Letter to the Editor of The New York Times from Dr. Jodi Magness

The many protests against the anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian article about the Temple Mount by the New York Times’ reporter Rick Gladstone, which we wrote about in a previous post, has had an effect. First of all, they published a correction and now The New York Times has published Jodi Magness’s letter in The Opinion Pages. You can read it here:

The Opinion Pages 


 The Temple Mount in Jerusalem 

To the Editor:

I am one of the specialists interviewed for “Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem’s Holiest Place” (news article, Oct. 9).

The question of the existence and location of two successive temples on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is not nearly as contested as the article suggests.

Literary sources leave little doubt that there were two successive ancient temples in Jerusalem dedicated to the God of Israel (the first destroyed in 586 B.C., and the second in 70 A.D.) These sources and archaeological remains indicate that both temples stood somewhere on the Temple Mount.

The only real question is the precise location of the temple(s) on the Temple Mount. The site of the Dome of the Rock is the most likely spot for various reasons, despite the lack of archaeological evidence or excavations. I know of no credible scholars who question the existence of the two temples or who deny that they stood somewhere on the Temple Mount.


Chapel Hill, N.C.

The writer is a professor specializing in early Judaism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Hopefully they have learnt to get the facts right and be more careful in the future so that they won’t publish another ill-informed article about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or any other archaeological site in Israel.

HT: Joe Lauer


2 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor of The New York Times from Dr. Jodi Magness”

  1. Your statement “The Seleucid Akra therefore stood on a hill very close to the Temple Mount. What hill is there to be seen in the Givati parking lot? It appears therefore that the Israel Antiquities Authority once again tries to make sensational headlines with an unworkable theory in order to get some publicity.” makes perfect sense, unless the temple was actually somewhere else. Maybe a location south of the Temple Mount in the vicinity of the Ophel. Then this would correlate with this new location of Akra as an overlook point. It’s not like Roman General Titus left a sign, Akra here and Temple there. Maybe if there was some willingness on the part of all involved to relook at this question from a completely scientific viewpoint and forgetting the traditions beliefs and opinions, the political problem might just moderate. To be able to adapt, learn and change with new information is the sign of a true genius.
    Larne Gabriel
    Kirkland, WA

  2. Larne, two wrongs do not make a right. The Temple Mount is where it is and always has been.
    2Chr. 3:1 “Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah” – not in the Ophel!

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