Temple Denial

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Temple Denial refers to the assertion that none of the Temples in Jerusalem ever existed or were not located on the Temple Mount.


Temple Mount with Antonia Fortress in upper-left corner
Sack of the Second Temple depicted on the inside wall of the Arch of Titus in Rome.

Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, used the term "Temple Denial" in his 2007 book, The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City. Israeli writer David Hazony has described the phenomenon as "a campaign of intellectual erasure [by Palestinian leaders, writers, and scholars] ... aimed at undermining the Jewish claim to any part of the land", and compared the phenomenon to Holocaust denial.[1][2]

According to Gold and Dennis Ross, at the 2000 Camp David Summit Yasser Arafat insisted that "the Temple" existed near Nablus, not on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[3][4][5] However, in the recollection of Ehud Barak, Arafat specificially referred to Solomon's Temple.[6] According to Gold, in the wake of Arafat's remark at Camp David, Temple denial "spread across the Middle East like wildfire", and even "subtly slipped into the writing of Middle-East based western reporters".[7]

Daniel Levin calls Temple denial a "relatively new phenomenon" that "has become a central tenet of Palestinian nationalism".[8] He stated: "The Islamic land trust is destroying Judeo-Christian ruins beneath the Temple Mount so as to deny any connection between Judaism and Christianity and Jerusalem."[9] The New York Times noted that "Temple denial, increasingly common among Palestinian leaders, also has a long history: After Israel became a state in 1948, the Waqf removed from its guidebooks all references to King Solomon's Temple, whose location at the site it had previously said was "beyond dispute.""[10][11][12]

In 2009 James R. Davila, Professor of Jewish Studies and Principal of St Mary's College, St Andrews criticized the increasing practice among journalists of writing as though the existence of the ancient Jewish temples on the Temple Mount was a disputable question with two legitimate "competing narratives". According to Professor Davila, "reporters need to get it straight that there is no debate among specialists in specialist literature about the existence of the Iron Age II Judean Temple and the Second and Herodian Temples in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount platform. Again, narratives to the contrary are propaganda, not scholarship."[13]

In 2005, in a book entitled From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back; The Islamic Consolidation of Jerusalem, Yitzhak Reiter describes the growing tendency of Islamic authorities to deny the existence of the Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount, characterizing it as part of a campaign to increase the status of Jerusalem and the Temple mount in Islam as part of the effort to make Jerusalem a Muslim city under Arab governance. According to Reiter, this narrative "reflects the mainstream in many Islamic communities around the world", and is promoted by "religious figures, politicians, academics and journalists".[14][15]

Not all Islamic scholars accept Temple denialism. Imam Abdul Hadi Palazzi, leader of the Italian Muslim Assembly and a co-founder and a co-chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship, quotes the Quran to support Judaism's special connection to the Temple Mount. According to Palazzi, "[t]he most authoritative Islamic sources affirm the Temples". He adds that Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims because of its prior holiness to Jews and its standing as home to the biblical prophets and kings David and Solomon, all of whom he says are sacred figures also in Islam. He claims that the Quran "expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays the same role for Jews that Mecca has for Muslims".[16]

According to Benjamin Mazar, the Roman fortress Antonia was located on the highest point of the Temple Mount, the current location of the Dome of the Rock. The 1st century Jewish Roman historian Josephus said the Romans kept a whole legion of soldiers (5,000-6,000) at Antonia. The Temples were 600-feet south and 200-feet lower than the Antonia complex, on Mount Ophel, near the Spring of Siloam, which provided water for sacrifices.[17][18]

In October 2015, the New York Times published an article stating that "The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitely answered, is whether the 37-acre site, home to Islam's sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone."[19] Within a few days, the newspaper responded to feedback by changing the text to "The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is where on the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone."[20][21] A few weeks later, the newspaper further corrected the story, backdating the Islamic waqf that controls the site from 1967 to 1187.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hazony, David. "Temple Denial In the Holy City", The New York Sun, March 7, 2007.
  2. ^ Gold, pp. 10 ff.
  3. ^ Gold, p. 11
  4. ^ "Camp David: An Exchange" - The New York Review of Books, September 20, 2001
  5. ^ Dennis Ross interview on Fox News Sunday, April 21, 2002
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Gold, p. 12
  8. ^ Daniel Levin, Denial on the Temple Mount, The Forward, Oct. 23, 2009
  9. ^ "'EMBERS' OF TRUTH IN NEW THRILLER". Chicago Jewish News. August 14, 2009. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2015. 
  10. ^ Mistrust Threatens Delicate Balance at a Sacred Site in Jerusalem, The New York Times, Nov. 22, 2014
  11. ^ A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif, a booklet published in 1925 (and earlier) by the "Supreme Moslem Council", a body established by the British government to administer waqfs and headed by Hajj Amin al-Husayni during the British Mandate period, states on page 4: "The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.'(2 Samuel 24:25)"
  12. ^ Joshua Hammer. "What is Beneath the Temple Mount?". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved December 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ "TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: The BBC is taking Jewish-Temple denial in Palestinian circles rather more seriously than it deserves," James R. Davila, Paleojudaica.com, June 2, 2009, [2]
  14. ^ "From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back; The Islamic Consolidation of Jerusalem", Yitzhak Reiter, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2005.
  15. ^ In the beginning was Al-Aqsa; A new study exposes the systematic Muslim denial of the existence of Solomon's Temple by clergymen, historians and statesmen. Some claim that the mosque was built in the times of Adam, Nadav Shragai, Haaretz, Nov. 27, 2005, [3]
  16. ^ Margolis, David (February 23, 2001). "The Muslim Zionist". Los Angeles Jewish Journal. 
  17. ^ Buchanan, George Wesley (August 2011). "Misunderstandings about Jerusalem's Temple Mount". Magazine. Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. pp. 16, 64. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  18. ^ Martin, Ernest L. '"The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot."(2000). p.iv ISBN 0-945657-95-1
  19. ^ Gladstone, Rick (8 October 2015). "Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem's Holiest Place (original version)". The New York Times. 
  20. ^ a b Gladstone, Rick (8 October 2015). "Historical Certainty Proves Elusive at Jerusalem's Holiest Place". Newspaper. The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  21. ^ Ngo, Robin (13 October 2015). "Contested Temple Mount History?". Website. Bible History Daily. Retrieved 14 October 2015.