The sacred chants of the ancient Jewish Temples in Jerusalem are a long-lost art. But some musicologists believe the 2,000-year-old notes can be reconstructed by drawing on traditional prayer songs heard in synagogues today, extrapolating from the sounds of biblical instruments like the harp and observing medieval church incantation that has common roots in the Holy Land.
These efforts thrill pious Jews who would like to see a new Jewish Temple built to prepare for the arrival of a messiah. Others worry that temple revivalism could inflame Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Al Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest mosque, now sits where the Temple is believed to have stood nearly 2,000 years ago.
Additionally, many scholars are skeptical about the academic rigor of the research. Nothing is ever simple in the Middle East.
Dan Williams in Jerusalem has sounded out all sides.
Photo by: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Audio produced by: Bethel Habte
Editing by: Jason Fields