Friday, August 31, 2007

Bahat: Archaeologists Politically Motivated; Wall Must Not Exist

The AFT has a follow-up to yesterday's article on the discovery of a wall from the Second Temple.  The article is headlined "Doubts over 'second temple remains' in Jerusalem."  The headline is misleading.  The only one casting doubts in the article is Dan Bahat, who has a record for distorting evidence related to the Temple Mount.  He admits that he hasn't seen the wall, and his reaction is but a knee-jerk response to the claims of other archaeologists who he says are "waging a politically inspired campaign, systematically for several years, to strengthen Israeli control over the esplanade."  Even assuming that this charge is true, that doesn't change the nature of construction that is being revealed and possibly destroyed on the Temple Mount.  The fact that the police haven't stepped in doesn't mean anything; they didn't step in when thousands of tons of earth were removed in the late 1990s either.  I mentioned in the last post that Barkay is a trustworthy voice on the subject; I can't say the same for Bahat.  In addition to his appearances in the media, his Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem is filled with errors.  I use portions of it with students, but with cautions.  The maps are very helpful and generally more reliable.  (I list some better books here.)

UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post now covers the story.

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