aslan describes the temple

The entire book is worth buying for this chapter alone. Aslan describes the temple in Jerusalem in his book Zealot:

The Temple of Jerusalem is a roughly rectangular structure, some five hundred meters long and three hundred meters wide, balanced atop Mount Moriah, on the eastern edge of the holy city. Its outer walls are rimmed with covered porticos whose slab-topped roofs, held up by row after row of glittering white stone columns, protect the masses from the merciless sun. On the Temple’s southern flank sits the largest and most ornate of the porticoes, the Royal Portico— a tall, two-story, basilica-like assembly hall built in the customary Roman style…

The Temple is constructed as a series of tiered courtyards, each smaller, more elevated, and more restrictive than the last. The outermost courtyard, the Court of Gentiles, where you purchased your sacrifice, is a broad piazza open to everyone, regardless of race or religion. If you are a Jew— one free of any physical affliction (no lepers, no paralytics) and properly purified by a ritual bath— you may follow the priest with your offering through a stone-lattice fence and proceed into the next courtyard, the Court of Women (a plaque on the fence warns all others to proceed no farther than the outer court on pain of death). Here is where the wood and oil for the sacrifices are stored. It is also the farthest into the Temple that any Jewish woman may proceed; Jewish men may continue up a small semicircular flight of stairs through the Nicanor Gate and into the Court of Israelites. This is as close as you will ever be to the presence of God…

Still, it is important to stay where you are and witness your sacrifice take place in the next courtyard, the Court of Priests. Entry into this court is permitted solely to the priests and Temple officials, for this is where the Temple’s altar stands: a four-horned pedestal made of bronze and wood —five cubits long , five cubits wide— belching thick black clouds of smoke into the air…

The entire liturgy is performed in front of the Temple’s innermost court, the Holy of Holies— a gold-plated, columnar sanctuary at the very heart of the Temple complex. The Holy of Holies is the highest point in all Jerusalem. Its doors are draped in purple and scarlet tapestries embroidered with a zodiac wheel and a panorama of the heavens. This is where the glory of God physically dwells. It is the meeting point between the earthly and heavenly realms, the center of all creation… It is a vast, empty space that serves as a conduit for the presence of God, channeling his divine spirit from the heavens, flowing it out in concentric waves across the Temple’s chambers, through the Court of Priests and the Court of Israelites, the Court of Women and the Court of Gentiles, over the Temple’s porticoed walls and down into the city of Jerusalem, across the Judean countryside to Samaria and Idumea, Peraea and Galilee, through the boundless empire of mighty Rome and on to the rest of the world, to all peoples and nations, all of them— Jew and gentile alike— nourished and sustained by the spirit of the Lord of Creation, a spirit that has one sole source and no other: the inner sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, tucked within the Temple, in the sacred city of Jerusalem.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
This entry was posted in History, Jewish History. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to aslan describes the temple

  1. gricketson01 says:

    zodiac wheel?hmmm lol :)

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