The Temple Mount in the Lowlands

Talk of iconic! What could be more so than the Temple in Jerusalem? Countless are the chapels, churches, synagogues, mosques and palaces modelled on an idea of what the Temple of Solomon looked like, measured or meant. The Reformed Christians of the Dutch Republic were just as susceptible to the sacred mystery of the Temple as Catholics, Muslims and Jews in their own worlds. This study shows how reconstructions of the Temple on paper (by Spanish Jesuits in 1595) and in a famous model (by a Dutch Jew in the 1640s) affected the form of church, synagogue and palace architecture and decoration in the mid-seventeenth-century Netherlands.

Gary Schwartz, “The Temple Mount in the Lowlands,” from: The Dutch intersection: the Jews and the Netherlands in modern history, edited by Yosef Kaplan, Leiden and Boston (Brill) 2008, pp. 111-21. The proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium on the History of the Jews in the Netherlands, held in Jerusalem in 2004

Download pdf  and read it alongside the illustrations below.

Fig. 1 Portrait of Jacob Jehudah Leon with an image of his model of the Temple, c. 1652.
London, Asher Mayer collection (photo Adri Offenberg).
Derived from title plate in Leon’s book on the Temple, 1642 (title page left)

Fig. 2 “Afbeeldinge van den Grooten ende Heerlijken Tempel Salomonis,” from Leon, Afbeeldinghe vanden Tempel Salomonis, opposite p. 38

Fig. 2a Jacob Judah Leon’s broadsheet of his model of the Temple
Amsterdam, University Library, Bijzondere Collecties [ROS. A 7-1]

Fig. 3 “’t Gesicht van de Portugeese, en hoogduy(t)se Joden kerken” [View of  the Portuguese and High German synagogues], etching by Abraham Rademaker, Amsterdam, 1772. Amsterdam, municipal archive.

Fig. 4 Section of  the outside wall of  the Portuguese synagogue, Amsterdam, that was reconstructed in the 1770s, next to (fig. 5) detail of Leon’s reconstruction

Fig. 6 Left: Section of  the wall of  the Portuguese synagogue, Amsterdam, in the form of  the original construction in the 1670s
Right: Corner of the Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem

Figs. 7-8 Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem, built to the design of  Jacob van Campen, 1645 –1649

Fig. 9 Title print of  vol. 3 of  the commentary on the book of Ezekiel by Juan de Prado and Juan Bautista Villalpando, 1604

Fig. 10 Bird’s-eye view of  the Escorial from Willem and Joan Blaeu, Atlas maior, vol. 9, 1662

Fig. 11 Details of  front façades of  the Temple in Jerusalem (above; see fig. 12) and of  the Escorial in a print by Abraham Ortelius (below).

Fig. 12 The Temple Mount, from vol. 3 of  Villalpando, 1604

Fig. 13 The church of  Renswoude, built after a design by Jacob van Campen (photo Jan Derwig)

Fig. 14 The church of  Hooge Zwaluwe, built after a design by Jacob van Campen (photo Jan Derwig)

Fig. 15 Details of  figs. 12 and 13

Fig. 16 Side elevation of Temple, from Villalpando, vol. 3, 1604

Fig. 17 Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, “The Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem, Looking North from the Southwest Corner of  the Transept.” Signed and dated 16 August 1653. Budapest, Szémüvészeti Múzeum

Fig. 18 Detail of  bird’s-eye view of  Temple Mount, from Villalpando (1604), vol. 3
Fig. 19 Ground plan of  Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem (drawing W. Kuyper)

Fig. 20 Symbolic scheme of  Temple Mount, from Villalpando (1604), vol. 3

Fig. 21 Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Interior of  the Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem, from West to East. Signed and dated 23 May 1651. Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum

Fig. 22 Comparison of  woodcut from François Vatable and wooden model of  Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem (Haarlem, Nieuwe Kerk; reproduced from van der Linden, “De symboliek,” p. 9).

Fig. 23 The Oranjezaal in Huis ten Bosch, The Hague

Fig. 24 Jacob Jordaens, The Apotheosis of  Frederik Hendrik, 1650. The Hague, Huis ten Bosch

Fig. 25 Anonymous after a design by Jacob van Campen, c. 1650. The Union of  Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture. The Hague, Huis ten Bosch

Fig. 26 Detail of  fig. 25 (above) compared to side elevation of the south side of the town hall of Amsterdam, published by Johannes Covens and Cornelis Mortier. (From article by Eymert-Jan Goossens in catalogue of  Jacob van Campen exhibition, Amsterdam [Koninklijk Paleis] 1995, p. 215.)

Fig. 27 Ground plan of the Temple, from edition of Mishnah book Middoth (Measurements) by Constantijn l’Empereur, 1630

Fig. 28 Detail of  fig. 28 (left) compared with fig. 19

Fig. 29 Emanuel de Witte, Interior of the Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, c. 1680. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum


2 thoughts on “The Temple Mount in the Lowlands”

  1. Dear Mr. Schwartz,
    I am a researcher of Ezekiel 40-48. I found your article and images insightful. Specifically, the Fig. 2a, which I did not see in other English temple books. But I couldn’t find explanations of Fig. 2a from your pdf article. Could you please give me instructions for a better understanding of that image? Thank you.

    1. Thank you for your query. The image in fig. 2a is one of only two known copies of a spectacular broadsheet published by Jacob Judah Leon illustrating his conception of the Tabernacle of the Jews in the desert. In the center is the Tabernacle, the predecessor of the Holy of Holies in the Temple. On the left you see a small version of Leon’s reconstruction of the Temple, which is illustrated in fig. 2 of my article in a black and white impression. The Tabernacle is surrounded by the camps of the priests and the Levites, with their appurtenances and around them the camps of the twelve tribes, each under its own flag. The arrangement is based on the texts in Numbers 2 and 3. Further illustrations show the sacrificial altar with instruments (upper left) and the clothing of the priests (upper right). The Dutch text (which I must admit I have never read and that I don’t think has ever been translated – have to do that one of these days) is said to contain a description of the print. The caption to my fig. 2a tells where the print is preserved – the Special Collections department of the library of the University of Amsterdam.

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