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God's Gold: A Quest for the Lost Temple Treasures of Jerusalem
From The Publisher:
God's Gold explores the fate of the greatest biblical treasure in history, the central icons of the Jewish faith looted from the Temple of Jerusalem. The golden candelabrum, silver trumpets, and the bejeweled Table of the Divine Presence were plundered by the Roman emperor Vespasian and his son Titus in AD 70. These biblical treasures are cast adrift in Mediterranean lands and exposed to 550 years of turbulent history and the rule of four different civilizations; only an intriguing trail of clues betrays their ever-changing destiny.
The Temple treasure is a priceless hoard, but it has yet greater significance as the ultimate symbol of man's communication with God. The gold's recovery is central to Israel's broken dreams of messianic redemption by building a new House of God on the Temple Mount and its hopes for a return to an age of biblical sacrifice.
Using untapped historical texts and new archaeological sources, Sean Kingsley unravels the incredible history of this treasure; its character; and religious, political, and financial meaning across the ages. Unexpected discoveries send him on a physical journey to expose the treasure's destiny. From the Vatican to the Vandal palace of Carthage, Constantinople's hippodrome, and the wilderness of Judea, his remarkable quest reveals facts more astonishing than fiction.
In this fast-paced tale that is part detective story, part travelogue and adventure story, historian Kingsley, editor of the archeology journal Minerva, hunts for one of the most sought after ancient treasures: a golden candelabrum, a pair of silver trumpets and the jewel-covered Table of Divine Presence carried away from the Temple in Jerusalem by Vespasian in A.D. 70. Many believe that these pieces, long since disappeared, lie buried beneath the Temple Mount, while others are convinced that they are buried under the Vatican. Relying on the ancient historians Josephus and Procopius, Kingsley traces the trail of the treasure as best he can. Many in modern times have tried and failed to find the treasure, including John Allegro, the Dead Sea Scrolls expert, who used the now-famous Copper Scroll as his guide in the caves at Qumran. At the end of his travels, Kingsley visits the monastery of Saint Theodosius in the Judean wilderness, where he believes Byzantine patriarch Modestus may have hidden the treasures in the seventh century after carrying them away from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protect them from Muslim invaders. Although we will likely never find the Temple treasure, Kingsley's bracing tale of religious intrigue grips the imagination. 16 pages of b&w photos. (June 12)
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About the Author
Sean Kingsley is a London-based archaeologist with fifteen years' experience running excavations and surveys, from Montenegro to Israel. He specializes in the Holy Land, where he discovered and researched the largest cluster of ancient shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean. He is managing editor of Minerva, the International Review of Ancient Art and Archaeology, and visiting fellow at the Research Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies at Reading University. He writes for various popular magazines. God's Gold is his sixth book.
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