Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology

#1248 Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade


Kjell Magne Bondevik

Kjell Magne Bondevik - former Prime Minister of Norway


We haven’t had this many distinguished voices on the program since our Dead Sea Scrolls anniversary program featuring Yigael Yadin and William F. Albright. We had the opportunity to attend and record a special program of the Wisconsin Book Festival, sponsored by the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions and the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights. The focus of the program was a book we discussed almost a year ago, Where Heaven and Earth Meet, Jerusalem’s Sacred Esplanade. The program featured an introduction by former Norwegian Prime Minister (and Lutheran pastor) Kjell Magne Bondevik. The panelists were Benjamin Kedar, emeritus professor of history at Hebrew University and chairman of the board of the Israel Antiquities Authority; Mustafa Abu Sway, an associate professor of philosophy and Islamic studies at Al Quds University; and Guy Stroumsa, professor of the study of Abrahamic Religions at Oxford University.

The topic of discussion was the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, as it’s known to Jews and Christians, Haram es-Sharif as it’s known to Muslims. The book offers a new description of this contested plot of land, the Sacred Esplanade. But, as professor Kedar explained, it has had many other names over the years. A question about the archaeology of the Sacred Esplanade generated some controversy, which we included in the second half of this program.

The book looks fascinating, quite well illustrated, but a bit expensive at $75.

The Jerusalem Post has some late-breaking news about the Western Wall Plaza, right outside the Temple Mount.


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