Is there any evidence of a pagan temple having preceded Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem on that same site? I have seen this argument made, but I wanted to know more about the reasons behind this assertion. For example, in this article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/tav.2000.2000.1.75?journalCode=ytav20 pg. 78 refers to a pre-Solomonic pre-Davidic temple on the very site in question (Mount Moriah).

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No real evidence, but the area was populated by Pagans prior to 957 BC when David's son Solomon built the first temple.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine in What Is Beneath the Temple Mount?; Archeologists have not had much opportunity to excavate what's under that site. This is attributed to it being actively used for worship. The closest they've gotten was a controversial impromptu study of a few trucks worth of excavated soil done during some construction on the site.

This study did turn up some scarabs similar to or being Egyptian, from the second millennium B.C, predating the temple.

Prior to Jerusalem the site is believed to be the home of a Canaanite tribe named Jebus, which in the old testament David led an army against before his son Solomon would eventually build the first Temple, so it's possible, but no archeological study, and no evidence.

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    I thought it was actually the current day politics of Jerusalem preventing archeologists from doing a lot of work there, not the fact it is actively used for worship. But I suppose the reason doesn't matter all that much, just that there hasn't been a lot of archeology there.
    – Chipster
    Jun 23, 2023 at 4:34
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    @Chipster It is the other way around - the current day politics is because the sight is used for worship. Attempts at archeological excavations are often denounced as "undermining the Temple Mount", which is primarily the place of Muslim worship. Thus, the archeology is mainly limited to digging around, although the Western Wall is probably off limits as well.
    – Roger V.
    Jun 23, 2023 at 7:39
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    Side-note: It's kind of amusing to describe it as being pagan only prior to 957 BCE, when Judaism didn't become fully monotheistic (as in denying the existence of other gods, rather than merely considering their own the most important) for another 200 years or so (earlier in Israel, later in Judah). If you define "pagan" as "non-Abrahamic religion", sure, but Judaism remained polytheistic (e.g. even with suppressing the worship of other gods, their god had a spouse) for quite awhile after 957 BCE. Jun 23, 2023 at 11:25
  • @ShadowRanger Had a spouse... what happened between then and now? Was there an annulment?
    – Andy
    Jun 23, 2023 at 16:49
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    @vsz: The spouse bit, sure (and it's complicated by whether or not there was a father-son thing going on). But proto-Judaism acknowledging the existence of other gods, even as they prioritized their own national god over the others, is pretty much undisputed. Jun 24, 2023 at 12:21

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