In looking of these two models of the temple mount, Alec Garrad model and Israel Museum model, they differ on one major point. In the Garrad model there is another wall on the temple mount that I suppose surrounds the court of the gentiles.

I want to know more about the difference. Could we be sure if the wall was there or not? Or is it simply that, that the models that lacks that wall is a "snapshot" before the wall was built? If so, do we know when the wall was built?

And am I correct in my assumption that, if that wall existed, it surrounded the "court of the gentiles"?

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    Looking at it, (if I'm looking at the right thing) that does not appear to be an outer wall in Alec's model, but rather a columned walkway. At any rate this might be better asked in Judaism.se – ashansky Jun 12 '12 at 13:29
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    And yes you are correct that area is the court of the gentiles. – ashansky Jun 12 '12 at 13:35
  • Oh thanks. And thanks for the transfer somebody! – Niclas Nilsson Jun 12 '12 at 19:43

I think that the inner colonnaded wall in the Garrard model is actually meant to demarcate the original area of the Temple Mount, which per the Mishnah, Middos 2:1 (English translation here) was a square, 500 cubits (about 800-1000 feet) to a side. [The outer wall, with its colonnade, would be the enlarged area after Herod's renovation of the Temple, substantial parts of whose walls still exist (the present-day Western Wall plaza fronts a small section of one of them), and which is a trapezoid, roughly 1500x1000 feet.] The original 500x500-cubit area had a higher level of sanctity, so it makes sense that it would have been surrounded by some kind of wall to mark it off.

In that picture, though, there is what looks like a low wall between that colonnade and the walls of the Temple courtyards proper. That is probably a depiction of the soreg (ibid. 2:3), which is indeed described as a low wall (10 handbreadths, about 3 feet, tall) made of crosshatched lathes, and which indeed was the point beyond which non-Jews were not allowed to enter.

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  • Very interesting. So, that this border is in fact a colonnade is just a theory (though a good one) that has no textual or archaeological evidence? – Niclas Nilsson Jun 12 '12 at 19:55
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    @NiclasNilsson: that the Temple Mount was surrounded by a colonnade is explicitly stated in a number of places in the Talmud (Pesachim 13b, et al). I guess the question would be whether this refers to the original area or Herod's expansion; looks like the two models take opposite views on that. (That said, the fact that it took the Romans three weeks from the conquest of the Antonia fortress - off to the right of the Temple in both models - until they were able to break into the Temple courtyard proper, suggests that there must have been something more substantial than the soreg in the way.) – Alex Jun 12 '12 at 20:13
  • Ok. That last comment fully answers my question! Thanks alot! – Niclas Nilsson Jun 13 '12 at 7:40

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