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Herod's Temple
February 28, 2009 1:29 PM   Subscribe

Herod's Temple, originally an expansion on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Now a retired farmer has spent 30 years building a scale model of it
posted by Deflagro (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
And for 30 euros he will tag it with a tiny spay can and send you the picture.
posted by mattoxic at 1:34 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


there are 32 versions of Jesus, although no one can ever spot him no matter how religious they are

Just like the real one!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:34 PM on February 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


so now that the temple is rebuilt and the antichrist has arisen, the rapture is just around the corner and jesus shall come flying down through the clouds to smite his enemies and reward his friends?
posted by Glibpaxman at 1:53 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


so now that the temple is rebuilt and the antichrist has arisen, the rapture is just around the corner and jesus shall come flying down through the clouds to smite his enemies and reward his friends?

I think at 1/132 scale, I'd be okay with this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:01 PM on February 28, 2009 [9 favorites]


Joke, joke, joke.

If it was the rebel ice base on Hoth, you'd all be lining up to give him a hand job.
posted by kbanas at 2:01 PM on February 28, 2009 [5 favorites]


Jesus, I am overjoyed
To meet you at 1/132 scale
You've been getting quite a name
All around the place
Healing cripples
Raising from the dead
Now I understand you're God
At least that's what you've said

So you are the Christ
You're the 1/132 scale Jesus Christ
Prove to me that you're divine
Change my water into wine
That's all you need do
Then I'll know it's all true
C'mon King of the Jews

Jesus you just won't believe
The hit you've made around here
You are all we talk about
You're the wonder of the year
Oh what a pity
That it's all at 1/132 scale
Still I'm sure
That you can rock the cynics if you try
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:14 PM on February 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


Once he's finished, he'll wash his hands of the project.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2009


What is the model based on, aside from the walls that still remain? Do we have any idea what the interior looked like?
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on February 28, 2009


What is the model based on, aside from the walls that still remain? Do we have any idea what the interior looked like?

A pretty good idea, actually. It's specifications are described 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles in exacting detail.
posted by EarBucket at 3:27 PM on February 28, 2009


Typical amateur stuff. It is impressive because of the size and the obvious investments of time and energy, but look at the attention to detail. The columns aren't straight, and are not evenly spaced. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to scale modelling in my book.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:27 PM on February 28, 2009


languagehat, he says he's done years of research—I imagine there are some descriptive records? There's also quite a bit about him (there called Thomas Abrams) in the ninth chapter of W.G. Sebald's Rings of Saturn, where Sebald reports this about Abrams' research:
Then there are the alterations that need to be made, Thomas Abrams said, whenever my research leads to new findings. It is well known that archaeologists are divided amongst themselves as to the exact layout of the temple; nor are my own often hard-gained insights always more reliable than the views of the squabbling scholars, even though my model is now thought to be the most accurate replica of the Temple ever produced.
[….]
No, it's just research really and work, endless hours of work, Thomas Abrams said. You had to study the Misnah, he continued, and every other available source, and Roman architecture, and the distinctive features of the edifices raised by Herod in Masada and Borodium, because that was the only way of arriving at the right ideas.
I have to say I'm pretty excited to see pictures of this. Rings of Saturn has only, by design, one barely representative photograph. I was imagining something rather more toothpicky; impressive in exactness but not in materials.
posted by felix grundy at 3:31 PM on February 28, 2009


EarBucket, that's Solomon's temple you linked to, not Herod's temple. First temple, second temple.
posted by felix grundy at 3:35 PM on February 28, 2009


A pretty good idea, actually. It's specifications are described 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles in exacting detail.

Dude, that's Solomon's Temple. We're talking about Herod's Temple.

languagehat, he says he's done years of research

That's nice, but doesn't mean a damn thing. There are all kinds of crackpots out there who have done "years of research" to "prove" their crackpot ideas. (Not calling this guy a crackpot, just saying if you've got a lot invested in an idea your standards of evidence may not be all that exacting.) If there are indeed descriptive records, I'd like to hear about them. But what I want to know is what actual archeologists accept, not what a German writer thought was cool.
posted by languagehat at 3:38 PM on February 28, 2009


Or rather—not a total expert on these things—Herod's temple was a rebuilding of the second temple, but didn't start completely anew. See the wikipedia link in the original post for details.

on preview: sorry if Sebald's fiction wasn't what you were interested in, languagehat, just relaying what information I had. Wikipedia says that the Misnah was undertaken in part to preserve the memory of the temple after it was destroyed; I imagine it's got details but I don't exactly have it ready to hand. I read a lot of Sebald, I'm not an archeologist or a scholar of Judaism.
posted by felix grundy at 3:46 PM on February 28, 2009


Well, nice but...kinda defeats the idea of 'mega' in megalithic. If it's in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Or an apparently nice man in a sweater. 20ft x 12 ft isn't my idea of, y'know, 'whopping.'
And yeah, scale model of the Hoth base would be kick ass. You know how hard it is to sculpt ice on the microscale? S'why most ice work is big.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:51 PM on February 28, 2009


Do we have any idea what the interior looked like?

"Any" ideas? Sure, extrapolated from other temples of the period we know more about, and clues in the archaeological record. Perhaps even written descriptions, not sure. There are no photographs if your looking for 100% proof positive, but I don't think anyone made an absolutist claim to the models accuracy.
posted by stbalbach at 3:53 PM on February 28, 2009


Well, nice but...kinda defeats the idea of 'mega' in megalithic. If it's in danger of being crushed by a dwarf. Or an apparently nice man in a sweater. 20ft x 12 ft isn't my idea of, y'know, 'whopping.'

You're not being paid to be as confused as he is.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:54 PM on February 28, 2009


King Herod Revealed: The Holy Land's visionary builder.
posted by homunculus at 3:58 PM on February 28, 2009


All those Tiny Jesii and no Tiny Joseph?
posted by vibrotronica at 4:06 PM on February 28, 2009


sorry if Sebald's fiction wasn't what you were interested in, languagehat, just relaying what information I had.

Sorry if I came off as snarky; I actually love Sebald's fiction, but I was hoping for a more authoritative statement of what's known. I realize I could do the research myself, but I'm lazy.
posted by languagehat at 5:09 PM on February 28, 2009


Whoops, my bad.
posted by EarBucket at 5:15 PM on February 28, 2009


What did he use to build the model?
posted by francesca too at 5:16 PM on February 28, 2009


What did he use to build the model?

Says he used hand-baked clay bricks and plywood
posted by Deflagro at 5:40 PM on February 28, 2009


Man has some hot hands, I tell you what.
posted by fleetmouse at 6:34 PM on February 28, 2009


I don't if it's this same model, or the one shown in the Wikipedia article linked in the FPP, but a very large and accurate scale model of the temple is featured throughout the recent 4-hour Frontline documentary From Jesus To Christ.
posted by intermod at 6:59 PM on February 28, 2009


What time does the Son hit the map room?
posted by fleacircus at 7:01 PM on February 28, 2009


What is the model based on, aside from the walls that still remain?

When a curmudgeonly guy makes a scale model of an ancient temple out of toothpicks and wood shavings, you don't quibble about how archaeologically accurate is. You just marvel that it's there. It's a little bit like a donkey playing basketball. It doesn't matter whether the donkey's any good. It's more like, "A donkey playing basketball, how 'bout that?"
posted by jonp72 at 8:15 PM on February 28, 2009


No one knows who they were or what they were doing
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on February 28, 2009


Herod's temple wasn't destroyed until 70 CE. We've got very good descriptions of it in the works of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish general who went over to the Roman side. There are also descriptions in Jewish texts like the Mishna, but I think Josephus is more useful for the architectural elements. And then, too, a lot of the foundations are still there. One of the retaining walls is the present Western Wall where Jews assemble to pray, and the so-called Solomon's Stables are part of the area's supports.

I suspect that there's a huge amount of construction yet to be discovered. There are many techniques that could be used to map these without any harm to surface structures (i.e., the Dome of the Rock and its associated buildings). It's a great pity that the Waqf (the Moslem body administering the Temple Mount) has been so uncooperative.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:46 PM on February 28, 2009


How are people going to worship at this temple when they can't even fit inside the building?</em?
posted by mullingitover at 12:25 AM on March 1, 2009


What is the model based on, aside from the walls that still remain? Do we have any idea what the interior looked like?

The second chapter of the model builder's book The Splendor of the Temple is titled "How We Know About Herod's Temple". In it, he cites Josephus and the Mishnah as his biggest sources.

I have no idea how much detail these sources actually provide, presumably the book explores that in greater detail.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:06 AM on March 1, 2009


a very large and accurate scale model of the temple is featured throughout the recent 4-hour Frontline documentary

Why do you call it "accurate"? Because it was on Frontline?

When a curmudgeonly guy makes a scale model of an ancient temple out of toothpicks and wood shavings, you don't quibble about how archaeologically accurate is. You just marvel that it's there.

Fine, if that's the way you roll. Me, I'm curious about the actual temple. How about I let you admire the curmudgeonly guy and you let me ask about the temple?

We've got very good descriptions of it in the works of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish general who went over to the Roman side


"Very good descriptions" in what sense? Unless he includes measurements of all the walls and interior spaces and detailed descriptions of all the decor and furnishings, I don't see how they could be good enough to build a model from. I don't know of any truly detailed descriptions of any building from that era; maybe this is an exception, but I'd like to see the evidence.
posted by languagehat at 7:26 AM on March 1, 2009


Thanks for that link, kisch mokusch. The guy says Josephus's writings are "difficult to interpret and need careful sifting" and "contradict other sources"; he's "drawn heavily" on a book by Alfred Edersheim, a nineteenth-century language teacher and missionary who couldn't possibly have known anything worth relying on. I say it's hocus-pocus, and I'll bet you the actual temple looked very little like his model. [NOT CURMUDGEON-IST]
posted by languagehat at 7:30 AM on March 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Unless he includes measurements of all the walls and interior spaces and detailed descriptions of all the decor and furnishings, I don't see how they could be good enough to build a model from.

Actually, he does. I'm sure there's a lot more to be found in Josephus' writings but I found the following after a quick look at William Whiston's translation of The Antiquities of the Jews.
[391] So Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and in height twenty additional cubits, which [twenty], upon the sinking of their foundations 2 fell down; and this part it was that we resolved to raise again in the days of Nero. Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, and each of their length was twenty-five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about twelve; and the whole structure, as also the structure of the royal cloister, was on each side much lower, but the middle was much higher, till they were visible to those that dwelt in the country for a great many furlongs, but chiefly to such as lived over against them, and those that approached to them. The temple had doors also at the entrance, and lintels over them, of the same height with the temple itself. They were adorned with embroidered veils, with their flowers of purple, and pillars interwoven; [...]
He keeps going for quite a bit. Any Jewish resident of the area would have been familiar with the design of the Temple, but Josephus was a priest himself and would have probably seen it more often than most.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:02 PM on March 1, 2009


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