Biblical Archaeology Review 12:6, November/December 1986

Herod’s Mighty Temple Mount

Archaeology vividly recreates bustle of pilgrims two thousand years ago

By Meir Ben-Dov

Solomon’s temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. when they conquered Jerusalem. A half century later, the returning exiles, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, built the Second Temple, a modest structure that gradually fell into disrepair. This temple was remodeled and rebuilt during the last quarter of the last century before the Common Era by Herod the Great. So complete was this rebuilding that some scholars refer to Herod’s temple as the third temple. But in Jewish tradition it is the Second Temple, only rebuilt by Herod. When the Roman army conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman general Titus destroyed Herod’s rebuilt Second Temple, thus ending what scholars call the First Jewish Revolt. (Another Jewish revolt against Rome was to follow in 132 A.D.)

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