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The Crescent on the Temple

The Dome of the Rock as Image of the Ancient Jewish Sanctuary

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Pamela Berger

"The Crescent on the Temple" by Pamela Berger elucidates an obscured tradition—how the Dome of the Rock came to stand for the Temple of Solomon in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish art. The crusaders called the Dome of the Rock the “Temple of the Lord,” while Muslim imagery depicted Solomon enthroned within the domed structure. Jews knew that the ancient Temple had been destroyed. Nevertheless, in their imagery, they commonly labeled the Muslim shrine “The Temple.” That domed “Temple” was often represented with a crescent on top. This iconography, long hidden in plain sight, reflects one aspect of an historical affinity between Jews and Muslims.