Historical Perspectives: Ancient Quarry and Josephus

Miniature Model of Herod's Temple (Israel)

Miniature Model of Herod's Temple (Israel)

Often when an ancient discovery is uncovered it is interesting to bring together archaeology and texts. The coalescing of the two provides a greater picture into to the ancient world for scholars and students alike. Below there are some texts taken from Josephus regarding the stones used to rebuild the Temple during the time of Herod. Coupled with the discovery of the ancient quarry in Jerusalem, history is made real.

From Josephus (Whiston’s Trans.)

“The cloisters [of the outmost court] were in breadth thirty cubits, while the entire compass of it was, by measure, six furlongs, including the tower of Antonia; those entire courts that were exposed to the air were laid with stones of all sorts”. (BJ 5:192)

“On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth.” (BJ 5:224)

“There was a wall of partition, about a cubit in height, made of fine stones, and so as to be grateful to the sight; this encompassed the holy house, and the altar, and kept the people that were on the outside off from the priests.” (BJ 5:226)

From the JPost article:

“The immense size of the stones found at the site, reaching a height of 2 meters, indicate that they were used in the construction of King Herod’s magnificent projects in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount walls, said Dr. Ofer Sion, the director of the dig at the site.”

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