Jerusalem, Temple of


Jerusalem, Temple of

Either of two temples that were at the centre of worship and national identity in ancient Israel. When David captured Jerusalem, he moved the Ark of the Covenant there. As the site for a temple, he selected Mount Moriah, or the Temple Mount, where it was believed that Abraham had built his altar to sacrifice Isaac. The First Temple was constructed under David's son Solomon and was completed in 957 BC. It contained three rooms: a vestibule, the main room for religious services, and the Holy of Holies. From the time of Josiah, it was designated as the only place for sacrifice in Judah. It was destroyed during the Babylonian conquest in 586 BC. When the Jews returned from exile in 538, they built the Second Temple (finished 515). Its desecration by Antiochus IV in 167 BC set off the Maccabees' revolt, after which it was cleansed and rededicated. In 54 BC Marcus Licinius Crassus plundered the Temple. It was rebuilt and enlarged by Herod the Great; construction lasted 46 years. The Jewish rebellion in AD 66 led to its destruction by Roman legions in AD 70. All that remains is part of the Western Wall, a site of pilgrimage. The Temple Mount is now occupied by a Muslim mosque, Al-Aqsa, and the Dome of the Rock.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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