The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to Messiah

The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to Messiah
Conference at the Yeshiva University, Centre for Israel Studies, New York
May 11-12, 2008

Needless to say, I was delighted to see my “babies” (the models of the Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, Herod’s Temple and Herod’s Temple Mount) again, after a separation of 12 years! I was also pleased that Steven Fine organised a conference around this exhibition of models commissioned by the late Ben Adelman of Silver Spring, M.D. Mr Adelman’s estate had bequeathed the models to the Yeshiva University.

Mr. Ben Adelman and myself in 1996

Mr. Ben Adelman (right) and myself in 1996

modelny.jpg

Exhibition of models at Yeshiva University Museum, New York

My personal highlights from the two-day conference were:

• Meeting Professor Louis Feldman, who contributed to the Loeb translation of Josephus, that I use almost every day. The conference was held in his honour. He has worked at the Yeshiva University for the last 55 years.

• Hearing Lawrence Schiffman speak on the Temple Scroll. He put forward the idea that the temple design of the Temple Scroll was based on the layout of the Camp of Israel in the wilderness. The inner square court represented the Divine Presence, the middle court the Levites and the outer court all of Israel. I was particularly interested in this as I was asked by the late Professor Yigael Yadin to make a reconstruction drawing of this temple – see his book: Y. Yadin (1985), The Temple Scroll, (London).

• Discussing with Joshua Schwartz, the many problems – textual and architectural – which had to be considered in the reconstruction of the Herodian Temple and its courtyards for the UCLA virtual temple model.

• Seeing over 250 people from totally different backgrounds, ranging from Orthodox Jewish scholars and Israeli academics to Christian theologians, mingling around the Temple models and talking together when normally they would have little in common.

The exhibition, IMAGINING THE TEMPLE: THE MODELS OF LEEN RITMEYER, continues until August 31, this year. The next project of the Center for Israel Studies is the publication of the lectures in volume form.

Conference in New York on The Temple of Jerusalem

Here is the official program. Please note that attendance is free, but registration is required, see below.
The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah
May 11 – 12, 2008

The Inaugural conference of the Yeshiva University Center for Israel Studies,
Honoring Professor Louis H. Feldman
May 11 • Noon – 6:00 pm
Yeshiva University Museum at the Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street
Noon – 1:00 pm • Viewing of “Imagining the Temple: The Models of Leen Ritmeyer”

Session 1, 1: 00 – 3:30 pm

From the Tabernacle to the Dead Sea Scrolls
Chair: David Horwitz, Yeshiva University

Gary A. Anderson, University of Notre Dame
The Inauguration of the Tabernacle Service at Sinai

Shawn Zelig Aster, Yeshiva University
Centralization of Worship in the First Temple and Israelite Religious Belief

Shalom Holtz, Yeshiva University
Temple as Asylum and God as Asylum in the Psalms

Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University
The Temple Scroll: A Utopian Temple Plan from Second Temple Times

Session 2, 3:45 – 6:00 pm

The Second Temple: Between Rome and Eternity
Chair: Moshe Bernstein, Yeshiva University

Menachem Mor, Haifa University
The Jewish and Samaritan Temples: Religious Competition in the Second Temple Period

Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev, Ben Gurion University
From Tolerance to Destruction: Roman Policy and Jewish Temple

Joshua Schwartz and Yehoshua Peleg, Bar Ilan University
Notes on the Virtual Reconstruction of the Herodian Period Temple and Courtyards

Leen Ritmeyer, Trinity Southwest University
Envisioning the Sanctuaries of Israel—The Academic and Creative Process of Archaeological Model Making

May 12 • 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Stern College for Women
Geraldine Schottenstein Cultural Center
239 East 34th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)

Session 3, 9:00 – 11:30 am

The Jerusalem Temple in Medieval Christianity and Islam
Chair: David Berger, Yeshiva University

Frank Peters, New York University
Ruined Expectations: Christians and Muslims and the Jerusalem Temple

Moshe Sokolow, Yeshiva University
Fadai’l al-Quds: Jerusalem, The Temple and The Rock in Muslim Literature

Vivian B. Mann, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Imagining the Temple in Late Medieval Spanish Altarpieces

Session 4, 12:30 – 2:45 pm

The Jerusalem Temple in Medieval and Early Modern Thought
Chair: Elisheva Carlebach, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

Jonathan Dauber, Yeshiva University
Images of the Temple in Sefer ha-Bahir

Mordechai Z. Cohen, Yeshiva University
God Dwelling in the Sanctuary? Interpretive Strategies of Maimonides, Nahmanides and Sefer ha-Hinnukh

Jacob J. Schacter, Yeshiva University
Remembering the Temple: Commemoration and Catastrophe in Medieval Ashkenazi Culture

Matt Goldish, Ohio State University
The Temple of Jerusalem from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

Session 5, 3:00 – 5:30 pm

The Jerusalem Temple in the Modern World
Chair: Joshua Zimmerman, Yeshiva University

Jess Olson, Yeshiva University,
“Jerusalem Rebuilt”: The Temple in the Fin-de-siècle Zionist Imagination

Maya Balakirsky Katz, Touro College
The Second Temple in Contemporary Orthodox Visual Culture

Ann Killebrew, Pennsylvania State University
Recent Excavations and Discoveries On and Near the Temple Mount

Robert O. Freedman, Johns Hopkins University
Digging the Temple Mount: Archaeology and the Arab-Israeli Conflict from the British Mandate to the Present

Concluding Remarks

Louis H. Feldman, Yeshiva University
Steven Fine, Yeshiva University

Attendance is free and open to the public.
Register at http://www.yu.edu/cis
or call (212) 960-0189

International Conference on the Temple of Jerusalem in New York

During May 11-12, 2008, a conference is planned in New York on the Temple of Jerusalem. The models of the Tabernacle, Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples, which I designed, will be displayed there. I am also one of the speakers, giving a lecture on “The Academic and Creative Process of Archaeological Model Making.”

More info later.

The New Sanhedrin and the Temple Mount

On October 13th 2006, 71 Jewish religious leaders re-established the ancient Sanhedrin. This used to be the supreme religious court that resided on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, prior to its destruction by the Romans in 70A.D. Many cities had smaller sanhedrins, but the Supreme Court in Jerusalem was called the Great Sanhedrin. It is this Great Sanhedrin that has now been re-established. There were three places on the Temple Mount, mentioned in Mishnah Middot 5.4, where they used to meet over 1900 years ago. The most well-known location was the so-called Chamber of Hewn Stone. This chamber was located to the southeast of the Temple, as can be seen on this model of Herod’s Temple Mount:

hewn-stone.jpg

One of the aims of the modern Sanhedrin is to reinstate animal sacrifices, starting this coming Pesach (Passover) on the 3rd of April. At present they are looking for ritually perfect animals that could be used for this purpose. Indeed, in recent years, several animals have already been sacrificed at different localities around the Temple Mount, usually at a distance of about half a mile, but always in view of the Temple Mount.

Years ago I met Rabbis Yisrael Ariel and Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, both of whom are now members of the new Sanhedrin, and I asked them where they were hoping to make these sacrifices – on the Western Wall Plaza, or on the Mount of Olives? Their reply was: only on the original location of the Altar. As I was researching the problems of the Temple at that time, they asked me to give them a lecture about my findings. They showed great interest in my location of the Altar in the open space just to the east of the Dome of the Rock, as published in my book The Quest – Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, p. 362:

templealtarplanp362.jpg

 

It is possible to locate the Altar if one knows the exact location of the Temple. I believe to have identified the rock-cut remains where the walls of the Holy of Holies stood, inside the Dome of the Rock (see plan above). Once this location is established, one can use the measurements given in the Book of Measurements, Mishnah Middot, as set out in my book The Quest, Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, to pinpoint the exact location of the Altar as can be seen on this aerial photograph of the Temple Mount:

 

tmplatform4.jpg

It will be interesting to watch this development and to see what this new Sanhedrin is going to achieve, especially in regard to sacrificing.