Dating of the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerizim


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In the November/December 2010 issue of BAR, we published “Bells, Pendants, Snakes and Stones” by archaeologist Yitzhak Magen about the decades-long excavations on Mt. Gerizim in Samaria. Magen revealed evidence of a Samaritan temple that he said dated to the time of Nehemiah, the fifth century B.C.E. In response to that article, reader John Merrill wrote in looking for clarification about the date, which conflicts with Josephus’s account of events surrounding the Samaritan temple’s construction. See below Yitzhak Magen’s detailed explanation of the temple dating and timeline of related events.

John Merrill’s letter

Yitzhak Magen’s response

Posted in Ancient Israel, Scholar’s Study.

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  • Nathaniel says


    The author(s) of Ezra/Nehemyah explicitly give the 3rd day of Adar of the 6th year of Daryavesh as the date of the completion of the Temple in Yerushalayim. Sounds precise to me.

  • Tarasskeptic says

    I think that authors of Ezra-Nehemiah didn’t know precise date of restoration of Jerusalem temple.

  • Nathaniel says

    Jewish sources understand the name Artakhshast in Ezra 7 and Nehemyah to be another name for the Daryavesh who allowed the Second Temple to be completed.

    Nehemyah’s time as governor of the land of Yehudah would have started around 502 BCE and ended around 490 BCE.

    Which, if the temple on Mt. Gerizim was built in the middle of 5th century BCE, would put the end of his time as governor decades before the Mt. Gerizim temple was built.

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