by Tuvia Sagiv

Iyar 5764, May 10, 2004

Editors Note: In his geophysical research at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, using Thermal Infra Red imagery, Tuvia Sagiv has shown that the ancient foundation under the Dome of the Rock is apparently octagonal. Such a foundation is more consistent with an original pagan shrine having existed there before the Dome of the Rock was built in 691 A.D. (See Penetrating Insights into the Temple Mount, 1993-1995)

Sagiv found a similar octagonal foundation at Caesarea at the site of Stato's tower, which was built in the 5th Century B.C. The name of Strato's Tower preserves the name of the goddess 'Ashtrt ('Ashtoreth'), the well-known Canaanite goddess. Thus the site of the Dome of the Rock may have originally been a Canaanite High Place dedicated to Ashteroth. If so, Sagiv believes the Jews would have built the First and Second Temples below the summit of Mount Moriah deliberately to disassociate the God of Israel from any of the pagan gods. Tuvia recently send an article elaborating on this possibility.

Research on the location of the First and Second Jewish temples are presented in detail on the Temple Mount web site,

Two traditions, which do not originate in the New Testament or in the literature of the disciples, have developed since the days of the Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries:

1. The culture of the "all encompassing" mother ["the Great Mother."], whose foundations in the Byzantine period attributed Maria Mother of Jesus and Maria Magdalena with divine properties;

2. The secret of the divine goblet, ["the Holy Grail"] which struck roots in the Christian culture. The secret was kept by the Templars, passed on to the Knights of the Round Table and subsequently to the Free Masons.

These two motifs sometimes merged and the sacred goblet took on a feminine mystic all ifs own.

As mentioned above, these motifs were not prominent in the New Testament or in the disciples' literature.

Simultaneously with this development, there was an outburst of mystical and kabalistic literature in 11th and 12th century Judaism.

One of the major motifs in this literature is the world of sefirot (divine emanations), which defines the female Divine Presence as the earthly revelation of the eternal, remote, male deity.

A man of faith who keeps the commandments is the key to restoring the merge between the female revelation and the male revelation.

Both the Jewish and the Christian establishment were against these initiatives and ideas. However, they could not defeat or put an end to faith in female deity.
And the subject was passed on from generation to generation, through secret documents and enigmatic encounters.

What happened during that period that evoked and instilled ancient pagan motifs into the Judeo-Christian culture?

In light of my research in Jerusalem's Temple Mount, I wish to raise a hypothesis to solve the mystery.

Since ancient times, there has been a core of female deity in Jerusalem.

According to the letters of El Amrana, the king of Jerusalem in the 14th century AD was named Abad Hafa, meaning slave of Ashtoret.

According to the Bible of the First Temple period, there was a stage for the Sidonian Ashtoret from the days of King Solomon up to the reign of King Jessaiahu.
During the period of the Second Temple, adjacent to the temple, next to the fortress of Antonia, there was a site called Starton, which meant slave of Ashtoret.
The planet representing Ashtoret is Venus and the symbol of Ashtoret is a pentagon and an octagon.

During the Hasmonean period, in the vicinity of Jerusalem, imprints were found on jugs featuring a pentagon surrounded by a five-pointed star and between the pentagon's corners, the letters J.R.S.L.M.

The results of infrared tests which were conducted at my initiative revealed that under the Dome of the Rock, there is a pentagonal structure foundation and the constriction resembles that of the pagan temples built in Amman, Jordan.

The Dome of the Rock may be the site of the Ashtoret stage.

Adrianos, the second century emperor, wished to erect a temple to the Capitol deities on Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The Jews objected to this initiative, and a rebellion erupted, headed by Bar Kochba. The Romans defeated the rebels and expelled the Jews from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Adrianos changed the city's name to Aelia Capitolina and built a temple to Jupiter on the Temple Mount.

According to my hypothesis, the Jewish temple was located underground, in the "El Kas" area, and not on the Dome of the Rock. The wall closing off the site today is Adrianos' handiwork. He covered the remnants of the Jewish Temple and on the elevated surface, built a temple to Jupiter which subsequently became the El-Aksa mosque. An octagonal temple to female deity was built across from the Temple of Jupiter on the ancient pagan site to female deity on the Dome of the Rock.

Among the coins found in Jerusalem from the period of Aelia Capitolina, many of them were imprinted with the head of the goddess Ticha or with a temple whose core featured a sculpture of Ticha. During the mid third century, coins featuring the goddess Ticha with a goblet of wine next to her were imprinted in Jerusalem.
Ticha is equivalent to the Roman Goddess of Fate, Fortuna.

Perhaps the octagonal temple, the Dome of the Rock, is the temple of Ticha whose ritual involved using wine goblets. Using goblets to determine fate has been a known practice since ancient times.

During the Byzantine period, the site was destroyed and during the seventh century, the Arabs conquered Jerusalem and restored the Roman temples.

In my opinion, they did not construct the buildings but rather restored buildings which were clearly Roman in character. The Jupiter temple became the El-Aksa mosque and the temple of the Ticha Goddess became known as the Dome of the Rock. The Moslems attribute Muslim tradition to the place as it was from there that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

According to Muslim and Jewish sources, during the ancient Muslim period, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Quintessentially Jewish ceremonies, such as anointing the Rock with oil and burning incense on Mondays and Thursdays, were held at the Dome of the Rock

In the 11th century, the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem. The names of the Temple Mount monuments changed, namely the El-Aksa became the Temple of Solomon and the Dome of the Rock became Our Lord's Temple.

The French Templars settled in the southern section of the Temple Mount and the core of their activity was in the El-Aksa Mosque - the Temple of Solomon - and in the underground chambers called Solomon's Stables.

According to my hypothesis, they did some excavating at the time they were at the site and may have uncovered some Temple treasures that the Romans did not discover during the destruction of the Temple; moreover, they may have found remnants of Jewish activity at the Dome of the Rock as well as of the Roman Goddess Ticha, including wine goblets - the goblets of fate.

Due to their lack of archaeological knowledge or understanding of stratigraphy, they believed that the remains were those of the Jewish Temple dating back to the days of Jesus and they reached the conclusion that the God of Israel was a female deity.

The theological significance of the archaeological findings is a blow to the foundations of Christian faith.

If the God of Israel is indeed a female deity, how in that case did Maria become impregnated with the female Holy Spirit?

If so, the writings of the New Testament and Christian theology with regard to Jesus being the Son of God are intrinsically wrong.

Moreover, If Maria was not impregnated by the Holy Spirit, she was impregnated by a human being when she was engaged to Josef. Hence the conclusion that Jesus is illegitimate according to Jewish law.

The secret lies not in the fact that Jesus married Maria Magdalena and had children, as many believe. The secret is far more intrinsic to the essence of Christianity.

The significance of the secret's code name - "the holy grail" - is unclear. Is it in reference to a secret treasure or ancient documents found by the Templars or to the goblet or perhaps to Fortuna-Ticha's goblet of fate? Maybe the intent is that of a female symbol representing female deity. Is there any correlation between the Hebrew word "Goral" (Fate) and the "Holy Grail"? It should be noted that on the Temple Mount, there is a site called "El Kas" - the goblet. Perhaps there is a connection between the site's name and the code that was selected?

The Temple Mount discoveries led to a sense of demoralization among the Templars, which manifested itself in acts of heresy and permissiveness.
In the 14th century, Philip le Bel - the King of France - and Pope Clemens V destroyed the Templar Order.

The terrible secret could not remain hidden and the news reached Europe and led to confusion and revival. Monks were forbidden from joining the Crusades or making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the mere desire to do so was considered an act of Satan.

However the Temple knights and the other Christians in Jerusalem and in the Land of Israel were looking for ways to deal with the female deity found at the Dome of the Rock. Christians attribute female deity to the holiness of Mother Mary and Mary Magdalena who were sanctified in the fifth century.

This is where the widespread culture of the Divine Holy Mother and the Divine Whore originated. There were no grounds to this culture according to the pre-Crusader sources. This culture encompassed the motif of the Hellenistic goblet and the pagan pentagon.

One can reasonably assume that the information regarding female deity discovered on the Temple Mount also reached the Jewish public; the latter too stood helpless in light of this information, which contradicted everything the Holy Scriptures stood for.

The theological questions latent in the Temple findings gave rise to apologetic literature embodied in the Book of Bahir and the Book of Zohar.
This literature uses the concept of "Divine Presence", which appears in ancient homiletic interpretations of the Bible. A complex theological structure has developed, according to which the female Divine Presence is the divine manifestation that we as human beings are able to experience whereas the male manifestation is remote from us. The sefirot system has created a hierarchy with the female element at its base.

Therefore it is clear why in the everyday Jerusalem remains of the female goddess were discovered on the site of the Jewish Temple.

As mentioned above, the theology regarding female deity in the Jewish Temple is intrinsically erroneous. The Temple was not on the site of the Dome of the Rock and the remnants found by the Templars were those of the Roman Temple.

Corroborating and verifying this hypothesis is a scientific and theological challenge. Rereading the literary sources, site excavations and the use of non-invasive means such as radar and infrared photographs are likely to help solve the mystery.

Comments from Lambert Dolphin to the Author:

In the book of Deuteronomy the people of Israel were told by Moses to eradicate the Canaanites from the land, when they entered the promised land. The obedience of Israel was far from complete in this regard.

The Canaanite religions involved child sacrifice and cult prostitution. A female deity was a common feature in these religions. I have collected some notes on the religion of the Canaanites here:

Israel failed to destroy these pagan shrines--which were mostly on the mountain tops. As a result the religion of these pagan gods influence the pure monotheism of the Jewish tradition.

Baal was the Canaanite storm god, and his consort was Ashtoreth. She is the same entity as the mother goddess of ancient Babylon, Semiramis. She is Artemis, Venus, Aphrodite in Greece and Rome, and the goddess Isis in Egypt. In modern times she is even seen as "Mother Nature" in the western world. I agree with you that the "great mother" -- a universal female deity-- is common around the world in most every religion.

The good kings of Judah attempted to eradicate these Canaanite high places from the land of Israel. I think of Jehoshaphat for example,

Not long before the Babylonian exile, good king Josiah did as much as he could to attack these pagan shrines and altars:

And the king [Josiah] commanded Hilkiah the high priest, the priests of the second order, and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the articles that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. Then he removed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the places all around Jerusalem, and those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the wooden image from the house of the LORD, to the Brook Kidron outside Jerusalem, burned it at the Brook Kidron and ground it to ashes, and threw its ashes on the graves of the common people. Then he tore down the ritual booths of the perverted persons that were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the wooden image. And he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; also he broke down the high places at the gates which were at the entrance of the Gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were to the left of the city gate. Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not come up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brethren. And he defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. Then he removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech, the officer who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. The altars that were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, the king broke down and pulverized there, and threw their dust into the Brook Kidron. Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images, and filled their places with the bones of men. Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image.... (2 Kings 23:4-15)

The Roman Catholic Church has often venerated the Virgin Mary beyond anything the New Testament would suggest was true of this simple Jewish girl (Miriam). There is this same element of a female deity in much of Christendom, even though---as you say--this is foreign to the New Testament. It represents the same pagan influence which crept into the pure religion of Moses. In the New Testament we are told that faithful Christians are likened to a bride, whereas the apostate majority in Christendom are characterized by a prostitute, the "great harlot." (

Right now in this country there is a very popular best-selling fictional book, "The DaVinci Code," by Dan Brown. This book builds on Crusader legends and Holy Grail legends which have persisted since the Crusader Period. There are a number of excellent refutations of this book. It is purely fiction and contradicts the clear teaching of the New Testament in many places, but the book has been very popular. (For example see There is lots of discussion about this whole subject going on right now and your work is surely relevant.

I do think your work suggesting an early pagan temple at the site of the Dome of the Rock deserves a wider hearing.

Sincerely, Lambert

May 24, 2004.

A Response from Tuvia Sagiv:

Dear Lambert .

Thank you very much .

I must admit that the motivation to write this article was after reading the book "The  De Vinci Code "

The book relies heavily on the book "Holy Blood Holy Grail."

I think that my article belongs to the Christan world and should be published in a Christian web site.

Let us cooperate so that on the base of my article you will put more information and more arguments and may be  it will help to purify the Christan world from pagan elements.



May 25, 2004.

From the Prophet Ezekiel: And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I sat in my house with the elders of Judah sitting before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD fell upon me there. Then I looked, and there was a likeness, like the appearance of fire--from the appearance of His waist and downward, fire; and from His waist and upward, like the appearance of brightness, like the color of amber. He stretched out the form of a hand, and took me by a lock of my hair; and the Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven, and brought me in visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the north gate of the inner court, where the seat of the image of jealousy was, which provokes to jealousy. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the plain. Then He said to me, "Son of man, lift your eyes now toward the north." So I lifted my eyes toward the north, and there, north of the altar gate, was this image of jealousy in the entrance. Furthermore He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations." (Ezekiel 8:1-6)

Tuvia Sagiv's Model for the Location of the First and Second Temples