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Worship in the Jerusalem Temple after A.D. 70

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2009


One of the best known facts of ancient history is the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in A.D. 70. Yet another, and related, historical datum, although known, has been greatly slighted: the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 135. Between the First Revolt and the Second Revolt there lies a history of the Jewish State of sixty-five years which has come to be treated as something less than an epilogue. This period in the State's continued existence is an important lacuna that requires to be filled in, and to that end we here raise a single question: ‘Did Jews worship on the holy mountain until the final destruction in A.D. 135?’

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1960

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page 269 note 1 Brandon, S. G. F., The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church (1951), xvii and 166.Google Scholar

page 269 note 2 Cf. Appian, Syr. 50; Jos. War, 1, 150–4.

page 269 note 3 Dio, Cassius, Rom. Hist. 69, 14, 3; Fronto, Parth.Google Scholar

page 269 note 4 See Gregorovius, F., The Emperor Hadrian (1898), pp. 151 f.Google Scholar

page 270 note 1 The unlocated fortress of Beththera (Eus. H.E. iv, 6, 3).Google Scholar

page 270 note 2 Gregorovius (ibid. p. 153 n. 1) lists a number of such sources.

page 270 note 3 Rendel Harris, ‘Hadrian's Decree of Expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem’, H.T.R. xix (1926), 198. See also Gregorovius, ibid. p. 151.

page 270 note 4 Prudentius Maranus, Ausg. der Apologeten, LXXV. This view was embraced also by Semisch.

page 270 note 5 Jaabez, (Altona, 1739).

page 270 note 6 Jost, , ed., Israelitische Annalen (1840), no. 26.Google Scholar

page 270 note 7 Hirsch Chajes, (Zolkiew, 1842).

page 270 note 8 Both this view and that of Maranus could be accepted in combination.

page 270 note 9 Albert, Schwegler, Nachapostolisches Zeitalter (Tübingen, 1846), pp. 308–9.Google Scholar

page 271 note 1 Friedmann, and Graetz, , ‘Die angebliche Fortdauer des jüdischen Opfercultus nach der Zerstörung des zweiten Tempels’, Theologische Jahrbücher, vii (Tübingen, 1848), 338–71. Friedmann gives an account of the history of criticism relating to this issue.Google Scholar

page 271 note 2 Fürst, , ed., Literaturblatt des Orients, x (Leipzig, 1849): Friedenthal's argument is found in cols. 328–32, 492–5, 524–8, 573–6, 702–4, whereas Friedmann's is in cols. 401–5, 433–8, 465–9, 934–7.Google Scholar

page 271 note 3 Derenbourg, J., Essai sur l'histoire et la géographic de la Palestine (Paris, 1867), ‘Notes additionelles’, note xiv ‘Le sacrifice après la destruction du temple’ (pp. 480–3).Google Scholar

page 271 note 4 Quite recently, Louis Finkelstein has argued that Titus promised restoration of the Temple but because of Samaritan and Nationalist opposition the promise was never fulfilled. Cf. Akiba (1936), pp. 216–34.

page 271 note 5 II Kings xxv. 8–10.

page 271 note 6 I Macc. i. 20–3, 39, 45 f., 54; ii. 8, 12; iii. 45, 50 f.

page 271 note 7 Jos. War, 1, 148 f.; Appian, Syr. 50.

page 272 note 1 On the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C., see II Kings xxv. 8–10; Jer. xxxix. 8; lii. 13; Jos. War, v, 391, 405, 411. On the later destruction in A.D. 70, see Jos. War, vi, 271–5.

page 272 note 2 The period between temples was seventy years (586–516 B.C.), closely equivalent to the sixty-five year period between the destructions of the First and Second Revolts.

page 272 note 3 See also Haggai i. 2, 14; ii. 3, 7.

page 272 note 4 See also Ezra iii. 8 f.; v. 15.

page 272 note 5 Oesterley, History of Israel (1932), 11, 56.Google Scholar

page 272 note 6 Ibid. p. 82. See also p. 94: ‘During the whole of the exilic period the priests in Palestine had been officiating in the Temple.’ Again (p. 94): ‘…they found the Temple still standing, but in a dilapidated state… sacrifices were being offered…’; and (p. 92): ‘…it is unreasonable to suppose that during the, approximately, half-century which followed, these people would have refrained from using the traditional place of worship in their midst’.

page 272 note 7 E.g. Martin, Noth, History of Israel (1958), p. 305: ‘…religious ceremonies had continued to be maintained’.Google Scholar

page 273 note 1 Oesterley, ibid. p. 56 (this is said with reference to the exilic period).

page 273 note 2 See Jos, . War, vii, 218; Dio Cassius LXVI, 7.Google Scholar

page 273 note 3 Mommsen, T., Provinces of the Roman Empire (1899), ii, 238; cf. Eus. H.E. iii, 17.Google Scholar

page 273 note 4 Gregorovius, F., The Emperor Hadrian (1898), pp. 19, 113.Google Scholar

page 273 note 5 Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, iii, p. 857, Dipl. xiv.

page 274 note 1 Abel, F.-M., Histoire de la Palestine (1952), ii, 48; H. Vincent et Abel, Jérusalem (1926), ii, 877 f. See Epiph. De mens. et pond. 14.Google Scholar

page 274 note 2 Cf. Genesis R lxiv. 7 (p. 710). The text is quoted in English in Finkelstein, Akiba, pp. 313 f.

page 274 note 3 Chrysostom. Oral. adv. Judaeos, v, 10; Georgius Cedrenus, Historiarum Compendium (ed. Bekker), 1, 437; Nicephorus Callistus, Eccl. Hist. iii, 24. Dio 69, 12.

page 274 note 4 Schürer, 1, 2, p. 302.

page 274 note 5 Finkelstein, L., Akiba (1936), pp. 313 f.Google Scholar

page 274 note 6 Jerome, Zach. 8, 18, 19; Chronicon Paschale (ed. Dindorf), 1, 474.

page 275 note 1 Jews sometimes take pride in the abolition of sacrifice in A.D. 70, as evidence of superior religious insight. Abolition in A.D. 135 offers the same opportunity for pride, and yet it is doubtful that the cessation of sacrifice would have occurred so early apart from the political catastrophe. Christians also usually interpret the destruction by Titus as confirmation of the true worship ‘in spirit and in truth’. Such a prejudice presents an obstacle to historical objectivity.

page 275 note 2 The same thing is true of the Acts account of Paul (xxi. 26; xxiv. 17 f.).

page 275 note 3 Note esp. Heb. v. 1–4; vii. 1-x. 22. The same respectful usage of the sacrificial imagery is found in Eph. v. 2; I Pet. ii. 5; Rev. xi. 1 and xiv. 17 f., all in the final decade of the first century.

page 276 note 1 For all the detail of his classic commentary, Lightfoot is evasive at such points.

page 277 note 1 See the same idea in Bar. iv. 6–8: ‘the covenant…is ours’.

page 277 note 2 Cf. also Did. xiv. 1–3.

page 277 note 3 Ignatius, Eph. v. 2; Mag. vii. 2; Trall. vii. 2; Rom. ii. 2; Philad. 4.

page 277 note 4 Herman, Mand. x, iii, 2; Sim. v, iii, 8; Sim. viii, ii, 5.

page 278 note 1 Pesachim 75a. Some would attribute this passage to Gamaliel I.

page 278 note 2 Note the use of Mt Gerizim by the Samaritans to the present day, for many centuries without a Temple.

page 279 note 1 M. Geiger, Urschrift, p. 152.

page 279 note 2 Elkan, N. Adler and M., Séligsohn, Revue des Études juives, vols. XLIV-XLVI (19011903); for our special story see vol. XLV (1902), pp. 80 f.Google Scholar

page 279 note 3 William, Seston, Revue des Études anciennes, xxxv (1933), 205–12; esp. 210. His French text, in translation, is as follows: ‘Between 120 and 130, a Jew presented in the Temple for sacrifice a box containing, he said, two pigeons. There came from the box two rats which some Samaritans had slipped in while he slept; the priest, in anger, wanted to put the Jew to death; but he accused the Samaritans and the leaders of the Jewish community tried them for their capricious deed and sentenced them to a laborious life as slaves in the Temple court. The offence was serious, for the Jewish sacrifice had been turned to derision and the Temple contaminated by the impure animals.’Google Scholar

page 280 note 1 Jos. War, vii, 420–36.