the 1st cent. A.D. vary. The extreme figure, taken from Talmudic sources, is about twelve million (cf. Jeremias, p. 78). Josephus gave three million (BJ 6.14.3 [2801) or 2,700,000 (vi.9.3 ). These figures are based on the number of sacrificial animals at the time of Passover, averaging ten persons per animal. Josephus also gave the figures of those taken prisoner (97,000) and those killed (1,100,000) during the siege (vi.9.3 [4201). Jeremias, working from the available area in the temple for those offering sacrifices, arrived at a figure of 180,000, of which about 55,000 were inhabitants of Jerusalem and 125,000 were pilgrims (pp. 79-83). Or again, working from the area of the city and a density of 160 persons per acre, he arrived at a figure of 55,000 to 95,000 for the population of Jerusalem, and believed that even the lower figure may be too high (p. 83 n. 24). In an additional note dated 1966 Jeremias arrived at a figure of "about 20,000 inside the city walls at the time of Jesus, and 5,000 to 10,000 outside" (p. 84). T. W. Manson,The Servant-Messiah (1953), p. 11. estimated 30,000 to 35,000.
Destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70). After A.D. 6 Jerusalem was under Roman procurators, with the exception of the years 41-44 under Herod Agrippa 1. Judea was apparently the least desirable post in government service, and the province's procurators were among the worst Roman officials. The Jews were increasingly restive under Roman control and the procurators were increasingly violent, cruel, and dishonest. Open rebellion broke out in A.D. 66. Two years earlier Gessius Florus, the procurator, had sent his troops on a mad rampage in Jerusalem, and the extreme Zealot faction of the Jews had reacted violently. The war began when the Zealots seized Masada and then. under Menahem, marched on Jerusalem. Simultaneously Jews in the gubernatorial city of Caesarea were massacred, and news of this atrocity spread throughout the country. New coins were marked Year I through Year 5 of the revolt (A.D. 66-70). The emperor Nero dispatched Vespasian to Judea to put down the revolution; in 68 Vespasian had isolated Jerusalem and was ready to begin a siege. The empire, however, was in turmoil, with unrest in the east and revolt in the west. Nero committed suicide. Vespasian, who was acclaimed emperor in 69, left for Rome to secure his throne and gave his son Titus responsibility for ending the Jewish war.
Titus had four legions. The Tenth had moved from Jericho to the Mt. of Olives, destroying the Qumran community on its way. The Twelfth had come from Caesarea and was encamped W of the city, along with the Fifth and Fifteenth that had come from the north. In the spring of 70 the offensive was launched. The Jewish forces were under Simon bar-Giora and Yohanan of Gush-Halab (John of Gischala), The Romans breached the third wall on the west and then the second wall, but their attempt to take Antonia failed. Titus thereupon decided on a siege, and a circumvallation was thrown up, according to Josephus almost 8 km. (5 mi.) long, built in three days (BJ v.12. If. 1491-5111). According to some scholars, the "third wall" of Sukenik and Mayer was part of this circumvallation (but see S. Ben-Arich, "The 'Third Wall' of Jerusalem," in Jerusalem Revealed, pp. 60-62). The horrors of the six-month siege are graphically told by Josephus (BJ v.12.3 [512-18]). Antonia was taken, and the Jews barricaded themselves in the temple. On 9 Ab (Aug. 5, A.D. 70) the temple was burned and the Roman soldiers carried out a campaign of slaughter along the entire east ridge. The Jews made their last stand in Herod's palace but the end was inevitable. Titus ordered the entire city razed to the ground except for the three large towers at the northwest comer. Many Jews were executed, others were carried off as slaves, the Tenth Legion was quartered in Jerusalem, and Titus held a triumphal procession in Rome in which he displayed the golden candelabra from the temple. The Arch of Titus in Rome was built to commemorate the triumph and on one of its panels is carved in high relief the scene of his soldiers carrying the candlestand.
J. Destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 135). The Christians had fled from Jerusalem in 66, basing their action, it is said, on the Lord's words in Mt. 24:15f. They located at Pella and returned to Jerusalem later. A Jewish center of learning was established at Yavneh (Jamnia) under the leadership of Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai. The next sixty years were rather uneventful, but when the emperor Hadrian visited the province in A.D. 130 and sensed the feeling of revolt still strong in the hearts of the Jews, he decided to crush it once for all. The rigid demands he imposed touched off the War of Freedom led by Ben-Koziba (Bar Cochba) in 132. Once again Jewish coinage was minted, with years 1, 2, and 3 of the Liberation appearing on the coins. The Roman troops, led by Julius Severus, triumphed in 135. This time Hadrian made good his plan to wipe out Jewish resistance in Jerusalem by destroying the city completely, pulling down every wall and plowing the entire area. Then he built a new city named Aelia Capitolina, with a main north-south street from the location of the Damascus Gate southward, a main east-west street about where David Street is today, and a forum at the intersection of the two. Streets were laid out on a grid, not following contours as previously. Walls were built, approximately where they are located today. A temple of Jupiter was built on the site of the temple and a temple of Venus on the site of Golgotha. The city had the usual Roman structures such as a theater, a hippodrome, public baths, and an aqueduct. No Jews were allowed in the city, or even within sight of it--a condition that prevailed until the 4th century, and even then they were allowed to visit the city only on 9 Ab to bewail the destruction of the temple. Jesus' prophecy had become stark reality: Jerusalem was trodden down by the Gentiles (Lk. 21:22-24).
K. Subsequent History of Jerusalem. 1. Byzantine Period (A.D. 324-638). Constantine made Christianity the religion of the empire. His mother Queen Helena visited Jerusalem, located many sites, and erected buildings, including the Anastasia (later the Church of the Holy Sepulchre). The Madeba Map of Jerusalem was made toward the end of the 6th century. A brief Persian conquest lasted from 614 to 629.
2. Moslem Period (A. D. 638-1099). Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in 638. The Dome of the Rock ("Mosque of Omar") was built by Caliph Abd el-Malik, 687-705, using Byzantine architects and craftsmen. The walls of the city had been rebuilt, following the earlier line along the Hinnorn in the south. In 975 Caliph el-Aziz rebuilt the walls, reverting to the lines of Aelia Capitolina, approximately where they are today.
3. Crusader Period (A. D. 1099-1187). When Caliph Hakim ordered the destruction of Christian shrines in 1010, particularly when the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was destroyed, a major incentive for the Crusades was provided. This curious kind of Christianity left a mark on the religious world that has never been completely erased. Jews in the Holy Land suffered more from Crusaders than they had in 450 years of Moslem rule. Christian Arabs were slaughtered by Christian Crusaders as "infidels." The Latin (Christian) Kingdom of Jerusalem came to an end with the conquest by Salah ed-Din (Saladin) in 1197. The unbelievable number of crusader fortresses, walls, and towers that spread across the Middle East is mute evidence of the power and wealth that was poured into this effort to wrest the Holy Land from the "infidels."
4. Mameluke Period (A. D. 1250-1517). Jerusalem was in Christian hands for brief periods (1229-1239 and 12431244). In 1244 Jerusalem was sacked by Khwarizmian Tatars, and in 1247 the city fell to Egypt under the Ayyubids. But in 1249, Aybak, a marnluk ("owned," i.e., a former slave), began a rule that was to last for nearly three centuries. The Mamelukes were peoples brought from Russia, the Caucasus, and central Asia by the caliphs of Baghdad to serve as soldier-slaves. They had gained great power, and Jerusalem came under that power. They rebuilt the walls, built madrasas (school-mosque compounds), and beautified the Dome of the Rock, the Haram esh-Sherif, and the city. Christians and Jews were tolerated, but taxation was excessive.
J. Ottoman-Turk Period (A.D. 1517-1917). In 1517 Selim I took Jerusalem. Suleiman I (the Magnificent) ruled from Constantinople (1520-1566) and established a well-organized empire. He erected the present walls of Jerusalem. The Damascus Gate was the pride of his structures in Jerusalem. He built or repaired aqueducts, pools, and fountains. Christians and Jews were given full freedom but had to pay a high head tax imposed on all non-Moslems, in return for which they were exempt from military service.
6. British Mandate (A.D. 1917-1948). When the Turks became allies of Germany in World War 1, the British, under Allenby, occupied Palestine and it became a British Mandate. Constant strife between Jews and Arabs, aggravated by the influx of Jews driven from Europe by persecution and finally by the Nazi efforts at a "final solution" (the Holocaust), caused Britain to terminate the Mandate. On November 29, 1947, the United Nations established two separate states, one Jewish and the other Arab. When the Mandate ended on May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed and Arab opposition broke out in a war in which Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were allied against Israel. Armistice agreements were signed in the early months of 1949, leaving Jerusalem divided between the Jews and the Arabs, with the newly formed Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan controlling the Old City and Israel controlling the western part of the city outside the walls.
7 State of Israel (A.D. 1948- ). The State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948, and on Dec. 13, 1949, Jerusalem was declared its capital -- a claim not recognized by a number of nations. On June 5, 1967, Jordan shelled the new city and the Six Day War began. When it ended, all of Jerusalem was in Israeli control. The area in front of the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall) was cleared and excavated to create a worship area. The old Jewish Quarter in the Old City was cleared of rubble and reconstruction began. Archeological excavations were conducted in and around the Old City. The Dome of the Rock and the Haram are open to all, including Arabs of all Arab states, but pilgrims from Arab nations are rarely present, due to political and emotional forces. Christian antiquities, particularly the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are undergoing extensive repair and beautification.
IV. Jerusalem in Eschatology. ESCHATOLOGY is a complex subject, beset with many difficulties of interpretation that are best considered elsewhere, Here the concern is simply to note certain truths in the main outline, without attempting to fit them into a system or to use them to preview history.
A. Location of the Throne of God's Great King. From the time that it was taken by David for his throne, Jerusalem has been both a reality and an ideal. As a reality, it can be sinful, apostate, abominable, subject to God's wrath, besieged by enemies, and finally destroyed. "I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem," says the Lord (Am. 2:5). "Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height" (Mic. 4:1; cf. Isa. 2:2). "And when your people say, 'Why has the Lord our God done a these things to us, you shall say to them, 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve strangers in a land that is not yours"' (Jer. 5:19). "They will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Lk. 21:24).
Nevertheless, Jerusalem remains the hope of the world. "I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill," says the Lord (Ps. 2:6). "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King" (48: If.). "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3; cf. Mic. 4:1-3). Jerusalem is to be the seat of government of the wonderful counselor, the prince of peace, of whom alone it could be said, "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore" (Isa. 9:7). "Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, 0 daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he" (Zec. 9:9).
No matter how evil the king, no matter how sinful the people, the word of the Lord to His prophets was never a word of despair, never a message that He had given up His original plan. Through His chosen people He will work out His redemptive plan. Through His chosen king He will rule the nations in righteousness and peace.
B. Center of a Cosmic Struggle. Jerusalem is not simply the capital of a kingdom that must fight against other kingdoms of the world for survival. It is the city of God, and there is a cosmic, satanic opposition against God and against His redemptive purpose. A clear doctrine about the satanic is rarely expressed although greatly needed in the present age. Paul said it well: "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). Ezekiel foretold the days when the Lord will restore His people to their own land (Ezk. 36:28), when by His spirit lie will make His dead people live again (37: 11), take them from the nations and bring them to the mountains of Israel, and place one king, His servant David, over them (vv. 21f., 24).
But these restorations will not ultimately solve the problem, for opposition to God's plan and His people remains. Ezekiel portrays the opposition as Gog of the land of Magog (Ezk. 38: 1) who will go against these regathered people on the mountains of Israel (v. 8). Ezekiel makes clear that this will be no ordinary war, for this time God will not call upon Egyptians or Assyrians or Babylonians to do His work. He Himself will destroy Gog and his satanic forces (vv. 21-23). "1 will set my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgment which I have executed, and my hand which I have laid on them," says the Lord (39:21). The author of the book of Revelation uses the same figure. After portraying war in heaven (Rev. 12:7) and the defeat of the deceiver of the whole world (v. 9), the revelator sees a struggle on earth (v. 13), but on Mt. Zion stands the Lamb with myriads of His own (14: 1). Even after the song of triumph (19: 1- 10), however, there is still a satanic opponent to be destroyed. Satan is loosed from prison and enlists by deception the forces of Gog and Magog (20:7f.). "But fire came down from heaven and consumed them" (v. 9), and the devil and Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire (vv. 10, 14).
C. Perfect and Eternal Dwelling Place of God. In Ezekiel's temple vision, which he carefully dated, 10 Nisan of the fourteenth year after Jerusalem was captured (= Apr. 28, 575 B.C.), the prophet saw the new temple (cf. Ezk. 40:1-4). Much of the imagery is difficult to understand, but the message is clear: "The name of the city henceforth shall be, The Lord is there" (48:35).
The book of Revelation closes with a vision of the new Jerusalem, set in the new heaven and the new earth, "coming down out of heaven from God" (Rev. 21:2). The writer heard a great voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men" (v. 3). Death, sorrow, and pain are no more, as the prophets of old foretold, "for the former things have passed away" (v. 4). The holy city hanging down from heaven like a splendid satellite has the glory of God, which is radiant like a rare jasper, clear as crystal (vv. 10f.). It has walls and gates; the gates bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israel and the foundations bear the names of the twelve apostles, for there is no longer any division of the people of God (vv. 22, 24). The gates shall never be shut (21:25; 22:5), either to keep out the enemy -- for the last enemy has been destroyed and nothing unclean shall enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood (21:23-27) - or to keep in the citizens, for the Ruler is not of this world. John saw no temple in the new Jerusalem, "for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb" (21:22). The temple made with hands was only a symbol of God's presence and could not, as Solomon recognized from the beginning, contain the eternal God (I K. 8:27). What need is there for a symbol when God Himself dwells in the city? There is no need of the light of the sun or the moon, for the glory of the One who created the luminaries is the light and in that light shall the nations walk. "The river of the water of life flows from the throne of God, and the tree of life grows on its banks, "and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations"
Tisha B'Av Notes
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 is Tisha B'Av on the Jewish calendar, a day of mourning over great tragedies that befell the Jewish people on the 9th of Av throughout history. On this day, the Jews fast to commemorate five disasters that occurred in the history of the Jewish people, and with this fast end the Three Weeks of mourning between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av.
Amazingly, both the First and Second Temples were destroyed on same day on the Jewish Calendar, 656 years apart.
- In 586 B.C., Solomon's Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
- The Second Temple was razed by the Romans in A.D. 70. The destruction of the Second Temple fulfilled prophecies in Luke 19:43-44; 21:5,6 and Daniel 9:26.
Also on the 9th of Av:
- The spies brought back a negative report from the Promised Land, prompting the Israelites to respond in fear rather than in faith. Because they would not trust God to take them safely into the land, they wandered in the desert for 40 years.
- In A.D.130 Emperor Hadrian ordered Jerusalem to be plowed in preparation for building new pagan city, "Aelia Capitolina," on the location, fulfilling Micah 3:12 and Jeremiah 26:18. Hadrian changed the name of Judea to "Palaestina."
- In A.D. 135 the Romans crushed the revolt under Shimon Bar-Kokhba at the city of Betar, the Jews' last stand against the Romans. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered.
Aside from these five disasters, many tragedies continued to happen to the Jewish people on the 9th of Av throughout the centuries.
On Tisha B'Av in:
- 1290, King Edward I signed an edict to have all the Jews expelled from England.
- 1492, the Jews were expelled from Spain. (Columbus set sail that same day.)
- 1555, Pope Paul IV forced the Jews in Rome into a ghetto.
- 1648, The Chielminicki Massacre began, in which Cossacks killed over a quarter million Polish and Ukrainian Jews.
- 1914, World War I started when Russia declared War on Germany. Germany�s losses in the war set the stage for WWII and the Holocaust.
- 1941, "The Final Solution" to exterminate the Jews was put into effect under SS general Reinhard Heydrich.
- 1942, Jews began being deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp.
Tisha B'Av is observed by fasting from both food and water from sundown to sundown. The book of Lamentations is read during the day. In the morning on Tisha B'Av, Deuteronomy 4:25-40 and Jeremiah 8:13, 9:1-23 are read describing Israel's iniquity and exile and desolation, and in the afternoon the Jews read Exodus 32:11-14 and Isaiah 55-56. However, even in a time of mourning, these passages offer words of hope and future comfort.
According to tradition, while the Temple was destroyed on Tisha B'Av it will also be rebuilt on Tisha B'Av, causing the day of great mourning to be turned into a day of feasting and rejoicing (Zechariah 8:19).
The Jewish Month of Av
This is the communication for the occasion of the Hebrew (lunar) month of Av (30th July-28th Aug 03).
The name "Av" means "Father", and the events associated with this momentous month all have to do with questions of parenthood, tradition and legacy. It is, as said, a momentous month, full of calamities and calamity prone -- especially on the 9th of Av - both the First and Second Temple are considered to have been destroyed on that day, and then history added the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain and key dates of the Holocaust. The 9th of Av is, and has been for centuries, a national-religious day of mourning. If you come to Jerusalem on the night of 9th Av (6th Aug. 03) and go to her hundreds of synagogues and the magnificent promenade overlooking the Old City, you will see many groups sitting on the floor barefoot and reading the Biblical Book of Lamentation. One would think that these should be enough to make us flee from the Jewish destiny and to seek assimilation with whatever culture that has no such dire memories.
Yet Av is also a month of hope. Jewish tradition insists that the Messiah is/will be born on that day. So whoever was born on that date (including a good friend of mine and my own dear wife Tirtsah) is sure to have contended with our characteristic "Messiah Complex" . Then a week later, on the full moon holiday of 15th Av is "The Feast of Love". In Biblical days the unmarried girls would borrow white dresses from each other (so not to shame the poorer ones) and dance in the vineyards, enticing the boys. This ancient holiday has been resurrected in Israel, and is tried in many forms.
On this occasion, let me then discuss some issues of Temple Restoration, Fatherhood, and Renewed Tradition from the perspective of our ongoing work:
A New Vision of Realizing the Temple Virtually
We are developing the most innovative, yet most practical, approach to the Restoration of the Temple through the medium of "Virtual Reality". VR can allow, of course, the presentation of just any vision. But what we envision is the conversion of the entire Old City of Jerusalem into a new type of a universal "Temple of Reconciliation" that operates via computer games, and brings the many existing shrines of Jerusalem, crowned by the Dome of the Rock, to operate as coherent interfaith interface, and supreme terrain for playing a host of spiritual development procedures. The point is that this is an entirely conflict-free course for promoting the Temple. Once the games are played and up to millions of people worldwide, of all religions, will see the benefits of this approach, it will become self-evident how to realize this vision on the ground.
Report on recent visit to the Temple Mount--Children of Abraham or "Bani Isra'il"?
The Temple Mount has been closed for visits of non-Moslems for over two years. One indication for the improvement and possible movement towards peace making is the gradual renewal of such visits. Last week I had the privilege of being the tour guide to the visit to the Temple Mount of a mixed group of peace activists (and yesterday, going on business to Tel Aviv, I missed still another one). The group I guided was made of 9 Jews and one Moslem, and that Minyan was then completed into a sacred Dozen by two Australians (apparently Christians) who joined us on the request of the police. The initiative was by Eyal Davidoff, the leader of "The Drummers' Circle", which has been working for years (and quite successfully) to bring different groups--even conflict groups in the Balkan and Africa--into common synch by drumming together (see their website athttp://www.kingdaviddrummers.com. It so happens that my article on the Dome of the Rock, published in Hebrew in Hayim Aherim Sept, 2000  became a decisive event in his life, helping him to realize that his peace-making life mission is bound to the Dome of the Rock. He is now seeking the support of all concerned religious leaders to organize a gathering of a few hundreds of children of all religions, who are ill or with disabilities, right at the Dome of the Rock, representing a universal quest for healing right at the place where, traditions agree, Adam was fashioned.
As a tour guide, I showed them the three alternative sites of the old temple and the overall structure of the Temple Mount according to our findings how the Dome of the Rock completes the pattern of the 7-walls-with-gates that characterizes the Heavenly/New Jerusalem in the Zohar. We were not permitted (yet) to enter the Dome of the Rock itself, but I could show the 2nd set--gates in the walls of the Temple Mount compound that have at last opened for us � and the 3rd set--the decorative gates to the podium of the Dome of the Rock. Altogether, this was a very good visit and brought much "good energies" for additional future sacred work at the Temple Mount.
An interesting and instructive event happened as we were about to descend from the podium and the 3rd set of gates: Eliyahu Maclain and I saw that dignified Arab, dressed like a devout Moslem with white Gallabiyeh and cap, who seemed very friendly. Eliyahu approached him, saying his regular statement that "we are all the Children of Abraham". The Moslem smiled and said: "No we are not", and then added emphatically: "We are all asses!" Seeing Eliyahu's surprise he said, "In truth, we are all Jews, the Arabs and the Israelis", implying that our mutual fighting is simply idiotic. I regret that, being so happy with his statement, I have not inquired what exactly did he mean. Going around with the statement on the "A New Vision of Peace/Reconciliation for Israel" (which I sent you last month), I countered "You actually mean we are all Bani Isra'il (Children of Israel)?" to which he responded "Exactly".
So far, I have convinced only a couple of young Moslem Arabs in "my" theory, and had the pleasure of seeing one Sufi Sheikh arriving spontaneously to this in my presence. This was the first time that a Moslem Arab approached me with this idea without any clue on my part. So I saw this as a very good omen that the time may be arriving for the belief that we are not two people (Palestinians and Israelis) but one people (made probably of several distinct "tribes", yet joined by one identity and destiny.
(Interestingly, some years ago I wrote a short story about former Israeli Prime Minister Begin discovering the claim that some of the "Palestinians" are descendents of the Jews who preferred to stay in this land at all costs (this story available at http://www.thehope.org/Dramapages/HEJEPLO1.htm). Now, the evidence of the most up-to-date genetic research is that the majority of the Palestinians are of Jewish origin -- 2/3 of Jewish males worldwide and 2/3 of the "Palestinian" Arabs have the same unique gene.)
Progress on writing a play on "(Un)binding Yitzhaq Rabin" (Im tirtzu en zu Agaddah)
Theatre artist-director Shosh Mutsafi and I have been busy for several years now and are now approaching completion of writing the draft play. This is a theatre play about the preparation of the soul of assassinated Israeli premier Yitzhaq Rabin (1922-1995) for her passage to The Other World. It is a play about passages and transitions, and in the case of Yitzhaq Rabin, of the transition from being a child of Israel to a national Father Figure. In this play, Rabin's soul meets three great Fatherly figures: of the Patriarch Yitzhaq-Isaac, of Jesus Christ, and of the Prophet Mohammad, along with a multi-faced Mother Figure, who guide Rabin, the embodiment of the dutiful "Second Generation" children of the Founding Fathers of Israel, to become himself a father figure for a renewed Israel, for Jews and Arabs alike.
One of the passages in the play deals with the rivalry, even enmity between Rabin and Shim'on Peres, which eventually turned into trust and cooperation. This, we posit in the play, prepared Rabin for making peace even with the Arabs he used to fight with. We wanted to interview Peres about their relations, but he could not find the time. However yesterday I met the man of "Peres' Camp" who won the trust of the suspicious Rabin, and hope to learn from him and receive help for the completion of the play and its experimental enactment.
One task that was already completed is an article that is in fact a summary of my "New Israeli Genesis Exegesis" (exhibited on the site at http://www.thehope.org/newgenesis.htm). It shows the main issue of the Book of Genesis being the problematic relations between brothers, and how these problematic issue is resolved by a series of 7 stages or transitions that mirrors the structure of the 7 Days of Creation -- and how this is the Biblical "blueprint" for forming a new (and multi-faith multi-tribe) Israel, while approached such as "We are all Human" or "We are all the Children of Abraham" are at best inadequate. This article will appear in a forthcoming (Oct 03) Hebrew book on Judaism and Psychology in the series on Contemporary Judaism of the big publisher Yedi'ot Aharonot, and will include articles of such notables as Eli Wiesel, Rabbi Adin Steinsalz, professors Giora Shoham, Moshe Idel, Mordekhay Rotenberg, Spero and a host of other social scientists. The series editors, I was told, found it to be as good as any article in this collection.
Echoes of the "Vision of Peace/Reconciliation for Israel"
There were a fair number of comments on the Vision article sent last month, though especially when it was sent to specific additional people with a personal letter. I hope to make a report about the comments and questions. Here I shall bring just one point -- that several commentators thought that the proposal must be equivalent to the old notion of "A democratic Palestinian State" and be presented as such, or that its Jewish/Biblical style will make it unattractive for "modern" readers. They failed to see that this is a "one state" peace plan that is specifically formulated to cohere with the images of those who control the agenda - the religious right of Jews -- and Moslems -- who are certain to block the "Two States for Two People" type drive, and whom no former peace plan could have appealed. It begins to appear that he vision may have to be formulated in several different styles and images - that are still ultimately consistent with each other -- perhaps as many as our ceremonial 12 different statements for the 12 pertinent "tribes".
May this month bring further signs of approaching peace and redemption.
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