Archaeologists Believe They Have Discovered an Israelite Temple Contemporaneous with Solomon’s

In 2012, an excavation at Tel Motza, located just four miles northwest of the center of ancient Jerusalem, revealed a structure resembling the First Temple. Archaeologists, having completed a thorough examination of site last year, surmise it was in active use as an auxiliary place of worship from the 10th through the 6th centuries BCE, corresponding approximately to the time the First Temple stood. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

[The structure] would have been about two-thirds the size of the First Temple and was likely built by similar builders who came to the region from Syria [or Lebanon], as described in the Bible. . . . Due to Motza’s proximity to the First Temple in Jerusalem, the excavation’s principal researchers, Shua Kisilevitz and Oded Lipschits of Tel Aviv University, hypothesize that this separate cultic site would have been approved by the administration of the Jerusalem “main branch.”

“You could not have built a major monumental temple so close to Jerusalem without it being sanctioned by the ruling polity,” said Kisilevitz.

Among the other remains of worship activity, [besides a stone altar], are a stone-built offering table, and “a whole lot of artifacts,” including figurines, cult stands, and chalices, which would have both been brought by the penitents and been the “furniture” of the temple. Another telling clue is a nearby refuse pit, where the team discovered bone and pottery remains. Kisilevitz explained that it was used in a similar way that Jews today use a genizah for sacred texts.

Kisilevitz noted that the Bible records two religious reforms enacted [respectively] by King Hezekiah and [his great-grandson] King Josiah, and said wryly that the fact that there were two is very telling about the widespread cultic practices that were being forbidden. According to the biblical account, the kings consolidated worship practices at the Jerusalem temple and eliminated cultic activity beyond its boundaries.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, ancient Judaism, Archaeology, First Temple, Jerusalem

 

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy