Re: Where is Jerusalem?
Wed Feb 15, 2017 05:03

Hi Delvon

Yes in the past I would have attacked anyone who challenged Jerusalem's location, even Josephus. But living here in Israel, as I have now for many years, is a lot different than reading about the place in a book and studying old maps.

Take a closer look at what Josephus says more carefully.

"There was a fortress of very great strength not far from Jerusalem, which had been built by our ancient kings, both as a repository for their effects in the hazards of war, and for the preservation of their bodies at the same time. It was called Masada" (Josephus, Wars 4.7.2).

In no way shape or form is Masada not far from modern Jerusalem. Every time I go to Masada from Jerusalem it is a pain in the ass even by bus. So you have to imagine what it was like in the first century by horse or by mule. This would be more than a day's journey back then, and I'm complaining today about a three hour bus ride on a major highway built to make the trip to the popular tourist destination as fast as humanly possible. Modern Jerusalem is not near Masada, but Josephus clearly writes that the city in which he was born is located near Masada. That's number one.

Number two. He says that Jerusalem is really two cities: a lower city and an upper city. He says the temple was built at the highest point of the strongest hill in the city. Anyone visiting Jerusalem today knows that the highest point of the strongest hill in the city is the southwestern hill. Christianity for centuries has identified that hill as Mount Zion, the Citadel of the Jebusites captured by David. Eusebius even says that hill is where the Jewish temple stood. He said that while standing inside Aelia's library. Hadrian built Aelia on the eastern hill where the Haram es-Sharif is located, with the Dome of the Rock at the center.

So now, when tourists come to Jerusalem today, tour guides have no choice but to make their heads spin. They have to tell them that the city of David is not where Josephus locates it on the highest hill, but on the lowest hill called the southeastern ridge. Then they have to tell them Josephus was wrong about the temple's precise location. It is not in the northern section of David's city but completely outside of it and north of the city on the eastern hill where the Dome of the Rock now stands. Basically, tour guides have to dispute almost every detail about Jerusalem given by Josephus.

Jerusalem should be in northern Judah contiguous with the tribal allotment of Benjamin (Jos 18:28).

Josephus and the Bible state that Judah's eastern border is the Dead Sea and its northeastern corner is the top of the northern bay of the southern Dead Sea. This has always puzzled me. Look at satellite images of the Dead Sea. It is not one sea but two. It is divided by a strip of land through which the Jordan flows. The Jordan exits the southern bay of the northern Dead Sea and then it enters the northern bay of the southern Dead Sea. The northern bay of the southern Dead Sea is where Jericho is located by Josephus. Jericho is not at the northern bay of the northern Dead Sea where Tel es-Sultan is located. Josephus measures the length of this stretch of land between the two parts of the Dead Sea as 70 stadia (Wars 4.8.3). So it is clear he is not talking about the length of the Jordan valley from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. He is here talking about the small stretch of the Jordan that divides the Dead Sea into two bodies of water. This part of the Jordan is Benjamin's eastern border and it is also the width of Benjamin's tribal land (north-south). It's length (east-west) is from this part of the Jordan to the sea.

"As to the Benjamites, their lot fell so, that its length reached from the river Jordan to the sea, but in breadth it was bounded by Jerusalem and Bethel; and this lot was the narrowest of all."

According to what Josephus already said about Benjamin's eastern border being the small strip of the Jordan between the two Dead Seas, modern Jerusalem and modern Bethel cannot be the true locations of these places. They cannot be the places Josephus was talking about.

I thought the temple was supposedly built on Mt. Moriah outside the city of David which is Zion (2Chron 3:1, 2 Chron 5:2). So Josephus, Eusebius and Christian tradition are wrong.

Josephus is not wrong. He does not say the temple was built outside of the city of David. He says it was built INSIDE the city of David. It is Eusebius and Christian tradition that are wrong.

Are you identifying Aelia Capitolina with Haram es-Sharif or Mount Epharim? Because you said earlier

Yes, Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem but not at its original location. He rebuilt it, reusing Herod's costly stones, on Mount Ephraim. The Romans renamed cities, mountains, and even the country itself. The retaining wall of the Haram es-Sharif was built by Hadrian. That is the location of his Aelia Capitolina. That is where Eusebius did much of his research. The real Jerusalem is still in ruins and the stones that are still there are there because they predate Herod and are not costly stones Romans, or anyone else, would want to reuse in other buildings.

Regards Tory

  • Re: Where is Jerusalem?Delvon, Tue Feb 14 17:36
    Hi Tory Lol, I'm not sure if I understand what you mean. Are you saying 3 cities called Jerusalem: Arad, Gerizim-Shechem and Jerusalem during the first temple period? "Even Josephus' location of... more
    • Re: Where is Jerusalem? — Tory, Wed Feb 15 05:03
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