Israeli archaeologists recently uncovered eight previously unearthed sections of the Temple Mount’s retaining wall in Jerusalem and part of a Roman-era theater in an area abutting the wall. Researchers estimate the theater is around 1,800 years old and believe the Roman Emperor Hadrian likely built it when he rebuilt the city of Jerusalem as a Roman colony.
It remains unclear why work on the theater appeared to stop abruptly. Joe Uziel, the archaeologist heading the dig, suggested the second Jewish revolt against Rome, A.D. 132-135, could have halted the construction.
The excavation will continue for another six months. The archaeologists hope they will uncover artifacts from the First Temple, built by King Solomon of the Old Testament and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem and built the Second Temple, which was dedicated around 515 B.C. Roman soldiers burned the temple and razed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Jews still consider the Temple Mount the holiest site on earth. Today the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Dome of the Rock sit on the site.
“We have a great deal of archaeological work ahead, and I am certain that the deeper we dig, the earlier the periods we will reach, further anchoring the profound connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem,” Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel told the Times of Israel.
Uziel said he hoped further excavations would shed light on daily life in Jerusalem after the Roman attack.
(Borg, “Temple Mount Excavation Yields New Finds,” WorldNewsService, 10/23/17).[TBC: As the late Dr. Clifford Wilson noted, “Professor Nelson Glueck stated [in a lecture] ‘I have excavated for thirty years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other and in matters of historical perspective I have never found the Bible to be in error.’… [In another lecture] given by Professor George Ernest Wright of Harvard University, he spoke on the validity of the writings of Moses, especially the covenant documents in the Pentateuch. He stated that the research of Professor George Mendenhall had led to the conclusion-with which he agreed-that the covenant documents of Moses were a unity and must be dated to approximately 1500 BC.
In further conversation after the lecture, Professor Wright told me that he had lectured for 30 years to graduate students-especially at Harvard-and he had told them that they could forget Moses in the Pentateuch. He now acknowledged that for thirty years he had been wrong, and that Moses really had been personally involved in the actual writing of the Pentateuch.”