How to distort the truth about the Herodian Temple Mount

In my latest blog post, I tried to show how the Temple Mount may have developed after the death of Herod the Great. This post was written in the wake of the discovery of four coins from the time of the Roman procurator Valerius Gratus (17/18 AD) below the Western Wall as described previously.

Now, a Palestinian “archaeologist”, Dr. Jamal Amro, claims that he was the one who found the 17 (not 4) Roman coins! He rightly states that the coins date from the time of Valerius and then draws the illogical and ridiculous conclusion that:

“All archaeological discoveries that were found before this one in the Arab city of Jerusalem and around the Aqsa Mosque date back to ancient Arab and Islamic eras especially the times of Umayyad and Abbasid reigns (661-1258) up to the Ottoman rule (1520 AD)”

He also stated this discovery left the Jewish archaeologists in a state of shock and frustration because it just proved further their false claims and beliefs about the legend of the temple.

Here is Amro’s statement.

Joe Lauer comments:

The sad thing is that instead of laughing Amro off the stage, his statements are being parroted all over the world and incorporated into the Arab Narrative, perhaps to become an official UNESCO policy statement. Googling the headline “Archaeologist rebuts Jewish claims about their alleged temple” demonstrates how quickly and easily foolish lies can be spread in our day.

Goebbels would have been jealous.


One thought on “How to distort the truth about the Herodian Temple Mount”

  1. I would like to know how Amro would interpret Tacitus’ reference to the imposing, fortress-like Jewish Temple and the evidence for a Temple Tax.
    It should not be assumed, I suppose, that all references in our literary sources to ‘the Temple’ refer to exactly the same set of buildings.
    Josephus does say in Ant.XX that ‘the Temple was finished’ in the early 60s but this passage does not seem to refer to a grand conclusion to a grand project but to a rather untidy decision to redeploy the workforce to non-Temple projects. There is reference to a decision by Agrippa not to restore a building considered Solomonic but to re-pave the city streets.
    But this passage should not be considered without reference to Ant.XV, where there is a much more definite, no two ways about it, reference to ‘finishing the Temple’: the King was admired for bringing his project in on time. On this showing Herod began construction in 20 or 19 BCE and the structure, including the outer elements, was finished within a decade amid suitable public rejoicing. Josephus seems not to have sensed any strain between his two accounts, but then he didn’t have to mean entirely the same thing by ‘the Temple’ in both places. Perhaps there had been more building in the interim, perhaps some High Priests had the same inclinations as medieval prelates with their cathedrals.
    It’s possible that Ant.XX has received a bit too much attention from Christian editors.
    It may be that the Johannine evidence indicates that there was still some building in the mid-20s but it surely cannot have been major or regarded as the finishing touch, or we would have heard more about it. There’s nothing in the NT to indicate that the Temple was a major building site – rather than a finished object of admiration; Tacitus would agree – in Jesus’ time. There’s nothing anywhere to suggest that Herod’s plan was regarded as seriously incomplete in those years.
    The humble coins of Valerius Gratus show that, unless Ant.XV is way off the mark, the structure that lies above them was not part of what Josephus meant by ‘the Temple’ in his reference to events under Herod. This seems to be neither earth-shattering news nor entirely insignificant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *