This provocative study of Jerusalem's Temple Mount unravels popular scholarly paradigms about the origins of this contested sacred site and its significance in Jewish and Christian traditions. In God's Mountain, Yaron Z. Eliav reconstructs the early story of the Temple Mount, exploring the way the site was developed as a physical entity, religious concept, and cultural image. He traces the Temple Mount's origins and investigates its history, explicating the factors that shaped it both physically and conceptually.
Eliav refutes the popular tradition that situates the Temple Mount as a unique sacred space from the earliest days of the history of Israel and the Jewish people-a sequential development model that begins in the tenth century BCE with Solomon's construction of the First Temple. Instead, he asserts that the Temple Mount emerged as a sacred space in Jewish and early Christian consciousness hundreds of years later, toward the close of the Second Temple era in the first century CE. Eliav pinpoints three defining moments in the Temple Mount's physical history: King Herod's dramatic enlargement of the mountain at the end of the first century BCE, the temple's destruction by the Roman emperor Titus in 70 CE, and Hadrian's actions in Jerusalem sixty years later.
This new chronology provides the framework for a fresh consideration of the literary and archeological evidence, as well as new understandings of the religious and social dynamics that shaped the image of the Temple Mount as a sacred space for Jews and Christians.
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages: 392
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
Readable and well illustrated and documented, this book is recommended for religion and seminary collections of all stripes. * Library Journal *
Eliav writes in a clear style that makes it accessible to most readers. Highly recommended. -- Aaron Howard * Jewish Herald-Voice *
This is a wide-ranging book on a fascinating topic. Its main thesis is that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem became an important concept invested with religious significance only after the Temple had been destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. -- Pieter W. van der Horst * Bryn Mawr Classical Review *
All readers will be rewarded by Eliav's judicious insights, his nuanced reinterpretations, and his wide-ranging scholarship. * Choice *
This book means to awaken an important scholarly debate and it deserves to succeed. * Shofar *
Eliav uses his impressive knowledge of Talmud, the Bible, archeology, languages, rabbinic texts, the classics and patristic literature to debunk the notion that the Temple Mount was a sacred space for ancient Jews and Christians. According to him, it did not achieve this status until long after the Second Temple was destroyed. In a dazzling display of erudition, he supports his thesis by providing new readings of familiar sources and by citing many little-known references. * Publishers Weekly *