Response to Joseph Patrich’s Temple Location

I have known Joseph Patrich for many years and have worked with him in the past to develop ideas about the construction of Herod’s Temple (Patrich, J. (1986). “The Messibah of the Temple According to the Tractate Middot” in Israel Exploration Journal 36, pp. 215–233. Patrich, J. (1987). “Picturing the Second Temple” in Eretz Magazine, Spring 1987, pp. 67–70 ).

He recently approached me with the request that I draw up some plans to illustrate his ideas on the location of Herod’s Temple. I agreed to help him, but made it clear that I did not want to be associated with his research, as I do not agree with it.

As one can see in my recently published book The Quest, many factors need to be taken into consideration when determining the location of the Temple. The location of one of the 38 cisterns on the Temple Mount is insufficient evidence to use as a basis for the site of the Temple. According to the ancient sources, the Temple faced east and not south-east:

Josephus – The Jewish War, 5.222

Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor…

Mishna Middot 2,4

All the walls there were high, save only the eastern wall, because the [High] Priest that burns the [Red] Heifer and stands on the top of the Mount of Olives should be able to look directly into the entrance of the Sanctuary when the blood is sprinkled.

Patrich places the ramp of the Altar between the northern two branches of this Cistern no. 5, to explain how water could have been drawn for ritual purposes. However, neither of these two branches have well-heads, so that water could not have been drawn up to the Laver, as he proposes.

Patrich’s location of the Temple

Patrich’s proposal as it appears here.

As convenient as this theory may appear, as it leaves the Dome of the Rock outside the Temple site, it is completely unworkable. It therefore joins the equally nonviable Temple location theories such as the northern one of Asher Kaufman, the symetrical layout of David Jacobson (which places the altar at the center of the Temple Mount) and the southern proposal of Tuvia Sagiv. Only a location which takes into account all the historical and archaeological evidence is tenable.

My proposal for the location of the Temple, as documented in The Quest and Secrets of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is as follows:

Temple Mount Plan

I hope to offer responses to the other theories in due course.