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W-H-A-T? My jaw just dropped Slayhy

Reader comment on item: Friendless in the Middle East
in response to reader comment: Children of Israel

Submitted by sara (United States), Dec 20, 2011 at 18:25

I am astounded by your religious belief induced ignorance and bias. I cannot believe what you just wrote!

"Al-Aqsa Mosque is a Muslim shrine, it is not Jewish or Christian - There is no Temple there, they've been digging for over 40 years, they came up with nothing..."

You must really be kidding me as I cannot for a second believe that you really think that this is a true statement. I cannot even begin to think where to reference the FACT that the First and Second JEWISH HOLY TEMPLES built by Jewish Kings are buried under the late-to-the-party al aqsa mosque that was built OVER THE RUINS OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT a century AFTER Muhamed died (and so the al awsa mosque did not EVEN EXIST during his lifetime so that it could not possibly be the mosque he was referencing on his magical midnight journey to heaven.

I just don't even know what to say Slayhy. It is beginning to dawn on me that this dialogue is completely useless and frustrating with no possibility of resolution since you derive your opinions and sources from your biased and tunnel visioned mosque propaganda. I give up.

Historical sources:

http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=625&PID=0&IID=2682

...

The biographer Plutarch (mid-first-early second century CE) notes the siege of Jerusalem by the Seleucid monarch Antiochus VII Sidetes in 133-132 BCE at the time of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. The author describes this festival at length in another work.[46] According to Plutarch, Antiochus VII provided the sacrificial animals for the Temple and allowed a seven day truce, after which the Jews submitted to him.[47] From this passage, it is clear that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are the Jews; that their Temple is located there; and their religious practices affect the outcome of the invasions of Greek rulers.

...

The selection by Hecataeus, cited in Against Apion, describes the city as follows: "The Jews have ... only one fortified city, which has a circumference of about fifty stades and some hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants; they call it Jerusalem. Nearly in the centre of the city stands a stone wall, enclosing an area about five plethra long and a hundred cubits broad, approached by a pair of gates."[53] He then proceeds to describe the Temple.

...

three relatively obscure sources of the second century BCE link the Temple to King Solomon and point out his association with King Hiram of Tyre, who assisted in its construction. These sources are brief and contain no historical background or material on the Jews.[28]

Several of the selections in Against Apion which include the anti-Exodus narrative also provide descriptions of the interior and exterior of the Temple and some of its rituals. For example, Hecataeus states that in the center of the city is an enclosure where there is "a square altar built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought." The Temple itself is "a great edifice containing and altar and a lamp stand, both made of gold ... upon these is a light which is never extinguished ... there is not a single statue or votive offering, no trace of a plant in the form of a sacred grove, or the like."[29] And in his account of Titus' siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes the Temple as "... built like a citadel, with walls of its own ... the very colonnades made a splendid defense. Within the enclosure is an ever-flowing spring."[30]

In addition to physical descriptions, the authors mention the religious aspect of the Temple which differed radically from Greek and Roman paganism. In the text preserved by Diodorus, Hecataeus mentions the priests and their duties in the Temple and even describes a worship service and sacrifice.[31] Similarly, the first century Roman historian Livy remarks that the Jews do not state "to which deity pertains the temple at Jerusalem, nor is any image found there, since they do not think the God partakes of any figure."

In the same vein, Tacitus reports that "there were no representations of the gods within, but ... the place was empty and the secret shrine contained nothing" and "only a Jew may approach its doors, and that all save the priests were forbidden to cross its threshold."[32] Cassius Dio (c.200 CE) recalls that the Jews "never had any statue of him [the deity] even in Jerusalem itself." The latter states that their temple "was extremely large and beautiful, except in so far as it was open and roofless."[33]

Hecataeus, Livy, and Cassius Dio explain the absence of representation as part of Jewish "otherness" in a factual manner. Several Greek writers, however, interpret the fact that there were no statues of the gods in the Temple not only as unusual, but also as barbaric and indicative of Jewish misanthropy. In their view, it would be inconceivable that a sacred shrine would be empty. Therefore, several authors offered their versions of what exactly stood in the Temple. Diodorus (first century BCE) writes that when "Antiochus, called Epiphanes, on defeating the Jews had entered the innermost sanctuary of the god's temple, where it was lawful for the priest alone to enter. Finding there a marble statue of a heavily bearded man seated on an ass, with a book in his hands, he supposed it to be an image of Moses, founder of Jerusalem ... who had ordained for the Jews their misanthropic and lawless customs. ... Antiochus ... sacrificed before the image of the founder and the open-air altar of the god a great sow."[34] Diodorus asserts that what stood in Judaism's holiest place was ridiculous and revolting; namely, the presence of a statue of an ass, a lowly beast of burden, whose rider had established Jewish xenophobia, and that Antiochus sacrificed an animal known by all to be forbidden to the Jews in their holiest shrine.[35]

Apion (mid-first century CE) conveys a malicious and defamatory description of the contents of the sanctuary in Jerusalem. In order to give his anti-Jewish arguments greater authority, Apion attributes this account to the well known Greek philosopher and ethnographer Posidonius (c.135-51 BCE) and the rhetorician Apollonius Molon (first century BCE).[36] As in the case of Diodorus, the invasion of Antiochus Epiphanes serves as the point of departure for the description, as follows: "Within the sanctuary ... the Jews kept an ass's head [made of gold], worshipping that animal and deeming it of deepest reverence."[37] ...

There is plenty more where this came from.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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