August 11, 2008

A Tiny Bit of 2nd Century Paving

...was found in Sepphoris, near Nazareth. But not in a Temple.

I saw this news out of Hebrew University today, via Rogue Classicism, natch. The entire article about this 2nd century temple in Sepphoris shows an awareness of the actual ground beneath the temple, and some details. The temple (build after 100 AD) was plundered. Only the footings under the walls remain. Note the word "foundation" refers to footings. The ancients did not pour a slab and the 'floor' was dirt. If there had been any other 'flooring' the report would have mentioned it. Also note the word "courtyard". There was no paving in the sacred court around the building either. The last several lines of the article refers to a different building nearby with a central courtyard which was paved. There was no paving in the temple.

Regular readers will know why I mention all this.

Josephus says the courtyard of the Temple of Jerusalem was paved, when completed. Scholarship should be devoted first of all to the extreme uniqueness of this case, especially in the first century, and second of all to the question of when precisely this pavement was put in. It remains my contention that Agrippa II commissioned the pavement as a renovation project in the late 50's/early 60's AD. This theory explains the often made (but vaguely absurd) statement that the temple took over 80 years to complete. But I - a poor, simple "layman", really wish some well trained professional scholar would do a proper study on these things.

Until then, I continue to rant. ;)

And remember, there are reasons why this matters.

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