Biblical Archaeology Review 26:3, May/June 2000

What’s an Egyptian Temple Doing in Jerusalem?

By Gabriel Barkay

Recent attacks on the historicity of the United Monarchy of David and Solomon (in the tenth century B.C.) have focused on the scant archaeological remains that have been discovered in Jerusalem. Based on this, some scholars have charged that there was no significant settlement in Jerusalem during the time of the United Monarchy, despite what the Bible tells us. For similar reasons, these scholars have argued that there was no settlement during the preceding period—called Iron Age I (1200–1000 B.C.), the period of the Israelite settlement and of the Judges—or even earlier, during the period of Egyptian rule in the province of Canaan, the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 B.C.).

I do not wish to enter that debate. I want only to demonstrate how chancy it is to base an argument on the absence of data.

I have discovered important evidence regarding the Egyptian presence in Jerusalem during the Late Bronze Age.

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