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Catholic Dictionary


TEMPLE (biblical)


The world center of Jewish religion in Jerusalem. The original temple was built by Solomon in the tenth century (II Chronicles 1-5). It lasted three hundred fifty years before the Babylonians destroyed it (II Kings 25:9). In 516 B.C. a more modest temple was erected by Zerubbabel (Ezra 5:2). Herod rebuilt and improved it in 20 B.C. but again it was destroyed, this time by the Romans in A.D. 70. For over a thousand years it was the center of religious life for Jews all over the world. A number of incidents in Jesys' life took place in the Temple. His parents brought him there as an infant for the purification ceremony at which Simeon knew him to be the Messiah (Luke 2:22-35). Annually his parents visited Jerusalem for the Passover. On his twelfth birthday occurred the incident when they found him in the Temple "listening to the doctors and questioning them" (Luke 2:41-50). During his public ministry he and his disciples regularly visited the Temple and taught there. (Etym. Latin templum, sanctuary, space marked for observation by an augur.)