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In Search of King Solomon's Temple

Author: George Wesley Buchanan
July-August 2014
Volume 47 , Issue 3
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Tradition has it that Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque were built upon the ruins of King Solomon’s Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.

But what if the ruins aren’t there?

That, in fact, is the conclusion drawn by Dr. George Buchanan, Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

We planned on publishing his findings as a Link issue several years ago, but decided against it for three reasons: First, his manuscript seemed better suited for an archaeological magazine.  Secondly, knowledgeable people, whose opinions we valued, advised against it.  And, thirdly, we didn’t want to give religious extremists another excuse for demolishing yet more Palestinian homes.

Those reasons seem less compelling today.  It’s still true that some of the terms might be more at home in a professional journal, although the reality is that few, if any, such journals would touch the subject.  It’s  just too politically charged.  The Link, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about getting work permits or study grants.

More concerning for us are those readers who cautioned against publishing it. Over the years, however, others who have read the manuscript have thought that it merited publication and peer review. 

The third reason for not publishing it is the one we debated the most.  Dr. Buchanan posits that the original site of King Solomon’s Temple is just south of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aska Mosque in an area where today Palestinian homes are being bulldozed to make way for a park over what is now considered by many archaeologists the old City of David.  Dr. Buchanan has long been a vocal critic of Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land.  His hope now is that his findings might mitigate the zealotry of those extremists for whom all settlements lead inexorably to the tearing down of the Dome and the Mosque in order to rebuild their Temple. His message to them is unambiguous: don’t defile these magnificent edifices; he Temple was never there.

Dr. Buchanan has presented his findings at five regional meetings of the Society of New Testament Studies, at a meeting of the Near Eastern Archaeological Society in San Diego, and at two international gatherings.

In 2011, we  published  Dr. Buchanan’s findings in booklet form which was distributed to faculty members in 55 theological seminaries.  We also placed an ad for the booklet in a major archaeological journal and, to our surprise, received over 150 orders.

Dr. Buchanan invites our readers to contact him if they have any comments or questions.  He can be reached at

On page 15, we list books and videos related to our feature article.  A complete listing of all our resources, including books, videos, past Links going back to 1968, and our Public Affairs Series publications is found on our website:

--John F. Mahoney, Executive Director

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