Monday, March 11, 2013

The Place in the Temple Courts Where Jesus Taught

There’s an article in the Italian press (with a Google translation in English here) in which Dan Bahat allegedly claims that he knows the exact place where Jesus taught the rabbis at the age of 12 (HT: Explorator). He identifies an area on the south side of the Temple Mount where he says that excavations have uncovered the scales on which the teachers stood.

A few comments:

1. It’s always a tenuous matter to discern something that has been mediated through a journalist, particularly through an article written in a language I don’t know. The Italian article was published on March 6, but to date no other reports are showing up in Google.

2. I’m not familiar with the excavations that Bahat is referring to. There are no excavations on the Temple Mount itself, and if he’s thinking of Eilat Mazar’s recent work south of the Temple Mount, it’s hard to believe that he is making the announcement and not Mazar herself.

3. The New Testament says of the location only that Joseph and Mary “found Jesus in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers” (Luke 2:46). I assume that Bahat knows of some rabbinical source which speaks of a particular location where rabbis taught. If so, several questions come to mind: Is that source accurate for about the year AD 10? Was there only one place in the enormous temple complex where rabbis taught?

4. The article notes Bahat’s credentials as a long-time district archaeologist of Jerusalem. I’ve read his Atlas of Jerusalem and have concluded that I cannot trust what he writes unless I have corroboration from another source I do trust. On this matter, I will keep my eyes open to see what reality there might be behind the hype.

Jerusalem model Temple Mount from west, tb051601210

Jerusalem model showing the Temple Mount and on “Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:23; Acts 3:11; 5:12). Model now at Israel Museum. Photo from the Pictorial Library, volume 3.

Labels: ,


  • I was puzzled by the "scales," but recalled the "Scala Sancta" in Rome. Catholics claim these to be the steps Jesus climbed before Pilate. When I used Bing translator I got the following:
    "I think I can show exactly the place where this happened. '' This is an area of the southern part of the temple, where excavations have brought to light the stairs on which routinely stopped the doctors of the law."
    I think he is speaking of the Southern steps of the Temple Mount Excavation. But, I don't know how he could know this is where Jesus taught.

    By Blogger Ferrell Jenkins, at Mon Mar 11, 10:45:00 AM  

  • A friend has contacted Dan Bahat and has learned that there's no new discovery being reported in this article.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Tue Mar 12, 07:35:00 AM  

  • 8 AD?....or are you just rounding up?

    By Blogger Benj, at Tue Mar 12, 07:56:00 AM  

  • Rounding. Though I believe that Rodger Young is now arguing that Herod died about 2/1 BC.

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Tue Mar 12, 08:05:00 AM  

  • I believe that Ferrell is right that the "scales" should have been translated as "steps". See my comments:

    By Blogger Leen Ritmeyer, at Wed Mar 13, 08:09:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home