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March 12, 2012

Second Update: Dr. Schirrmacher is Polite to His Hosts

Thomas Schirrmacher.jpg

March 19, 2012: Snapshots stands by this entry. For more information, please go here.

March 13, 2012 Update: Dr. Schirrmacher has posted a response in the comments below stating his comments have either been misheard or misrepresented. In response, Snapshots respectfully asks the organizers of Christ at the Checkpoint to post the video from Dr. Schirrmacher's presentation on its website to clear up the confusion. If a correction is in order, one will be made. Alternatively, if Dr. Shirrmacher can make his recording available, that will help clear up the confusion as well.

One of the oddest moments of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference that took place in Bethlehem last week came during a brief welcome offered by Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher from the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA).

Schirrmacher (pictured above), who serves as the executive chair of the Theological Commission of the WEA, appeared at the podium in a shirt and tie, but with no formal jacket on the opening night of the conference on Monday, March 5, 2012.

The reason he had no formal jacket, Shirrmacher explained, was that he had spent the day digging through a mound of dirt that had been excavated during construction near the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Because of this excursion, during which he got dirt on his shirt and trousers, he had no time to go back to the hotel to get his jacket before addressing the crowd.

Shirrmacher was a bit chagrined about his appearance, but he was clearly animated by the amateur archeological dig he was able to participate in. Schirrmacher was right to be animated, because in other instances, the Waqf has simply discarded the dirt from the Temple Mount, making a systematic investigation of the area’s archeology impossible.

So what did he find? Evidence of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount? That’s not how he described it, but apparently so.

As he and his Muslim hosts dug through the dirt near the Al Aqsa Mosque, they found artifacts “from the beginning of monotheism,�? Schirrmacher reported.

They also found a number other artifacts including objects dating back to the Roman empire.

“After that we found an Israeli bullet,�? he said, which he was allowed to keep.

It’s a small thing, but Schirrmacher’s reference to artifacts “from the beginning of monotheism�? was a bit odd.

Exactly what did Schirrmacher mean by this imprecise phrase? Was he talking about the cult of Aten founded by Akhenaten in ancient Egypt?

Probably not. The geography doesn’t work out.

So if Shirrmacher was talking about the ancient Israelites and if so, why didn’t he say so? Why didn’t he just come out and say he found evidence of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount?

Why not say that he, along with his Muslim hosts, found Jewish artifacts near the Al Aqsa mosque?

People, particularly those who wanted to assert that the Jewish people have no spiritual claim to the land of Israel, had no problem saying the word “Jew�? during the rest of the Christ at the Checkpoint conference, but here, when its use would affirm the historical connection to the Temple Mount, it was left unsaid.


Was Dr. Schirrmacher engaging in a bit of self-censorship so as not to offend Palestinian political leaders who were in the room and the Muslim clerics who were kind enough to let him dig through the dirt on the Temple Mount, or the Haram Al Shariff, as its called by Muslims?

As most Snapshots readers know, acknowledging the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount is a rather difficult task for Palestinian political and religious leaders.

Is an official from the WEA conforming his speech to this agenda of “Temple Denial�??

Posted by dvz at March 12, 2012 02:38 PM


I listened to the recording of my speech, as I think that you either heard me wrong or misrepresent me. But I am right: I did not use the phrase "beginning of monotheism", I clearly used the term "temple mount", and when I listed what we found, started with the iron age and ended with a modern bullet, but also mentioned Salomos wall. By the way: I did the research into the findings from the temple mount together with Gabriel Barkay, a Jewish archaeologists known for his criticism of destrcution on the temple mount, and the press was present!

Posted by: Thomas Prof. Dr. Schirrmacher at March 12, 2012 04:40 PM

It's a case of Dirt Washing.

Posted by: Asher Garber at March 12, 2012 05:05 PM

It's a small point but it shows his mind. How did Schirrmacher know the bullet was Israeli? Is he some kind of ballistics expert or is this just another way of saying the Jews are the aggressors. Arabs neither fire bullets not steal them when they get a chance.

Posted by: David Guy at March 14, 2012 10:41 AM

"It's a small point but it shows his mind. How did Schirrmacher know the bullet was Israeli? Is he some kind of ballistics expert or is this just another way of saying the Jews are the aggressors. Arabs neither fire bullets not steal them when they get a chance."

I asked a specialist from the Israeli army who followed the number on the bullet and assured me, that it is from 1967 when Israel rescued the temple mount. So does this show my mind? I does it show yours?

Posted by: Thomas Schirrmacher at March 15, 2012 04:23 PM

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