News And Notes -- By: Anonymous
BSP 2:2 (Spring 1989) p. 60
News And Notes
Wall And Gate From The Time Of Jesus Found In Jerusalem
Excavations on Mount Zion south of the southwest comer of the old city wall, have revealed the remains of an ancient wall and gate. The dig is located at the edge of the Protestant Cemetery, approximately 330 meters south of the Zion Gate. It is under the direction of Fr. Bargil Pixner, a theologian from nearby Dormition Abbey, and Dr. Doron Chen of the Hebrew University. In progress since 1977, the excavation contributes to our understanding of ancient Jerusalem in two important areas.
The name Zion was applied to the southwest hill of Jerusalem by Christians as early as the fourth century, probably because the house where the apostles gathered on the day of Pentecost traditionally has been located in this area. The Mount Zion of the Old Testament, however, was originally the city of David on the Ophel Hill. Later, when the Temple was built, the name became associated with the Temple Mount.
The Size of Jerusalem During the Divided Kingdom
There has been an ongoing debate among scholars concerning the size of Jerusalem during the period of the Divided Kingdom. Those of the “minimalist” point of view say that the city was confined to the eastern ridge; that is, the city of David and the Temple Mount. The “maximalists,” on the other hand, maintain that Jerusalem at this time included the Tyrropean Valley west of the eastern ridge and the hill beyond.
The Old Testament itself suggests that Jerusalem in the Divided Kingdom included the western hill. When Hezekiah built his famous tunnel to bring water inside the city (see Archaeology and Biblical Research, Autumn 1988, pp. 4-6), he directed the water “to the west side of the city of David” (2 Chronicles 32:30) “into
BSP 2:2 (Spring 1989) p. 61
the city” (2 Kings 20:20). If Hezekiah brought water to the west of the Ophel Hill, and this area was part of the city at that time, then the city wall must have been on the western hill in order to provide proper protection. A number of discoveries in recent years, especially the finding on Mount Zion, have proven the maximalist view to be the correct one.
A 40 meter section of wall three meters thick has been uncovered. It is next to a gate thought to be the “Essene Gate” of New Te...
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