With this magnificently unique volume, Leen Ritmeyer provides us with the ideal textbook from which to understand the development of the man-made plateau that is the focus of the world’s interest. His experience as architect of the Temple Mount Excavations following the Six-Day War, coupled with his exploration of parts of the mount now completely out of bounds and his doctoral research into the problems of the Temple Mount make him singularly qualified for the task. Illustrator of the book as well as its author, his reconstruction drawings make the stones of the Temple Mount cast off the mantle of time and leap to vibrant life.
Truly comprehensive in scope, the book commences with the period in which the Temple Mount reached its zenith, that of King Herod the Great. Here, the author masterfully weaves together an incredible amount of archaeological data with the historical sources to produce an authoritative and exhaustive reconstruction. Then, with the features of the Herodian Temple Mount well in mind, the reader is equipped to progress to the next stage in the research, the quest for the earlier square Temple Mount, described by Josephus and the Mishnah. The theories of other researchers are fairly examined and evaluated and the search progresses like the best detective story. Clues are turned up by the author’s sharp eye to provide compelling evidence that all the previous proposals must be rewritten. The accumulation of evidence, both archaeological and literary, gathers force to solve Jerusalem’s oldest archaeological controversy, namely the actual location of the temple, from the time of Solomon onwards. A completely unforeseen result was the discovery of the original emplacement of the Ark of the Covenant on the rocky floor of what can be identified as the Holy of Holies.
This work distils the history of three millennia and thirty years of intensive research into the definitive book on the Temple Mount. Scholars, students and all lovers of Jerusalem – make room on your bookshelves for a book you will refer to time and again!