My friend David Jacobson is to be congratulated on his two-part article on Herod’s Temple Mount. His overall view of the Mount and his incisive use of comparative architecture are commendable. I am grateful to him for reminding readers about the location of the Temple. Jacobson also deserves praise for his insistence that, even to this day, there are extant remnants of Herod’s Temple.
The application of comparative architecture to the Temple has its limitations, however. The Temple had its own architectural tradition going back to the Tent of Meeting of Mosaic times (Exodus 25–27). This means that a thorough knowledge of the ancient Jewish texts is important to understanding the Temple and its placement, especially tractate Middot1 of the Mishnah, which embodies Jewish oral tradition and law and provides an accurate and detailed description of the Second Temple.a