Dimensions of the Temple: The Temple in 1 Kings 5-9 Compared with Ancient Near Eastern Paradigms
McCullough, Lori Theresa
Studies of the Solomonic Temple rely on the descriptive account found in 1 Kings 5-9 as the most extensive source available for understanding the form of the ancient temple. Although the description is superfluous by contemporary standards, there is much left to be desired: the text ignores many critical details such as the presence and location of an altar and important architectural specifications.Often scholarly studies of the temple attempt to resolve the difficulties and theorize the temple’s actual appearance. This study, however, integrates several new approaches within ancient Israelite naology that appreciate the text for its symbolic value as a created space or built environment rather than as a source of historically based data. To this end, the temple description of 1 Kings 5-9 is compared to paradigmatic features of ancient Near Eastern temples. In this light, it seems that the text’s main concern is not the form but the function of the temple as a working link between the heavens and earth and the concomitant societal features sanctioned by this connection.