"Temple Mount For Dummies"

Oct 19th, 2000, 04:15 PM
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"Temple Mount For Dummies"

When I hear about Temple Mount, I realize I want to learn more. What is it? Where is it (center, outskirts)? Is it a structure, a hill, a archeological site (i.e., no longer there). I recall something like it was the site of a temple, and the only remaining 'thing' is a wall. Above this wall the area is also 'special'

As you can read, I need help. If you have been there and can describe it, I would appreciate it. I am not interested, at least for now, in anything political or heated.

My undergrad prof used to call geography the "whyfore of where" which did not always apply to just mountains, rivers, oceans, etc., but people and cultures - Once I have the area described in my head, then I cross the "why is it so meaningful" questions and research.
Oct 19th, 2000, 06:09 PM
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The Temple Mount is a hilly rise in the center of the Old City of Jerusalem. It's called that because it was the site of the great Temple, built first during the reign of Solomon, and rebuilt under Herod. The second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD (CE). Only the western or "wailing" wall remains of the temple. However, the site of center of the Temple, where the Holy of Holys was located, is now the site of the Dome of the Rock, where Muslims believe Mohammed ascended to join with God.

The Temple Mount area is therefore sacred to Jews and to Muslims. Going there is a very moving experience to most people, and its political, religious, and symbolic importance can't be overstated.

Have a look at this web site: http://israeliculture.about.com/cult...e/bljertem.htm

Oct 19th, 2000, 06:45 PM
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Thanks. I really appreciate the response and the site. I'm still in Dummy mode and have more questions.

The photo at the web site shows a wall on 3 sides (it looks like). Is the 'open area' the place I see occasionally on TV when people are at the wailing wall? What is the gold dome - Dome of the Rock? It looks "new" / how old is it? What is the area in the foreground "above" the wall to the left of the photo?

How "large" is the area? [Do the old comparison to a football field]

The site is great, but way too much data for me at this point. I am ready now for more controvertial stuff, like basics of why there is the conflict. As a silly comparison, cities in USA have both Baptist and CAtholic, but they worked out how to share a church (pls don't laugh at this dumb analogy)
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:02 AM
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I just finished a book "Don't Know Much About the Bible" that might be of help to you. I forgot the author, but he's written a series of "Don't Know Much About..." Its an easy read, compares historical events and bible stories, differing views of theologians and historians, etc. It will give you background not only on Christianity, but also the Jewish and Muslim viewpoints. While it just scratches the surface, it does give you some "lightbulb" moments. "!" so thats what Charleton Heston was doing..
Oct 20th, 2000, 09:52 AM
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Thanks. I'll look for the book.
I found out my other questions (2nd post) from the web site... What prompted all this were 2 things: An 81 yr old friend asked me a very simple question during a recent TV broadcast on Israeli /Arab conflict that I fumbled through to answer. I felt myself talking in sound bytes (Bush/Gore-esque?) not feeling comfortable, thirsty to learn more. Also, I collect maps and an antique store near me has an old one of Jerusalem - Holy City from the 19th century. If I buy the map, I want it to mean something to me, hence the need to learn more. This may even prompt me to plan a trip there someday.

Thanks for the help
Oct 20th, 2000, 12:44 PM
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GOL, I hope your research might someday compel you to visit Jerusalem, to feel and smell and listen to what I think is the most wonderous city on the planet. Even if it weren't for the incredible density of only-here history and the spiritual gravity of the place, it would still be a remarkable scene, with ancient and modern cultures overlapping and jostling and screeching at each other, the sheer physical beauty of the place ("Jerusalem the Golden" is not made up) and the geography, at the top of a ridge between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea, and beyond, the deserts and plains of the ancient world.

But add to that the fact that it is a central focus of 3 great religions, and add further a couple thousand years of politics and crusades and wars and imperialism and genocide and... and... and you get more life and history per acre than anywhere else. Lots of that history and present life is troubling, and sometimes even now not without risk. But we've never been to a place where we felt more alive, more a part of the human story, warts and all, than here.
Oct 20th, 2000, 01:53 PM
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John, your words were passionate. Description wonderful. They make me want to go right away. [If you posted this type of glowing report on the United States section of Fodors you would be run out of town by anti-travel agent 'factions' because you could be perceived to be a travel agent.]

Besides ones own "kin", I can't think of anything else that moves people, changes behavior, etc. than religion, or should I say faith.

You mentioned smell and sound. How are those 2 senses observed?
Jul 18th, 2001, 11:57 AM
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John did an outstanding job of describing the history and importance of the Temple Mount. There is one minor point that requires clarification though. The Western (or "Wailing") Wall is not actually part of what remains of the Temple, but of the retaining wall which surrounded the Temple Mount. The Temple was within the retaining wall. There is nothing remaining of either the first or second Temple, at least above ground.
Jul 18th, 2001, 02:38 PM
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Just as a footnote, Israelis have told me that they prefer to call the wall of the Temple Mount the Western Wall. The Wailing Wall was used as a derogatory term by onlookers who said that Jews praying looked as if they were weeping.
Jul 23rd, 2001, 09:54 AM
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DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE BIBLE is by Kenneth C. Davis , and is is excellent. Well-written, scholarly, and witty.


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