Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No, Muslim authorities have not just carpeted over the Lost Ark

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Have Muslim authorities just carpeted over the Lost Ark? Israeli scholars furious after new flooring is fitted 'behind their backs' at the Dome of the Rock where ancient artefact is rumoured to be buried
  • Row erupted after mysterious geometric designs discovered under carpet
  • Some hope they may lead to chamber where Ark of the Covenant is hidden
  • But new flooring laid before Israeli scholars were able to document pattern
  • But Waqf, the authority in charge of Dome of the Rock, reject accusations
(An AP article, but the summary points are from the Daily Mail.)

There are two issues here. First, the Waqf authorities have covered over some floor designs in the Dome of the Rock with carpeting before all of them were properly documented. Apparently these floor designs are old, although nothing is said about how old. The Waqf should not have done that, and there is some concern that the carpeting will damage the floor. The IAA, however, is phlegmatic about the situation, reasoning that the stone floor is likely to last longer than the carpeting and that other opportunities to document it are likely to arise.

The second issue is whether the floor designs contain clues that will lead to the lost Ark of the Covenant. They are described as "cryptic geometric patterns" and the article says that unnamed "researchers" have the notion that the designs have something to do with the Ark. That is not impossible; legends about the Ark of the Covenent have been around since the Second Temple period and my own fifteen minutes of fame in 2014 came about from my translating one of these legendary texts into English. But that doesn't mean anything the floor designs say about the Ark have anything really to do with where the Ark now is. Probably, if the Ark existed in the form described in the Bible, it was melted down for the gold by the Babylonians. Quite a few people think they know where the Ark is. All of them seemed to want to tell me about it in 2014, including one who revealed to me where in St. Andrews it is buried. And, no, I'm not going to tell you that location.

So let's keep things in perspective. The Waqf is handling ancient architecture carelessly, which is nothing new, and they should be held to account for it. But this flooring is not the gateway to the Ark. At best it may allude in some way to Ark legends, which are always entertaining, but I doubt even that.

More on the Temple Mount Sifting Project (mentioned in the article) is here with many links. More on the Ark of the Covenant here with many links.