The Second Temple (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי, Beit HaMikdash HaSheni) was the Jewish holy temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. According to Jewish tradition, it replaced Solomon's Temple (the First Temple), which was destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon.
The Second Temple was originally a rather modest structure constructed by a number of Jewish exile groups returning to the Levant from Babylon under the Achaemenid-appointed governor Zerubbabel. However, during the reign of Herod the Great, the Second Temple was completely refurbished, and the original structure was totally overhauled into the large and magnificent edifices and facades that are more recognizable. Much as the Babylonians destroyed the First Temple, the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE as retaliation for an ongoing Jewish revolt. The second temple lasted for a total of 585 years. (516 BC to 70 AD)  
|Location||Herodian Temple Mount, Jerusalem|
Shown within Jerusalem
|Creator||Likely Zerubbabel, largely renovated by Herod the Great.|
|Height (max)||45.72 metres (150.0 ft)|
|Parent listing||Second Temple|
|Founded||c. 537–516 BCE (construction)|
|Excavation dates||1930, 1967, 1968, 1970–1978, 1996–1999, 2007|
|Archaeologists||Charles Warren, Benjamin Mazar, Ronny Reich, Eli Shukron, Yaakov Billig|
|Condition||Ruin, archaeological park|
|Ownership||Disputed, currently managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf|
|Public access||Yes (limited)|
The accession of Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid Empire in 559 BCE made the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple possible. Some rudimentary ritual sacrifice had continued at the site of the first temple following its destruction. According to the closing verses of the second book of Chronicles and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem following a decree from Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1–4, 2 Chron 36:22–23), construction started at the original site of the altar of Solomon's Temple. After a relatively brief halt due to opposition from peoples who had filled the vacuum during the Jewish captivity (Ezra 4), work resumed c. 521 BCE under Darius I (Ezra 5) and was completed during the sixth year of his reign (c. 516 BCE), with the temple dedication taking place the following year.
The original core of the book of Nehemiah, the first-person memoir, may have been combined with the core of the Book of Ezra around 400 BCE. Further editing probably continued into the Hellenistic era.
The book tells how Nehemiah, at the court of the king in Susa, is informed that Jerusalem is without walls and resolves to restore them. The king appoints him as governor of the province Yehud Medinata and he travels to Jerusalem. There he rebuilds the walls, despite the opposition of Israel's enemies, and reforms the community in conformity with the law of Moses. After 12 years in Jerusalem, he returns to Susa but subsequently revisits Jerusalem. He finds that the Israelites have been backsliding and taking non-Jewish wives, and he stays in Jerusalem to enforce the Law.
Based on the biblical account, after the return from Babylonian captivity, arrangements were immediately made to reorganize the desolated Yehud Province after the demise of the Kingdom of Judah seventy years earlier. The body of pilgrims, forming a band of 42,360, having completed the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their proceedings by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of their first concerns was to restore their ancient house of worship by rebuilding their destroyed Temple and reinstituting the sacrificial rituals known as the korbanot.
On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by contributing personally 1,000 golden darics, besides other gifts, the people poured their gifts into the sacred treasury with great enthusiasm. First they erected and dedicated the altar of God on the exact spot where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old temple; and in the second month of the second year (535 BCE), amid great public excitement and rejoicing, the foundations of the Second Temple were laid. A wide interest was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with mixed feelings by the spectators (Haggai 2:3, Zechariah 4:10).
The Samaritans wanted to help with this work but Zerubbabel and the elders declined such cooperation, feeling that the Jews must build the Temple unaided. Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. According to Ezra 4:5, the Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" and sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the work was suspended.
Seven years later, Cyrus the Great, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild the Temple, died (2 Chronicles 36:22–23) and was succeeded by his son Cambyses. On his death, the "false Smerdis", an impostor, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months, and then Darius became king (522 BCE). In the second year of his rule the work of rebuilding the temple was resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5:6–6:15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready for consecration in the spring of 516 BCE, more than twenty years after the return from captivity. The Temple was completed on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, amid great rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:15,16), although it was evident that the Jews were no longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign power. The Book of Haggai includes a prediction that the glory of the second temple would be greater than that of the first (Haggai 2:9).
Some of the original artifacts from the Temple of Solomon are not mentioned in the sources after its destruction in 597 BCE, and are presumed lost. The Second Temple lacked the following holy articles:
The Second Temple also included many of the original vessels of gold that had been taken by the Babylonians but restored by Cyrus the Great. According to the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 21b), however, the Temple lacked the Shekinah, the dwelling or settling divine presence of God, and the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Holiness, present in the first.
Traditional rabbinic literature state that the Second Temple stood for 420 years and based on the 2nd-century work Seder Olam Rabbah, placed construction in 350 BCE (3408 AM), 166 years later than secular estimates, and destruction in 70 CE (3829 AM).
The fifth order, or division, of the Mishnah, known as Kodashim, provides detailed descriptions and discussions of the religious laws connected with Temple service including the sacrifices, the Temple and its furnishings, as well as the priests who carried out the duties and ceremonies of its service. Tractates of the order deal with the sacrifices of animals, birds, and meal offerings, the laws of bringing a sacrifice, such as the sin offering and the guilt offering, and the laws of misappropriation of sacred property. In addition, the order contains a description of the Second Temple (tractate Middot), and a description and rules about the daily sacrifice service in the Temple (tractate Tamid).
Following the conquest of Judea by Alexander the Great, it became part of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt until 200 BCE, when King Antiochus III the Great of Syria defeated King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt at the Battle of Paneion. Judea became at that moment part of the Seleucid empire of Syria. When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and its religious services stopped, Judaism was effectively outlawed. In 167 BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple. He also banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the Temple.
Following the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid empire, the Second Temple was rededicated and became the religious pillar of the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom, as well as culturally associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
There is some evidence from archaeology that further changes to the structure of the Temple and its surroundings were made during the Hasmonean rule. Salome Alexandra, the queen of Hasmonean Kingdom appointed her elder son Hyrcanus II as the high priest of Judaea. Her younger son Aristobulus II was determined to have the throne, and as soon as she died he seized the throne. Hyrcanus, who was in line to be the king, agreed to be contented with being the high priest. Antipater, the governor of Idumæa, encouraged Hyrcanus not to give up his throne. Eventually Hyrcanus fled to Aretas III, king of the Nabateans, and returned with an army to take back the throne. He defeated Aristobulus and besieged Jerusalem. The Roman general Pompey, who was in Syria fighting against the Armenians in the Third Mithridatic War, sent his lieutenant to investigate the conflict in Judaea. Both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus appealed to him for support. Pompey was not diligent in making a decision about this which caused Aristobulus to march off. He was pursued by Pompey and surrendered but his followers closed Jerusalem to Pompey's forces. The Romans besieged and took the city in 63 BCE. The priests continued with the religious practices inside the Temple during the siege. The temple was not looted or harmed by the Romans. Pompey himself, perhaps inadvertently, went into the Holy of Holies and the next day ordered the priests to repurify the Temple and resume the religious practices.
Reconstruction of the temple under Herod began with a massive expansion of the Temple Mount. Religious worship and temple rituals continued during the construction process. When the Roman emperor Caligula planned to place his own statue inside the temple, Herod's grandson Agrippa I was able to intervene and convince him against this.
Herod's Temple was one of the larger construction projects of the 1st century BCE. Josephus records that Herod was interested in perpetuating his name through building projects, that his construction programs were extensive and paid for by heavy taxes, but that his masterpiece was the Temple of Jerusalem.
The old temple built by Zerubbabel was replaced by a magnificent edifice. An agreement was made between Herod and the Jewish religious authorities: the sacrificial rituals, called offerings, were to be continued unabated for the entire time of construction, and the Temple itself would be constructed by the priests. Later the Exodus 30:13 sanctuary shekel was reinstituted to support the temple as the temple tax.
Mt. Moriah had a plateau at the northern end, and steeply declined on the southern slope. It was Herod's plan that the entire mountain be turned into a giant square platform. The Temple Mount was originally intended to be 1600 feet wide by 900 feet broad by 9 stories high, with walls up to 16 feet thick, but had never been finished. To complete it, a trench was dug around the mountain, and huge stone "bricks" were laid. Some of these weighed well over 100 tons, the largest measuring 44.6 feet by 11 feet by 16.5 feet and weighing approximately 567 to 628 tons, while most were in the range of 2.5 by 3.5 by 15 feet (approximately 28 tons). King Herod had architects from Greece, Rome and Egypt plan the construction. The blocks were presumably quarried by using pickaxes to create channels. Then they hammered in wooden beams and flushed them with water to force them out. Once they were removed, they were carved into precise squares and numbered at the quarry to show where they would be installed. The final carving would have been done by using harder stones to grind or chisel them to create precise joints. They would have been transported using oxen and specialized carts. Since the quarry was uphill from the temple they had gravity on their side but care needed to be taken to control the descent. Final installation would have been done using pulleys or cranes. Roman pulleys and cranes weren't strong enough to lift the blocks alone so they may have used multiple cranes and levers to position them. As the mountainside began to rise, the western side was carved away to a vertical wall and bricks were carved to create a virtual continuation of the brick face, which was continued for a while until the northern slope reached ground level. Part of the Antonian hill to the north of Moriah was annexed to the complex and the area between was filled up with landfill.
The project began with the building of giant underground vaults upon which the temple would be built so it could be larger than the small flat area on top of Mount Moriah. Ground level at the time was at least 20 ft. (6m) below the current level, as can be seen by walking the Western Wall tunnels. Legend has it that the construction of the entire complex lasted only three years, but other sources such as Josephus say that it took far longer, although the Temple itself may have taken that long. During a Passover visit by Jesus the Jews replied that it had been under construction for 46 years. It is possible that the complex was only a few years completed when the future Emperor Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 CE.
This area was primarily a bazaar, with vendors selling souvenirs, sacrificial animals, food, as well as currency changers, exchanging Roman for Tyrian money because the Jews were not allowed to coin their own money and they viewed Roman currency as an abomination to the Lord, as also mentioned in the New Testament account of Jesus and the Money Changers when Jerusalem was packed with Jews who had come for Passover, perhaps numbering 300,000 to 400,000 pilgrims. Guides that provided tours of the premises were also available. Jewish males had the unique opportunity to be shown inside the temple itself.
The priests, in their white linen robes and tubular hats, were everywhere, directing pilgrims and advising them on what kinds of sacrifices were to be performed.
Behind them, as they entered the Court of the Gentiles from the south through the Huldah Gates, was the Royal Porch, which contained a marketplace, administrative quarters, and a synagogue. On the upper floors, the great Jewish sages held court, priests and Levites performed various chores, and from there, tourists were able to observe the events. The Royal Porch is widely accepted to be part of Herod's work; however, recent archaeological finds in the Western Wall tunnels suggest that it was built in the first century during the reign of Agripas, as opposed to the first century BCE, while the theory that Herod began the extension and the Royal Porch is based mainly on Josephus's possibly politically motivated claim. During Herod's reign the porch was not yet open to the public.
To the east of the court was Solomon's Porch, and to the north, the soreg, the "middle wall of separation", a stone wall separating the public area from the inner sanctuary where only Jews could enter, described as being 3 cubits high by Josephus (Wars 5.5.2 [3b] 6.2.4).
The Greek word used here is pterugion, which literally means a little wing, or by extension anything like a wing such as a battlement or parapet. The archaeologist Benjamin Mazar thought it referred to the southeast corner of the Temple overlooking the Kidron Valley.
According to Josephus, there were ten entrances into the inner courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate. The gates were: On the south side (going from west to east) the Fuel Gate, the Firstling Gate, the Water Gate. On the north side, from west to east, are the Jeconiah Gate, the Offering Gate, the Women's Gate and the Song Gate. On the Eastern side, the Nicanor gate, which is where most Jewish visitors entered. A few pieces of the Soreg have survived to the present day.
Within this area was the Court of the Women, open to all Jews, male and female. Even a ritually unclean Cohen could enter to perform various housekeeping duties. There was also a place for lepers (considered ritually unclean), as well as a ritual barbershop for Nazirites. In this, the largest of the temple courts, one could see constant dancing, singing and music.
Only men were allowed to enter the Court of the Israelites, where they could observe sacrifices of the high priest in the Court of the Priests. The Court of the Priests was reserved for Levite priests.
Jews from distant parts of the Roman Empire would arrive by boat at the port of Jaffa (now part of Tel Aviv), where they would join a caravan for the three-day trek to the Holy City and would then find lodgings in one of the many hotels or hostelries. Then they changed some of their money from the profane standard Greek and Roman currency for Jewish and Tyrian money, the latter two considered religious. The pilgrims would purchase sacrificial animals, usually a pigeon or a lamb, in preparation for the following day's events.
The first thing pilgrims would do would be to approach the public entrance on the south side of the Temple Mount complex. They would check their animals, then visit a mikveh, where they would ritually cleanse and purify themselves. The pilgrims would then retrieve their sacrificial animals, and head to the Huldah gates. After ascending a staircase three stories in height, and passing through the gate, the pilgrims would find themselves in the Court of the Gentiles.
In 66 CE the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years later, on 4 August 70 CE (Tisha B'Av - 9th Day of Av) or 30 August 70 CE, Roman legions under Titus retook and destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The Arch of Titus, in Rome and built to commemorate Titus's victory in Judea, depicts a Roman victory procession with soldiers carrying spoils from the Temple, including the Menorah. According to an inscription on the Colosseum, Emperor Vespasian built the Colosseum with war spoils in 79 CE—possibly from the spoils of the Second Temple.
The destruction date according to the Hebrew calendar was the 9th of Av, also known as Tisha B'Av. The Temple was on the site of what today is the Dome of the Rock. The gates let out close to Al-Aqsa Mosque (which came much later). Although Jews continued to inhabit the destroyed city, Emperor Hadrian established a new city called Aelia Capitolina. At the end of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, many of the Jewish communities were massacred and Jews were banned from living inside Jerusalem. A pagan Roman temple was set up on the former site of Herod's Temple.
In 1871, a hewn stone measuring 60 × 90 cm. and engraved with Greek uncials was discovered near a court on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and identified by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau as being the Temple Warning inscription. The stone inscription outlined the prohibition extended unto those who were not of the Jewish nation to proceed beyond the soreg separating the larger Court of the Gentiles and the inner courts. The inscription read in seven lines:
Translation: "Let no foreigner enter within the parapet and the partition which surrounds the Temple precincts. Anyone caught [violating] will be held accountable for his ensuing death." Today, the stone is preserved in Istanbul's Museum of Antiquities.
In 1936 a fragment of a similar Temple warning inscription was found.
After 1967, archaeologists found that the wall extended all the way around the Temple Mount and is part of the city wall near the Lions' Gate. Thus, the Western Wall is not the only remaining part of the Temple Mount. Currently, Robinson's Arch (named after American Edward Robinson) remains as the beginning of an arch that spanned the gap between the top of the platform and the higher ground farther away. This had been used by the priests as an entrance. Commoners had entered through the still-extant, but now plugged, gates on the southern side which led through colonnades to the top of the platform. One of these colonnades is still extant and reachable through the Temple Mount. The Southern wall was designed as a grand entrance. Recent archeological digs have found thousands of mikvehs (ceremonial bathtubs) for the ritual purification of the worshipers, and a grand stairway leading to the now blocked entrance. Inside the walls, the platform was supported by a series of vaulted archways, now called Solomon's Stables, which still exist and whose current renovation by the Waqf is extremely controversial. The temple was constructed of imported white marble that gleamed in the daylight.
On September 25, 2007, Yuval Baruch, archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of a quarry compound which may have provided King Herod with the stones to build his Temple on the Temple Mount. Coins, pottery and an iron stake found proved the date of the quarrying to be about 19 BCE. Archaeologist Ehud Netzer confirmed that the large outlines of the stone cuts is evidence that it was a massive public project worked by hundreds of slaves.
The period between the construction of the Second Temple in 515 BCE and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE witnessed major historical upheavals and significant religious changes that would affect most subsequent Abrahamic religions. The origins of the authority of scripture, of the centrality of law and morality in religion, of the synagogue and of apocalyptic expectations for the future all developed in the Judaism of this period.
The Hebrew term Abaddon (Hebrew: אֲבַדּוֹן Abaddon), and its Greek equivalent Apollyon (Greek: Ἀπολλύων, Apollýōn) appear in the Bible as both a place of destruction and an angel of the abyss. In the Hebrew Bible, abaddon is used with reference to a bottomless pit, often appearing alongside the place שְׁאוֹל (Sheol), meaning the realm of the dead.
In the New Testament Book of Revelation, an angel called Abaddon is described as the king of an army of locusts; his name is first transcribed in Greek (Revelation 9:11—"whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, The Angel of Death.") as Ἀβαδδὼν, and then translated ("which in Greek means the Destroyer", Ἀπολλύων, Apollyon). The Latin Vulgate and the Douay Rheims Bible have additional notes (not present in the Greek text), "in Latin Exterminans", exterminans being the Latin word for "destroyer".Babylonian captivity
The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia. After the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar's fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others; Jeconiah's successor Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted to return to Judah. According to the biblical book of Ezra, construction of the second temple in Jerusalem began around 537 BCE. All these events are considered significant in Jewish history and culture, and had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism.
Archaeological studies have revealed that not all of the population of Judah was deported, and that, although Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited during the period of the exile. The return of the exiles was a gradual process rather than a single event, and many of the deportees or their descendants did not return, becoming the ancestors of the Iraqi Jews.Book of Ezekiel
The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Tanakh and one of the major prophetic books in the Old Testament, following Isaiah and Jeremiah. According to the book itself, it records six visions of the prophet Ezekiel, exiled in Babylon, during the 22 years 593–571 BC, although it is the product of a long and complex history and does not necessarily preserve the very words of the prophet.The visions, and the book, are structured around three themes: (1) Judgment on Israel (chapters 1–24); (2) Judgment on the nations (chapters 25–32); and (3) Future blessings for Israel (chapters 33–48). Its themes include the concepts of the presence of God, purity, Israel as a divine community, and individual responsibility to God. Its later influence has included the development of mystical and apocalyptic traditions in Second Temple and rabbinic Judaism and Christianity.Chazal
Chazal or Ḥazal (Hebrew: חז״ל), an acronym for the Hebrew "Ḥakhameinu Zikhronam Liv'rakha" (חכמינו זכרונם לברכה, "Our Sages, may their memory be blessed"), refers to all Jewish sages of the Mishna, Tosefta and Talmud eras, spanning from the times of the final 300 years of the Second Temple of Jerusalem until the 6th century CE, or c. 250 BCE – c. 625 CE.Cleansing of the Temple
The cleansing of the Temple narrative tells of Jesus expelling the merchants and the money changers from the Temple, and occurs in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament. The scene is a common motif in Christian art.
In this account, Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem for Passover, where Jesus expels the merchants and money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into "a den of thieves" through their commercial activities.The narrative occurs near the end of the Synoptic Gospels (at Matthew 21:12–17, Mark 11:15–19, and Luke 19:45–48) and near the start in the Gospel of John (at John 2:13–16). Some scholars believe that these refer to two separate incidents, given that the Gospel of John also includes more than one Passover.Hellenistic Judaism
Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism in classical antiquity that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture. Until the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the early Muslim conquests of the eastern Mediterranean, the main centers of Hellenistic Judaism were Alexandria, Egypt and Antioch (now in southern Turkey), the two main Greek urban settlements of the Middle East and North Africa area, both founded at the end of the fourth century BCE in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenistic Judaism also existed in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period, where there was conflict between Hellenizers and traditionalists (sometimes called Judaizers).
The major literary product of the contact of Second Temple Judaism and Hellenistic culture is the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible from Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic to Koine Greek, specifically, Jewish Koiné Greek. Mentionable are also the philosophic and ethical treatises of Philo and the historiographical works of the other Hellenistic Jewish authors.The decline of Hellenistic Judaism started in the second century and its causes are still not fully understood. It may be that it was eventually marginalized by, partially absorbed into or became progressively the Koine-speaking core of Early Christianity centered on Antioch and its traditions, such as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.History of ancient Israel and Judah
The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah were related kingdoms from the Iron Age period of the ancient Levant. The Kingdom of Israel emerged as an important local power by the 10th century BCE before falling to the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 722 BCE. Israel's southern neighbor, the Kingdom of Judah, emerged in the 8th or 9th century BCE and later became a client state of first the Neo-Assyrian Empire and then the Neo-Babylonian Empire before a revolt against the latter led to its destruction in 586 BCE. Following the fall of Babylon to the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, some Judean exiles returned to Jerusalem, inaugurating the formative period in the development of a distinctive Judahite identity in the province of Yehud Medinata.
During the Hellenistic classic period, Yehud was absorbed into the subsequent Hellenistic kingdoms that followed the conquests of Alexander the Great, but in the 2nd century BCE the Judaeans revolted against the Seleucid Empire and created the Hasmonean kingdom. This, the last nominally independent kingdom of Israel, gradually lost its independence from 63 BCE with its conquest by Pompey of Rome, becoming a Roman and later Parthian client kingdom. Following the installation of client kingdoms under the Herodian dynasty, the Province of Judea was wracked by civil disturbances, which culminated in the First Jewish–Roman War, the destruction of the Second Temple, the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity.Menorah (Temple)
The menorah (; Hebrew: מְנוֹרָה [mənoːˈɾaː]) is described in the Bible as the seven-lamp (six branches) ancient Hebrew lampstand made of pure gold and used in the portable sanctuary set up by Moses in the wilderness and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. Fresh olive oil of the purest quality was burned daily to light its lamps. The menorah has been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times and is the emblem on the coat of arms of the modern state of Israel.Origins of Judaism
This article discusses the historical roots of Judaism throughout the 1st millennium BCE. For the origins of the modern-day religion of Judaism, see Origins of Rabbinic Judaism.The origins of Judaism lie in the Bronze Age amidst polytheistic ancient Semitic religions, specifically Canaanite religion, co-existing with a syncretization with elements of Babylonian religion and of the worship of Yahweh reflected in the early prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible. During the Iron Age I, the Israelite religion became distinct from other Canaanite religions due to the unique monolatristic (proto-monotheistic) worship of Yahweh.
During the Babylonian captivity of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE (Iron Age II), certain circles within the exiled Judahites in Babylon refined pre-existing ideas about monotheism, election, divine law and Covenant into a strict monotheistic theology which came to dominate the former Kingdom of Judah in the following centuries.From the 5th century BCE until 70 CE, Israelite religion developed into the various theological schools of Second Temple Judaism, besides Hellenistic Judaism in the diaspora. Second Temple eschatology was significantly influenced by Zoroastrianism. The text of the Hebrew Bible was redacted into its extant form in this period and possibly also canonized as well.
Rabbinic Judaism developed during Late Antiquity, during the 3rd to 6th centuries CE; the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud were compiled in this period. The oldest manuscripts of the Masoretic tradition come from the 10th and 11th centuries CE; in the form of the Aleppo Codex of the later portions of the 10th century CE and the Leningrad Codex dated to 1008–1009 CE. Due largely to censoring and the burning of manuscripts in medieval Europe the oldest existing manuscripts of various rabbinical works are quite late. The oldest surviving complete manuscript copy of the Babylonian Talmud is dated to 1342 CE.Pharisees
The Pharisees () were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism.
Conflicts between Pharisees and Sadducees took place in the context of much broader and longstanding social and religious conflicts among Jews, made worse by the Roman conquest. Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization (the Sadducees) and those who resisted it (the Pharisees). A third was juridico-religious, between those who emphasized the importance of the Second Temple with its rites and services, and those who emphasized the importance of other Mosaic Laws. A fourth point of conflict, specifically religious, involved different interpretations of the Torah and how to apply it to current Jewish life, with Sadducees recognizing only the Written Torah (with Greek philosophy) and rejecting doctrines such as the Oral Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and the resurrection of the dead.
Josephus (37 – c. 100 CE), believed by many historians to be a Pharisee, estimated the total Pharisee population before the fall of the Second Temple to be around 6,000. Josephus claimed that Pharisees received the full support and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees, who were the upper class. Pharisees claimed Mosaic authority for their interpretation of Jewish Laws, while Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as High Priest. The phrase "common people" in Josephus' writings suggests that most Jews were "just Jewish people", distinguishing them from the main liturgical groups.
Outside Jewish history and literature, Pharisees have been made notable by references in the New Testament to conflicts with John the Baptist and with Jesus. There are also several references in the New Testament to the Apostle Paul being a Pharisee. The relationship between Early Christianity and Pharisees was not always hostile however: e.g. Gamaliel is often cited as a Pharisaic leader who was sympathetic to Christians.Sadducees
The Sadducees (; Hebrew: צְדוּקִים Ṣĕdûqîm) were a sect or group of Jews that was active in Judea during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. As a whole, the sect fulfilled various political, social, and religious roles, including maintaining the Temple. The Sadducees are often compared to other contemporaneous sects, including the Pharisees and the Essenes. Their sect is believed to have become extinct some time after the destruction of Herod's Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, but it has been speculated that the later Karaites may have had some roots in—or connections with—Sadducaic views.Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin (Hebrew and Jewish Palestinian Aramaic: סנהדרין; Greek: Συνέδριον, synedrion, "sitting together," hence "assembly" or "council") were assemblies of either twenty-three or seventy-one rabbis appointed to sit as a tribunal in every city in the ancient Land of Israel.
There were two classes of rabbinical courts called Sanhedrin, the Great Sanhedrin and the Lesser Sanhedrin. A lesser Sanhedrin of 23 judges was appointed to each city, but there was to be only one Great Sanhedrin of 71 judges, which among other roles acted as the Supreme Court, taking appeals from cases decided by lesser courts. In general usage, "The Sanhedrin" without qualifier normally refers to the Great Sanhedrin, which was composed of the Nasi, who functioned as head or representing president, and was a member of the court; the Av Beit Din or chief of the court, who was second to the nasi; and sixty-nine general members (Mufla).
In the Second Temple period, the Great Sanhedrin met in the Temple in Jerusalem, in a building called the Hall of Hewn Stones. The Great Sanhedrin convened every day except festivals and the sabbath day (Shabbat).
After the destruction of the Second Temple and the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Great Sanhedrin moved to Galilee, which became part of the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. In this period the Sanhedrin was sometimes referred as the Galilean Patriarchate or Patriarchate of Palaestina, being the governing legal body of Galilean Jewry. In the late 200s, to avoid persecution, the name "Sanhedrin" was dropped and its decisions were issued under the name of Beit HaMidrash (house of learning). The last universally binding decision of the Great Sanhedrin appeared in 358 CE, when the Hebrew Calendar was abandoned. The Great Sanhedrin was finally disbanded in 425 CE after continued persecution by the Eastern Roman Empire.
Over the centuries, there have been attempts to revive the institution, such as the Grand Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon Bonaparte, and modern attempts in Israel.Second Temple Judaism
Second Temple Judaism is Judaism between the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, c. 515 BCE, and its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE. The development of the Hebrew Bible canon, the synagogue, Jewish apocalyptic expectations for the future, and the rise of Christianity, can all be traced to the Second Temple period.Second Temple period
The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple of Jerusalem existed. The sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Zealots were formed during this period. The Second Temple period ended with the First Jewish–Roman War and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
After the death of the last Nevi'im (Jewish prophets) of antiquity and still under Persian rule, the leadership of the Jewish people was in the hands of five successive generations of zugot ("pairs of") leaders. They flourished first under the Persians (c. 539 – c. 332 BCE), then under the Greeks (c. 332–167 BCE), then under an independent Hasmonean Kingdom (140–37 BCE), and then under the Romans (63 BCE – 132 CE).
During this period, Second Temple Judaism can be seen as shaped by three major crises and their results, as various groups of Jews reacted to them differently. First came the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah in 587/6 BCE, when the Judeans lost their independence, monarchy, holy city and First Temple and were partly exiled to Babylon. They consequently faced a theological crisis involving the nature, power, and goodness of God and were also threatened culturally, racially, and ceremonially as they were thrown into proximity with other peoples and religious groups. The absence of recognized prophets later in the period left them without their version of divine guidance at a time when they felt most in need of support and direction. The second crisis was the growing influence of Hellenism in Judaism, which culminated in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BCE. The third crisis was the Roman occupation of the region, beginning with Pompey and his sack of Jerusalem in 63 BCE. This included the appointment of Herod the Great as King of the Jews by the Roman Senate, and the establishment of the Herodian Kingdom of Judea comprising parts of what today are Israel, Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE was the decisive event of the First Jewish–Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been controlled by Judean rebel factions since 66 CE, following the Jerusalem riots of 66, when the Judean provisional government was formed in Jerusalem.
The siege ended on 30 August 70 CE with the burning and destruction of the Second Temple, and the Romans entered and sacked the Lower City. The destruction of both the first and second temples is still mourned annually as the Jewish fast Tisha B'Av. The Arch of Titus, celebrating the Roman sack of Jerusalem and the Temple, still stands in Rome. The conquest of the city was complete on 8 September 70 CE.Synagogue
A synagogue (pronounced ; from Greek συναγωγή, synagogē, 'assembly', Hebrew: בית כנסת bet kenesset, 'house of assembly' or בית תפילה bet tefila, "house of prayer", Yiddish: שול shul, Ladino: אסנוגה esnoga or קהל kahal), is a Jewish or Samaritan house of worship.
Synagogues have a large place for prayer (the main sanctuary) and may also have smaller rooms for study and sometimes a social hall and offices. Some have a separate room for Torah study, called the בית מדרש beth midrash "house of study".
Synagogues are consecrated spaces used for the purpose of prayer, Tanakh (the entire Hebrew Bible, including the Torah) reading, study and assembly; however, a synagogue is not necessary for worship. Halakha holds that communal Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. Worship can also be carried out alone or with fewer than ten people assembled together. However, halakha considers certain prayers as communal prayers and therefore they may be recited only by a minyan. In terms of its specific ritual and liturgical functions, the synagogue does not replace the long-since destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship. It is also called the Holy Temple (Hebrew: בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ, Modern: Bēt HaMīqdaš, Tiberian: Bēṯ HaMīqdāš, Ashkenazi: Bēs HaMīqdoš; Arabic: بيت المقدس Beit Al-Maqdis; Ge'ez: ቤተ መቅደስ: Betä Mäqdäs).Yahweh
Yahweh was the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His exact origins are disputed, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze: his name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but the earliest plausible mentions of Yahweh are in Egyptian texts that refer to a similar-sounding place name associated with the Shasu nomads of the southern Transjordan.In the oldest biblical literature, Yahweh is a typical ancient Near Eastern "divine warrior", who leads the heavenly army against Israel's enemies; he later became the main god of the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and of Judah, and over time the royal court and temple promoted Yahweh as the god of the entire cosmos, possessing all the positive qualities previously attributed to the other gods and goddesses. By the end of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), the very existence of foreign gods was denied, and Yahweh was proclaimed as the creator of the cosmos and the true god of all the world.Yehud (Province)
Yehud Province (Aramaic Yehud Medinata for "the province of Judah"), or simply Yehud, was an autonomous province of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, roughly equivalent to the older kingdom of Judah but covering a smaller area, within the satrapy of Eber-Nari. The area of Yehud Medinata corresponded to the previous Babylonian province of Yehud, which was formed after the fall of the kingdom of Judah to the Neo-Babylonian Empire (c.597 after its conquest of the Mediterranean east coast, and again in 585/6 BCE after suppressing an unsuccessful Judean revolt). Yehud Medinata continued to exist for two centuries, until being incorporated into the Hellenistic empires following the conquests of Alexander the Great.
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