Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another fantasy of the End Times

In AD 70 (70 CE), the Roman general (and future emperor) Titus brought the First Jewish War to an end by taking Jerusalem. All the sacred treasure was looted, taken back to Rome, and paraded through the streets before being put on permanent display in the Temple of Peace.

In 455, the Vandals took Rome and the treasure, hauling it off to Carthage, their capital.

In the next century the Roman general Belisarius conquered the Vandals and took the Temple treasure to the new capital, Constantinople. At some point thereafter it seems to have been returned to Jerusalem, still under imperial rule. But then it was lost in the Roman-Persian wars of the 7th century.

A British archaeologist named Sean Kingsley is now publishing a book in which he claims he knows where the treasure is -- in the old monastery of Theodosius in Judaea, presently the West Bank.

For those who are always looking for a reason to fight over the Holy Land in anticipation of the end of time, we now have another reason.

What I would like to know is, how much of the information about the treasure's travels is actually new? If as I suspect this information is lying around in libraries all over the scholarly world, why hasn't anyone gone looking in the monastery of Theodosius before now?

Or maybe they have: See the interview with Kingsley at ynetnews.com.

This statement from the interview about the archaeology of the Temple Mount rings a few alarm bells with me:

"No ancient pottery has ever been published from the holiest place on earth, but from what I saw during my visits, with an afternoon's formal research of these holy deposits I could have prepared a scientific article on the history of the Temple Mount in all ages," he says.

That simple, is it?

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