Rebecca Raphael


This paper compares the development of fictional ship schematics for the original Star Trek’s Enterprise to the scribal schematics of the Temple in two key biblical passages (1 Kings 6 and Ezekiel 40-44) and a Talmudic discussion of the Hall of the Hearth. By centralizing spatial construction over narrative or historicity, we can see some features of fan creative activity that are distinctive to spatiality. While a connection between these documents and actual structures (temple, spaceship) is both possible but not-currently-real, I argue that such passages have a similar blending of basic concepts, real structures, and sheer imaginal elaboration. As with the fan’s engagement with ship schematics, the scribe or exegete’s activity in Temple schematics finds a significant part of its value in the imaginal activity itself, which demands a deep attentiveness and opens on to imaginal independence from “real” places.


Star Trek; Gene Roddenberry; Temple; Solomon; Ezekiel; Bavli Yoma; Spatiality; Rabbinics; Judaism

Every built “real” space is preceded by an imaginal space: the imaginal shapes the real. This imaginal formation of real space can be done well or badly, on a large or small scale, and—most to the point of this paper—across a scale of attentiveness. Built space can be imagined and then built carelessly, or adequately, or with a hyper-attentiveness. Built spaces can be partial and fragmentary, and completed by attentiveness. Built sacred spaces (as distinct from natural ones) can be attention magnets, commanding material and imaginal resources across generations. Or not. Further, the relation between real and imaginal is dialectic; the motion from one to the other is not unidirectional, simple, or one-time. Image, build, imagine, build: this is what we do with spaces we care for.

As with written and visual canon, so with the spatial design: structures of authority develop, and non-authorized persons push back with their own contributions. While studies of fan fiction have focused primarily on the narrative element, in this paper I want to elucidate the spatial analogues of fan creation. Further, I do so in comparison to two ancient texts in which the contemporary canon-fan polarity is not present, but where the some of the same impulses and acts seem to arise. Specifically, I shall explore this dialectic in the representational design of two spaces, the Temple of Jerusalem and the starship Enterprise of Star Trek.[1] Since my definite article “the” is problematic in both cases, let me make some stipulations about the elision. First of all, it is necessary to limit the source texts for examination. Regarding the Enterprise, my source texts will be the ship of Star Trek: The Original Series: [2] the Enterprise NCC-1701, as its exterior and interiors appear in the television series, and also the Franz Joseph ship schematics published in 1975.[3] Even that Enterprise is “the” Enterprise only in imagination, for its realia are a set of fragments. The Enterprise indicates the larger idea of the ship, of the space. In the case of the temple, I shall examine two biblical passages that represent a temple: 1 Kings 6, which narratively represents Solomon’s construction of the First Temple, and Ezekiel 40–44, which represents some other temple. Ezekiel’s temple schematic is neither the First nor the Second Temple: it is a visionary replacement for both an historical predecessor and a possible successor, and also an early source for the concept of a heavenly temple. In addition to the biblical passages, I will examine a Talmudic discussion of a space within that space, the Chamber of the Hearth. These passages are thus different iterations of a larger idea, the temple in Jerusalem, and compose that temple from disparate and partial materials. This is not to compare the designs of the spaces themselves, nor am I arguing that Star Trek is a religion (yet).[4] Instead, I am taking a contemporary case of the schematic elaboration of a central, meaningful, fictive space, and comparing that process to the scribal elaboration of schematic spatial representations of an ancient temple. I will then press the comparison first, for insights it might yield into the interplay of real and imaginal spaces when these are invested with hyper-attentiveness, and second, for another angle on what fan activity relative to this ancient Judaic scribal culture and relative to the spatial, rather than narrative, element of world construction.

Before delving into spatial schematics, I want to invoke the framework of sub-creation, that is, the human creation not just of things but of fictive worlds, out of this mess we’re (already) in.[5] While all fictions create, or imply the creation of, the fictive world of the story, traditional genres of the drama and the novel foreground plot and character. In other words, Aristotle was right about what makes most stories go.[6] In the 20th century, with the emergence of fantasy and science fiction genres, the fictive world ranks at least as high as plot and character in driving the narrative. This centrality of world as part of the author’s composition significantly, if not solely, enables the multi-authored, cross-media, fan-creativity-friendly features of these worlds. Star Trek is a sub-creation in precisely this sense: Gene Roddenberry, its primary demiurge, knew that world-creation was his primary task, and that the ship was the key piece of world—a mobile axis mundi, as it were. By contrast, the authors of ancient Israel’s narratives generated a worldview, not a world in this sense. The Hebrew Bible and its embedded temples constitute what historical narratives, i.e. narratives that claim historicity whether or not that claim can be borne out by historical investigation.[7] The temple appears relatively late in ancient Israel’s national epic, yet it has a dual role. In—let’s call it—the real world, or the primary world, early monarchs built the First Temple as a central site of religious cult; the temple and Jerusalem become spaces that mutually construct and reinforce each other’s social and religious significance.[8] However, that larger idea of the temple, ret-conned into the Torah’s main narrative as the tabernacle and rebooted in Ezekiel’s post-destruction visions, seems to partake of both primary-world and sub-creative features. To be sure, I am here using literary terms developed for the criticism of fictitious narratives to describe different stances available inside a historical-narrative-claim. It is just that tension between two distinguishable frameworks for imaginative acts that can make this comparison fruitful. Relative to the primary world, the temple and the Enterprise secure different “real” things—a working religious site in the capital of a (past) monarchy, on the one hand, and just a TV show on the other. Relative to the secondary creation of worldviews or words, both spaces seem to overrun their primary-world spaces. To blunder into a cross-over, these spaces are bigger on the inside.

With those basic theoretical moorings in mind, let’s turn to the schematics.

Enterprise NCC-1701

Today, it’s easy to take the design of Star Trek’s Enterprise as intuitive, even inevitable, and—retro. In the mid-1960s, when Roddenberry was developing the show, NASA’s space program saturated the culture: the public knew what actual rockets and orbital craft looked like, and public knowledge of a lunar module lay just a few years in the future, during Star Trek’s run. But Roddenberry wanted “a deep-space exploration vessel,”[9] one that was plausibly suited to that function. From a production standpoint, that meant imagining both an exterior—a model—and an interior, which would be partially expressed in sets. This design process for a non-real deep-space ship entails a ship that is a set of spatial fragments: drawings, first of all, of both exterior and interior; a model for exterior photography; and stage sets as partial interiors. This collection of fragments (or bucket of bolts?) was also developed by Roddenberry in dialogue with television producers and designers, and with fans. In his view, viewer acceptance of the secondary world depended on the plausibility of the ship:

My feeling was that if you didn’t believe in the space ship… if you didn’t believe you were in a vehicle traveling through space, a vehicle that made sense, whose layout and design made sense… then you won’t believe in the series.[10]

For the demiurge himself, the sub-created ship anchored the believability of the sub-created world. Further, a fictional ship “making sense” as a possible, future real one should be read against the space culture of 1960s lunar aspirations.

The practical demands of design for production thus focused first and in most detail on the model for ship’s exterior and on the design of the bridge. Other spaces would be filled in at a later stage. The exterior began as a set of sketches, with varying arrangements of a single sphere attached to cylindrical components. (Whitefield called this figure “cigar-shaped.”)[11] Among the sketches Roddenberry liked best was one lacking a spherical segment: it had a saucer instead. Some of the sketches were then modelled in wood. Designer Matt Jefferies recounts, “oddly enough, the original model was hung upside down as opposed to the way we use it now.”[12] While we all know what he means, I would note that “original” refers to the first in a series of models, but that this model was a second thing to a sketch; and that “upside-down” can refer only to the visuals of the Enterprise exterior as it appears insthe shots, for there is no upside-down in space. In a recent article, Margaret Weitekamp discusses the history of this model, analysing the model itself as a celebrity with its own post-series ups and downs.[13] If, inner-diegetically, the ship was a both a character and the lynchpin of the secondary world’s believability, Weitekamp shows how the model became, extra-diegetically, another star, falling on hard times before she found adequate appreciation by the Smithsonian.

In terms of the interior, Roddenberry prioritized the bridge: as the ship anchored the series, the bridge anchored the ship—it was, one might say, the holy of holies. And he fought with the studio, about overall approach and about detail:

The studio’s attitude was we should have a lot of tricky lights in the background so that no matter which way the camera was turned you could always see colored lights. Our attitude, on the other hand, was to sit down and say to ourselves, “We are actually building a spaceship. How should it be designed, where would the captain be, etc.?”[14]

Was Roddenberry “actually building a spaceship”? Well, no, but he oriented himself in that imaginative act. When he uses terms like “actually building” or, in other places, “accuracy,” of an object that no one is actually building as a spaceship and which cannot be accurate to any precedent deep-space vehicle or future object, he seems to mean functionality: how would a crew plausibly use the space to do what it needs to do? Part of the answer to that question was to organize the bridge around an axis formed by the communication station, the captain’s chair, and the screen: the captain has eyes in front of him and ears behind him, one might say, with the other stations arranged as the front (helm) and sides (engineering and science stations) of an extended body.

Thus, Roddenberry led his colleagues in describing the design process as one of “actually building” a spaceship; but they were actually building sets and a model. The real, or primary-world, demand, was to launch production of a television show. Two large lacunae should be evident in this situation: first, it is not obvious whether the size of the ship indicated by the exterior shots would contain enough space to hold the interior spaces represented in the sets; second, and more important, the exterior is completely discontinuous with the fragmentary interior. How do these interiors fit into that hull, and how do they fit with the others? What about implied interiors that the viewer never sees? The production crew did not need to know—in fact, the entire three seasons was broadcast and cancelled several years before anyone gave it much thought.

But fans wanted to know. Writing primarily about the latest model of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) as an instantiation of 1980s–1990s culture, Hardy and Kukla point out the fan urge to complete the spaces:

The importance placed upon the purely physical character of both the old and the new Enterprise, by both the show’s creators and the audience alike, is evident from the publication for fans of whole books of extraordinarily detailed “blueprints” for each ship. The appropriative creativity of the Star Trek audience emerges even at this concrete level, since these published details far exceed and overdetermine the physical facts about the ship that watchers can infer from the episodes themselves. […] The audience is invested in the project of experiencing both ships as complete and consistent spaces.[15]

By the production of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “official” issues of ship specifications were part of Paramount’s standard merchandising of the franchise. However, the impetus to complete the ship’s spaces in diagrammatic form came initially from fan culture. Aerospace designer Franz Joseph was not a fan, but his daughter invited him to a gathering of Star Trek fans at the University of California at San Diego in 1973.[16] He found their fan-made models poor and, believing he could do better with his aerospace design training, began to draft plans for the Enterprise and for some of the pieces of technology. He worked from two textual sources: a few sketches reprinted in the Whitefield book and the visuals from the series. After some initial work, Joseph contacted Roddenberry to inquire about proprietary rights, and quickly received a go-ahead. Like Roddenberry, Joseph was concerned with a kind of accuracy, which he defined thus:

They [the fans] wanted the real thing, or at least something that could be real when we got around to making it. I decided that I would keep the Manual as accurate as possible an extension of our knowledge of science and engineering technology. I was pretty confident everything could be worked out or extrapolated on that basis.[17]

For Joseph, accuracy meant a reasonable extrapolation from existing knowledge; this was “the real thing” fans wanted, something that could be real. But without a real Enterprise with which to compare his specs, the judgement of “reality” evidently rested with fans.

Indeed, Joseph quickly encountered some inherent problems that would engage precisely that fan judgement of “the real thing.” The visuals from the series were internally inconsistent, since set designs had changed during production. In particular, that most-used and most central set of the bridge underwent several design changes during production. Thus, it was impossible to make specifications that agreed with canon, since canon did not agree with canon. Further, any choice he made would become a candidate for canonicity. (Joseph did not employ these terms, but he seems well aware of the problem.) This challenge led him to develop his drawings in consultation with the group of fans he knew: on matters where the series visuals disagreed, or when some spatial necessity of design—such as having enough decks in a saucer section that would be scaled to the model used for exterior shots[18]—Joseph discussed the possible solutions with these fans.

The first thing we ran into were the “errors,” and every S[tar] T[rek] fan knows there were enough errors to fill a volume library. Some of them I could work around, but some were too glaring; they would have to be corrected. Each time one of the “glaring” errors appeared on the list, we’d have a bull session of S[tar] T[rek] fans and discuss it. If the consensus of opinion was that, regardless of the error, they wanted it that way because that was the way it appeared in the series, I discarded that item. In other cases, where they decided the correction was proper, and it didn’t affect the theme of the S[tar] T[rek] series, then I made the changes and used the item.[19]

Thus Franz Joseph, the non-fan, became the designer of the full Enterprise diagrams and of a host of technological devices, and he used a process of interaction and deliberation with a small group of fans to do it. None of that prevented a tradition of nit-picking from developing, for other fans of course shared the desire to participate in specification drafting and disagreed with the solutions favoured by the group Joseph knew. Fans followed in his footsteps by developing their own designs, either in disagreement with his, or of ships and objects not included in his Blueprints[20] and full Technical Manual.[21] Although Joseph’s work received the Roddenberry imprimatur and publication by Paramount, which by then owned Star Trek, its development process was the spatial analogue of fan fiction.

In addition to the development process, several details of Joseph’s ship specifications are interesting in terms of world construction and spatiality. The 1975 Blueprints is a packet of twelve fold-out diagrams, printed in blue ink on a heavy-stock paper. The cover panel features a still exterior shot of the Enterprise at its centre, superimposed upon three bubble images of the diagrams. Near the bottom of the cover, we find the claim, “The Complete Set of 12 Authentic Blueprints of the Fabulous Starship Enterprise.” To what could such blueprints be “authentic,” when there is no actual Enterprise? These were not production drawings; they were not even commissioned, and were made several years after the series was cancelled. The cover claim to “authenticity” is both transparently false and yet also suggests the idea of a “real” Enterprise somewhere, such that diagrams could represent it faithfully or not. The twelve diagrams themselves contain textual “notes” written from an in-world perspective. The first note for the Outward Bow and Stern Elevations (Sheet 4) warns against construing the diagrams as blueprints: “These plans are for familiarization purposes only and should not be confused with detail [sic] working drawings for this starship class.” In other words, this sheet that is printed in blue as blueprints are, contained in a packet titled “blueprints,” is not a blueprint. In more ways than one, they both are and are not the spatial layout of the Enterprise.

These diagrams are fascinating. In one sense, they complete the space: they fill in the gaps mentioned above by fitting the interior spaces to each other, filling in interiors not shown on the broadcasts or video prints of Star Trek, and they fit the interior spaces into the exterior. These filled-out spaces fall into three categories, relative to the visuals on the series: spaces not shown at all; details not shown in shown spaces; and spaces shown but not compliant with the series visuals. To illustrate each, in the first category, the diagrams indicate a lower deck for waste reclamation and the ship’s laundry (Sheet 11). These are functional necessities of a deep-space vessel, but the former is at best implied in the series, and the latter never suggested.[22] In the second category, I offer the bridge toilet: it is to the immediate right of the visual display. Harmonisation here would require interpreting a panel as an invisible door, and in any case, no one is ever shown, in the series, leaving the common area of the bridge to go to the toilet. (But it was ret-conned there, in case.) In the last category, we have incongruities between spaces shown on the series and the diagrammatic representation of them. For instance, the diagrams show the botany lab in the interconnecting dorsal section, with a door opening on to a semi-elliptical common area between other science labs.[23] The design makes sense for a deck in the interconnecting dorsal. However, the botany lab appears in “The Man Trap,” with a door opening on to a straight hallway.[24] If Joseph’s Enterprise specs helped fill a lacuna by completing the space of the ship, they opened up whole new avenues of contradiction and canonical dispute.

Briefly, before turning to an ancient mode of cultural production, the role of fan activity in the development of the Enterprise schematics shows a love of model-making drawn from canonical visuals, a desire to join in the task of world-construction by the filling out and elaboration of fictive spaces, and a hyper-attentiveness to the detail of spatial construction. The more typical account of fan creativity involves projection of a version of the fan’s self into the secondary world, an elaboration of narratives either implied or possible, and a marked concern for the erotic, either in the form of eroticism between the fan-character and a canonical character or between two (or more) canonical characters. The spatial domain thus hits a range not well-captured by a focus on fan narrative, even as it also shows analogous activity: elaboration of spatial design is also an act of joining in the secondary world-creation; model-making enacts a desire to bring the materiality of the secondary world into the materiality of the primary one; and hyper-attentiveness to spatial detail seems connected to the visual attentiveness characteristic of eroticism. This is not to reduce space-making fan activity to eroticism, but rather to suggest that the investment of spatial attention is a conscious act of imaginal construction, valuable to its makers as such.

Temples Made and Measured: 1 Kings 6, Ezekiel 40–44, and the Hall of the Hearth

In shifting from the Enterprise to the temple, from contemporary science fiction to the Hebrew Bible and Babylonian Talmud, let us use the concept of a “blueprint” as the bridge. In her article “How Not to Build a Temple,” Eva Mroczek examines how Second Temple sources projected the idea of the temple back into figures who did not build one (David in Chronicles and Jacob in Jubilees).[25] In arguing that these texts present their respective biblical figure as prophets who received written plans of a/the temple—plans that these text ret-con into the biblical narratives—Mroczek notes the written nature of the plan.[26] In 1 Chronicles 28:11, it is called a tabnit; in Jubilees 32:11, Jacob sees heavenly tablets and later writes down what he saw. The language of Jubilees is ambiguous between a verbal transcription of words or a diagrammatic transcription of an image. In any case, these blueprints, like those of the Enterprise, appear later that the object for which they purport to have been plans.

Further, in shifting from a fictive narrative held as a play-frame to an historical one held in earnest,[27] one must also take care to locate the fan position. I use this phrase to indicate analogous types of activity and, to a lesser extent, analogous affect. I do not mean to suggest that biblical authors or the Talmudic rabbis were fans as we use that term today. The social role “fan” did not exist in the ancient Near East, but certain activities and affects that are characteristic of today’s fandoms did—and they existed in communal engagement with scriptural texts. Further, this essay is not a global treatment of biblical exegesis under the category of fandom. However, in constructing a fan/exegete comparison specifically in regards to the imaginative elaboration of a canonical and partial space, I aim to contribute to that larger goal.

Since canon is a relational term, one must also specify the elements of the relation. In the case of the temple, that relationship is complex. Our texts from the Hebrew Bible, 1 Kings 6 and Ezekiel 40–44, could be viewed as textual responses to a canonical object, the (First) Temple itself. In that configuration, the textual representations occupy the fan position: they elaborate, adore, and canonise something extra-textual.[28] That possible configuration is not my focus here. Instead, I place the Talmudic discussants in the fan position: they employ the biblical texts, along with other sources, as the canonical framework for their activity of more fully imagining the no-longer-available space. In the case of the Chamber of the Hearth, that requires resolution of spatially contradictory passages.

I turn now to two key temple passages in the Hebrew Bible: the description of Solomon’s construction of the First Temple, and Ezekiel’s vision of a temple. Both passages probably reflect some knowledge of an actual temple, but at different times and in rather different modes—is the Ezekiel passage a vision, a revision of memory fragments, a conscious aspiration for ideal sacred architecture, or some combination of these? Did the authors of these descriptions move through the space they represent, and does that even matter? As with the Enterprise, the contrast of two passages will help focus some questions about the representation of central or sacral spaces. In particular, we observe some contrasts between the passages on the following: 1) the key verbs of spatial survey; 2) static versus mobile points of view; and 3) copulas versus active verbs. On these items, the Ezekiel passage is descriptively richer and more motion-sensitive, even though its key verb is measurement rather than building. Even so, the passages share a lavish interest in the interior spaces, with less attention to the exteriors; here, however, Ezekiel exceeds the low bar of no exterior description in 1 Kings 6.

Both texts are temporally removed from the actual construction of the temple. Thus it is unlikely that the temple each describes is the exactly the one that King Solomon built. Scholarly consensus places the redaction of the Books of Kings as we know it to no later than the exile, and it was clearly redacted from several sources.[29] The number and date of earlier redactions of Kings is not settled, nor is it possible to date the source documents cited internally; Sweeney supposes that a date in Josiah’s reign for an early version of Kings is possible. In any case, the construction of the First Temple would antedate the extant Books of Kings by approximately 400 years. Ezekiel, on the other hand, has the exile as its earliest possible date of composition, with the number of redactions and extent of these into the Persian period matters of debate.[30] It is conceivable, though by no means assured, that the author(s) could have known the space described in these texts, but later redactors and scribes would not have. Thus, while the texts may contain some element of memory, the imaginal component is strong in both.

1 Kings 6 describes the temple by means of a narrative of its construction; the space takes shape in the sequence of Solomon’s acts of building. This narrative of acts of construction forms one of the two key features of the spatial description. After a brief temporal orientation, the passage opens with, “he began to build” (1 Kgs 6:1). Forms of this verb (banah) mark the beginning, the key transitions (1 Kgs 6:5a, 6:9a, 6:10, 6:14, 6:16 2x), and the ending (1 Kgs 6:36). Now Solomon himself is not doing all this labour alone, or even any of it. In 1 Kings 5:13–18, he assembled an enormous amount of forced labour. Yet chapter 6 does not represent Solomon supervising the work; its language represents him doing it. That is, when it comes to shaping the sacred space, the text has Solomon do that. Thus, the temple takes shape before our reading eyes as a Solomon-shaped space.

The second key descriptive technique is simply the copula, usually implied. The first case appears in 1 Kings 6:2, which presents Solomon’s building activity in an opening relative clause, and the copular assertion of dimensions provides the predicate. The other stipulated dimensions have this grammatical form: noun of architectural feature, numbers of measurements. This descriptive feature is interlaced with the active-verb sentences, such that the text alternates between assertions that Solomon built X and copular statements of X’s dimensions. That is, “Solomon made this space, and it was this big.” The space is thus made, textually, by Solomon opening it, structuring it, containing it within bounds.

The passage does not describe the temple space in terms of motion through it. Rather, the effect is the construction of a mental diagram from an unspecified point of view—like a blueprint or a model, but not these. Instead of representation of motion through the space, we have a sequential layering up of interiors. First, Solomon builds the outermost, largest parts of the structure; then he puts in windows (1 Kgs 6:4)—a first interior feature, which opens the pores between exterior and interior. He then builds supporting structures around the large one, thus interiorising within an outer shell the temple proper (1 Kgs 6:5). The main entrance is described in the implied copula form (1 Kgs 6:8). Last (of course), he adds the roof over the inner and outer structures (1 Kgs 6:9–10). At this juncture between the account outer construction and the interiors, there is a very brief narrative of “the word of the Lord” coming to Solomon (1 Kgs 6:11) and several sentences of direct discourse (1 Kgs 6:12–13).[31] The latter constitutes the Lord’s promise to dwell with Israel—although the speech does not specify the temple under construction as the dwelling place. Unlike David and Jacob in the material Mroczek studies, the divine communication does not precede, but follows, construction: it is a statement not of inspiration, but of canonisation. In 1 Kings 6, there is no divinely-given blueprint.

After the interlude of direct discourse, the narrative resumes with Solomon constructing the Temple interior (1 Kgs 6:14–21). In sequence, he lines the walls and then the floor with cedar (1 Kgs 6:15), then builds an enclosure from the back inward, and then from that section he builds the holy of holies (1 Kgs 6:16a). Thus, adding layers is also inward elaboration toward the space where the ark will be placed. Once this process of sectioning off has made the inner sanctuary, the text gives its dimensions (1 Kgs 6:17-20).[32] This interior of the interior then undergoes its own layering—of gold over the previously-laid cedar (1 Kgs 6:21). The narrative of construction, in short, tracks a motion inward and then back outward, from an initial cedar layering of the interior which provides the means of constructing the inner sanctuary, which in turn is layered with cedar; and then with gold, and then the full interior is layered with gold (1 Kgs 6:22). The descriptions of carvings and furnishings (1 Kgs 6:23-32) continue the elaboration of interior space, with the repeating figures of cherubim, palm trees, and calyces. The conclusion of the passage is a narrative exit: it describes the doors to the inner sanctuary and then to the larger structure (1 Kgs 6:31-35). Then the narrative declares the temple finished (1 Kgs 6:38) and summarises the time from foundation (1 Kgs 6:37) to completed details (1 Kgs 6:38). In short, Solomon builds from exterior to interior; interior is a layering process with the holy of holies at the focal point of layering; and he finishes by carving surfaces from the most inner to the exit. This motion is a motion of the description, not a description of anyone moving through the space. It recapitulates the motion of ritual as constructing a space of worship, a period of elaboration, and an exit from the ritual. Yet the absence of representation of motion also conveys, perhaps subtly, a space designed and realized but not yet used or lived in. It is a strange point of view for a text that was composed after an actual, lived-in and used space. In short, the 1 Kings passage tends to describe the temple as if it were a model that no one could actually walk through.

The setting of Ezekiel’s passage of temple specs is quite different. First of all, the book of Ezekiel, which is likely the first prophetic book written as a book, features the central persona of Ezekiel, a priest-prophet deported to Babylon after the destruction of the First Temple. His prophetic commission occurs in exile, and he evidently functioned as a figure with status among the Judean expatriate community. As a priest, he knew the First Temple; as a prophet, he sees visions of a rebuilt temple anchoring an ideal Jerusalem. The text thus situates this persona as one who knows whereof he speaks when he describes, in the last of the book’s four major sections, a new temple. I characterise textual Ezekiel in these terms to make it clear that my analysis here does not depend on whether the historical Ezekiel (whom I think plausible) was the author of this particular section of the book under his name (debatable). Even so, the book’s diegesis treats this new temple as a vision, which can be both like and unlike its real prompting real estate. Whatever disparate ingredients may inform the details, Ezekiel’s temple is an aspirational temple.[33]

Like the account of Solomon’s construction, Ezekiel 40 begins with dependent clauses of multiple temporal markers, including a dating relative to the destruction of Jerusalem, and then asserts “he brought me there” (Ezek 40:1). Ezekiel finds himself on a mountain, looking down on the city from that vantage point. He has a companion: a bronze-looking man with a cord and a measuring reed (Ezek 40:3). This figure, evidently a heavenly being, commands Ezekiel to pay close visual and acoustic attention to what he will be shown (Ezek 40:4). Without an account of moving from the mountain, the pair are before the temple walls (Ezek 40:5). From there, they proceed inward, with the bronze figure measuring numerous features of each section of the architecture. For instance, at the wall, he measures the depth and height of the wall, the threshold of the gateway, the recesses around it, the vestibule, and the pilasters (Ezek 40:5-16). The amount of text devoted to measuring the wall, gateway, and adjoining features, is approximately that devoted to Solomon’s primary construction of the temple (before the interior work). Regarding the wall, Ganzel and Holtz note that the First Temple had no such structure, and further, that the emphasis on walls and vestibules creates an architectural vocabulary of separation.[34] Most significant for our comparisons, however, is narrative’s elision of measurement, building, and motion-through: this temple appears both to have been built (e.g. Ezek 40:5) and to be undergoing construction by the bronze entity (e.g. Ezek 40:14), as the fluid movements of the two personae move through the structure. In short, the language renders the space less as a model seen from an undefined point of view, and more as a set of interlocking interiors through which people move and act.

We have a similar oscillation between active verbs and dimensions expressed, but these differ in some ways from the 1 Kings 6 passage. First of all, the most active agent is the bronze figure; he is the subject of the active verbs. The most frequent verb is “he measured,” and followed by several verbs of motion (went, brought, etc.). Further, while the bronze figure is the agent of his own motion (e.g. “he measured,” Ezek 40:6, 11, 19), Ezekiel is not the agent of his motion—the bronze man moves both of them (e.g. “he took me,” Ezek 40:17, 24, 28).[35] If the bronze figure is the architect or carpenter of anything, it is of Ezekiel’s motion and sequence of observation. That motion goes from the wall to the outer buildings to the inner courtyard and finally to the inner sanctuary, which Ezekiel does not enter.

Silence prevails but for four statements by the bronze man. Three of these identify specific locations: the chamber of the priests (Ezek 40:45–46), the inner sanctuary (Ezek 41:4), and the offering table (Ezek 41:22). Of these, only the inner sanctuary appeared in 1 Kings 6. The fourth statement links these locations by the necessary movements of the priests through the spaces: they must eat the holy offerings within the sacred precincts and also vest and de-vest when moving into and out of that space (Ezek 42:13–14). This statement does more than identify the priests’ chambers. It represents the lived use of the space by the people who perform the sacred rituals within it. And this summary from the bronze man is the only way that Ezekiel, diegetically, or readers, extra-diegetically, get to see priests doing their work at the temple. Text-Ezekiel does not get to see that which historical-Ezekiel knew and performed. He sees only the spaces, and his only activity in this scene is to see the space as measured and to move through it as escorted by the bronze figure.

If anything in the Ezekiel passage is functionally similar to the divine interruption in 1 Kings 6:12-13, it is another divine speech, on Ezekiel’s second entrance to the temple precincts. This time, God has moved him there and, showing him the temple, says:

And you, son of man, describe to the house of Israel the temple and its appearance and plan, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities. And if they are ashamed of all that they have done, portray the temple, its arrangement, its exits and its entrances, and its whole form; and make known to them all its ordinances and all its laws; and write it down in their sight, so that they may observe and perform all its laws and all its ordinances. (Ezek 43:10–11 NRSV)

That is, the mere description of this temple is supposed to induce a feeling of shame in the prophet’s audience. Not only that, but it appears that the laws of temple design and construction are also the laws that the audience must perform. This is peculiar, for what laws of the temple’s form and arrangement can also be performed by human beings? The most plausible answer seems to be to construct the temple. So, a spatial description evokes moral shame and also provides, if not a diagram of a structure, a blueprint for action.

A blueprint is exactly what commentators like to emphasise these descriptions are not. Neither is sufficiently detailed to provide actual construction plans, which would at least require diagrams and not just verbal description. Thus it is interesting that commentators have to say this, almost formulaically: Sweeney writes that the purpose of 1 Kings 6 is “not to provide a blueprint”;[36] Fritz asserts that the description is not a blueprint but “is full of gaps and missing details.”[37] Often in commentary on these passages, the commentators will provide a diagram, as the Harper-Collins Study Bible does for the undescribed exterior of Solomon’s Temple,[38] and as Zimmerli does for Ezekiel’s visionary temple.[39] Further, despite the denial of blueprint intent, commentators note problems that only make sense if the idea of blueprint informs one’s reading. Zimmerli notes that Ezekiel’s vision gives dimensions for a ground plan only, not for the height of anything other than the exterior wall.[40] Fritz suggests that the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple are disproportionate, making the length too long relative to the width, and that the outer and inner dimensions of the ground plan are too similar to be “real,” for the wall would not fit between them.[41] Both the passages themselves and commentators on this particular topic seem to want it both ways, to present something that seems like it could be real, while the presentation contains spatial stipulations that could not really work—as well as many gaps. The overall effect is one of descriptive fullness than also calls out for completion and embellishment by readers or viewers. Indeed, every diagram of Solomon’s or Ezekiel’s temples is just such an embellishment by scholars and editors, a transposition of verbal description into graphic image, always requiring extra-textual assumptions.[42]

Long before modern commentary, however, that call to complete the space was answered in the Mishnah and Talmud, far more prolifically than this essay can treat.[43] Thus I focus on one location within the Second Temple, as imagined by the rabbis: the Hall of the Hearth and its sub-chambers. In Bavli Yoma 15b–17a, there is a discussion of this location and an attempt to resolve spatial contradictions about it from two other passages in Mishnah Middot 1 and Tractate Tamid 30a. Each passage attempts to fill out the space as much as possible, with attention to motion-through as a primary, although not exclusive, means of spatial construction.

Bavli Yoma details the rituals of Yom Kippur, though which the rabbis also imaginatively construct spaces within the temple. To illustrate their spatial construction, let us focus on the discussion of the Chamber of the Hearth in Yoma 15b–16a. Even more specifically, I want to examine also the apparatus of the Koren Talmud Bavli.[44] That is, in terms of a comparison to fan culture, both the sages of the Talmud function in the fan position relative to the source texts and location(s), and the Koren editorial apparatus functions as both fan and fan assist, relative to the Talmud. Both the passage and the Koren apparatus engage in the fan activities of intense attention to detail and completion of the space from the available fragments.

The Mishnah sparking the discussion in Yoma 15b–16a asserts that the high priest performed the daily sacrifices during his seven-day sequestration prior to Yom Kippur (Yoma 14a). Among the details of these sacrifices, a deputy orders the other priests to obtain a lamb from the Chamber of Lambs (Yoma 15b). This set-up is grounded in the daily operations of a formerly-functioning temple and one of its necessary tasks: someone fetches the lamb for the morning sacrifice. From where? Where, exactly, is the Chamber of the Lambs? The Gemara here refers to another Mishnah (Tamid 30a) that states, “The Chamber of the Lambs was in the northwest corner.” Yoma 15b then lists four chambers as a set, the Chamber of Lambs, of Seals, of the Hall of the Hearth, and of the Shewbread. Given four corners and one already assigned (Lambs at the northwest), there are six spatial possibilities for assigning the three remaining chambers. The rabbis could have listed the six possible arrangements and left it at that, but of course they do not. It is one thing to list spatial configurations that would comply with a partial set of details describing a space; that would be informative, but does not satisfy the desire fully to map the space—and for the space to be one that people could walk through and find stable locations.

Before that fuller mapping achieves its last stage, the Gemara grapples with two spatially contradictory passages. One has already appeared on Yoma 15b: Tamid 30a, which provides the anchoring detail about the Chamber of the Lambs. The other is Mishnah Middot 1, which only has two rooms in common with the Yoma and Tamid Chambers of the Hearth—and which puts the Chamber of Lambs in the southwest, rather than the northwest.

Tamid 30a     Lambs (NW), Shewbread, Seals, Hearth[45]

Middot 1         Lambs (SW), Shewbread (SE), Altar (NE), Immersion (NW)

Thus, one of the two rooms which all three lists include, and the one for whom all give a spatial location within the larger chamber, is given different compass points in one source. This is a problem: the discussants of Bavli Yoma want a continuous, non-contradictory space.

Middot, the older source, describes the Second Temple by a combination of functional use, place lists, and motion through spaces. It opens with a list of chambers where the priests kept night watch (function) and proceeds to a list of gates. The mention of the Gate of Nicanor lists two chambers, “one on its right and one on its left”—a description that assumes a human body with an unspecified orientation toward the gate, i.e. motion (Middot 1).[46] This general melding, interspersed with measurements, continues throughout the short tractate. The Hall of the Hearth is introduced by its four sub-chambers and its division between holy and non-holy sections. The text specifies every chamber by compass point. The one in the northwest is named solely by its function, as the place from which priest descended to the immersion pools (which implies a storey below the one of the Hearth). The function of the hall, and specifically this unnamed chamber in its northwest corner, was the priests’ dormitory.

The passage in Tamid 30a is the first cited in Yoma 15b. As in the Yoma passage, the Hall of the Hearth emerges when a priest orders a subordinate to fetch a lamb for sacrifice. The subordinate goes to the Chamber of Lambs, and the text pauses to describe this space and its associated chambers. Tamid specifies the compass points of the Chamber of the Lambs, but not the others. In trying to reconcile the spatial discrepancy, Rav Huna suggests that Middot describes the rooms as one would see them entering in the south and moving to the right, while Tamid places the rooms as one would see them moving to the left from the same starting point (Yoma 17a). This suggestion follows other attempts to envision the spaces from different points of view within them and different movements. Unfortunately, this only works if the Chamber of the Lambs is in the southwest corner; if it was in the northwest, there is no way to place the Chamber of Seals consistently. That observation provides the warrant for Yoma placing the Chamber of Lambs in the southwest, as Middot did.

That does not resolve everything, but it provides enough to demonstrate the extreme attentiveness to space and the desire to construct, verbally, a space that could be occupied, worked in, and moved through by priests, other temple workers, and visitors. It is one thing to arrange spaces in a visually pleasing way; it’s another to arrange them for actual use. The rabbis of the Talmud strive to do the latter by grounding their spatial constructions in (their imagination of) actual Temple functions. We also see the drive to build-in from canonical sources. Middot frequently quotes 1 Kings 6 and Ezekiel 40–44, but neither mention a Hall of the Hearth, by that or any name. Ezekiel 42 does have many chambers with unspecified uses, and many necessary functions of a temple that are not accounted for in the named spaces. This is exactly the kind of opening for not-yet-canonical readers and writers to complete the spaces. Nor has that process stopped. The apparatus of Koren Talmud Bavli includes diagrams of described layouts and also pictures of priests performing their work at the Temple. With such images to visually amplify the texts by rendering a textual image into a visual one, the contemporary editors hint that these spaces, as pictured, could have been seen, if only one had a time machine. The apparatus images are uncredited, but are clearly digital—in other words, CGI.

Conclusions (Almost)

Real blueprints, of buildings or spaceships, have this quality necessarily; it is the nature of a blueprint to provide a full-enough description to enable completion of the structure by its builders. The Enterprise diagrams and the temple descriptions treated here evoke that effect, and they do so without the completeness of real blueprints, and with the reader/viewer in the role of would-be builders. And so they are: readers/viewers use the “blueprints” to join the act of world-construction. As with the fan’s engagement with ship schematics, the scribe or exegete’s activity in temple schematics finds a significant part of its value in the imaginal activity itself, which demands a deep attentiveness and opens on to imaginal independence from “real” places. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., imaginative construction through canonical sources was the only way to render the Temple real, and this mode easily embraces both the desire for rich memory and the aspiration for an ideal Temple. Attentiveness is not built into the spaces themselves—it’s an engagement through which we shape our relationship to our identity-anchoring spaces. These spaces, in turn, authorise both their worlds and construction of those worlds, and hyper-attention to those exceptionally significant spaces appears both as a kind of sacrifice—a donation of attention and emotion to the description of a space—and also as identity-defining for the person in the “fan” role. After all, it takes a certain biography and personality for someone to notice and care that sources disagree on the precise location of one room or that the saucer section could only hold two decks; to notice and communicate these observations is to signal identity and affiliation with certain communities, and to invite from others a return signal of identity- and community-confirming interest (or the opposite: why do you care about that?) The community member shares the quality of attentiveness and joins in constructing the significant space that anchors the specific world; disinterest or contempt signal the outsider, the one who does not join in world-construction. This signalling quality is similar across the fictional-narrative and historical-narrative frames. In the case of 1 Kgs 6, the text provides the paradigmatic model that lurks in all later imaginations of the Temple (future, ideal, polemical, or past). Ezekiel 40–44 invites the reader to move with the two textual personae through the space, to construct it with them but in a different place: the imaginations of those readers. Rabbinic sources take up the task, resolving discrepancies to project both a past-real and future-ideal Temple that could actually be used by human beings. While a spaceship within a fictional narrative has the property of never having existed, the Star Trek material evidences a powerful desire for plausibility, for an aspiration to living use.

Hyper-attention to such defining spaces, and the concomitant act of joining in their imaginative elaboration, takes the form of fan schematics in our contemporary world, but the human activity is much older and has variant forms. It may be the case that the imaginal spaces, those not “completed” by real, primary-world material, are the ones that best have this paradox of fullness and openness to further construction. Willingness to enter that task is a form of love.


Aristotle. The Poetics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982.

Attridge, Harold. Editor. The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised & Updated, A New Annotated Edition by the Society of Biblical Literature. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2006.

Bloch-Smith, Elizabeth. “Solomon’s Temple: The Politics of Ritual Space.” Pages 83–94 in Sacred Time, Sacred Place: Archaeology and the Religion of Israel. Edited by Barry M. Gitten, 83–94. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2002.

Davidsen, Markus Altena. “Fiction-based religion: Conceptualising a New Category against History-based Religion and Fandom.” Culture and Religion 14 (2013): 378-395. doi:10.1080/14755610.2013.838798.

Franz Joseph Designs, Star Trek Blueprints: General Plans Constitution Class U.S.S. Enterprise. New York: Ballantine Books, 1975.

Ganzel, Tova and Shalom E. Holtz. “Ezekiel’s Temple in Babylonian Context,” Vetus Testamentum 64 (2014): 211–226. doi:10.1163/15685330-12341148.

García Martínez, Florentino and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. Vol. 2. Leiden: Brill, 1997.

Hardy, Sarah and Rebecca Kukla. “A Paramount Narrative: Exploring Space on the Starship Enterprise.” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1999), 177–191. doi:10.2307/432311.

Jindra, Michael. “It’s About Faith in Our Future: Star Trek Fandom as Cultural Religion.” Pages 223–24 in Religion and Popular Culture, 3rd edition. Edited by Bruce David Forbes and Jeffery H. Mahan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017.

Joseph, Franz. Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual. New York: Ballantine Books, 1975.

Koren Talmud Bavli. The Noé Edition. Vol. 9, Yoma. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz). Edited by Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2013.

Maier, Johann. The Temple Scroll: An Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 34. Translated by Richard T. White. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985.

Mroczek, Eva. “How Not to Build a Temple: Jacob, David, and the Unbuilt Ideal in Ancient Judaism.” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period 46 (2015): 512-546. doi:10.1163/15700631-12340108.

Newitt, Paul. “An Interview with Franz Joseph,” Enterprise Incidents, 1982. Web reprint:

Patrich, Joseph and Marcos Edelcopp. “Four Stages in the Evolution of the Temple Mount.” Revue Biblique 120 (2013): 321-361. doi:10.2143/RBI.120.3.3200341.

Reeves-Stevens, Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. The Art of Star Trek. New York: Pocket Books, 1995.

Sweeney, Marvin A. I & II Kings Commentary. Old Testament Library. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007.

Van Seters, John. “Solomon’s Temple: Fact and Ideology in Biblical and Near Eastern Historiography.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 59 (1997): 45–57.

Volkmar Fritz, 1 & 2 Kings: A Continental Commentary. Translated by Anselm Hagedorn. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003.

Weitekamp, Margaret A. “Two Enterprises: Star Trek’s Iconic Starship as Studio Model and Celebrity.” Journal of Popular Film and Television (2016): 2–13. doi:10.1080/01956051.2015.1075955.

Whitefield, Stephen E. and Gene Roddenberry. The Making of Star Trek. London: Titan Books, 1968.

Wolf, Mark J. P. Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation. London: Routledge, 2012.

Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapters 25-48. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1988.

[1] I use Italics for the TV show, and Roman type to indicate the secondary world.

[2] Star Trek: The Original Series, created by Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1969, on NBC.

[3] Franz Joseph Designs, Star Trek Blueprints: General Plans Constitution Class U.S.S. Enterprise (New York: Ballantine Books, 1975).

[4] I agree substantially with Markus Altena Davidsen’s definition of “fiction-based religions,” over against “history-based religions” and fandoms. Thus, I do not think Michael Jindra’s case for Star Trek as a religion effectively shows that the fandom has abandoned the play-frame. Star Trek likely runs low on what Davidsen terms the “religious affordance” of fictional narratives for this transformation (p. 391). See Markus Altena Davidsen, “Fiction-based Religion: Conceptualising a New Category against History-based Religion and Fandom,” Culture and Religion, 14, 378–395, doi:10.1080/14755610.2013.838798; and Michael Jindra, “It’s About Faith in Our Future: Star Trek Fandom as Cultural Religion, in Religion and Popular Culture, 3rd ed. Bruce David Forbes and Jeffery H. Mahan (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2017) 223–241.

[5] Mark J. P. Wolf, Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation (London: Routledge, 2012), 20–25.

[6] Aristotle listed six elements of drama and argued that two, plot and character (in that order) were the key drivers of the genre. The others are thought, diction, music, and spectacle. Fictions in which a secondary world is a central feature call for a critical category to address that feature, which seems at least as important, in those works, as plot and character are in traditional fictions. Aristotle, The Poetics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982). See sections V.10–VI.13.

[7] Davidsen, 386–387.

[8] Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, “Solomon’s Temple: The Politics of Ritual Space,” in Sacred Time, Sacred Place: Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, ed. Barry M. Gitten (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2002), 83–94.

[9] Stephen E. Whitefield and Gene Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek (London: Titan Books, 1968), 69. This book is more primary source than secondary source, and is an interesting document in its own right. Several chapter headings make clear religious references, e.g. “As It Was in the Beginning,” “Creation,” (Part I, chs. 1–2), to describe the earliest conception and development of the series, and “In the Beginning was the Word” (Part IV, ch. 1), referring to script development. Whitefield engages in fan-like praise of Roddenberry’s genius, creative originality, and foresight. Most interesting, too, are abrupt transitions between primary-world accounts of the show’s production and in-world description of the secondary world, the ship, and the characters.

[10] Stephen E. Whitefield and Gene Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek (London: Titan Books, 1968), 77, italics mine.

[11] Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, The Art of Star Trek (New York: Pocket Books, 1995), 6–9.

[12] Whitefield and Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek, 74.

[13] The ship-as-star is the central theme of her article. Margaret A. Weitekamp, “Two Enterprises: Star Trek’s Iconic Starship as Studio Model and Celebrity,” Journal of Popular Film and Television 44 (2016): 2–13, doi:10.1080/01956051.2015.1075955. For the model’s arrival in Washington, D.C., see 7-8. The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s digital entry for the object (A19740668000)can be found here:

[14] Whitefield and Roddenberry, 77.

[15] Sarah Hardy and Rebecca Kukla, “A Paramount Narrative: Exploring Space on the Starship Enterprise,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1999): 180, doi:10.2307/432311.

[16] Paul Newitt, “An Interview with Franz Joseph,” Enterprise Incidents, 1982. Web reprint:

[17] Newitt, “An Interview”.

[18] According to Joseph, sketches from the exterior shots, scaled, would make the saucer section two decks high, when it clearly wasn’t. Newitt, “An Interview”.

[19] Newitt, “An Interview”.

[20] Star Trek Blueprints: General Plans Constitution Class U.S.S. Enterprise, drawn by Franz Joseph Designs (New York: Ballantine Books, 1975). Sheet 12 contains a “production record” that breaches the fourth wall of the diagrams and their texts; it lists the credit to Franz Joseph Designs, the approval of Roddenberry, an initial presentation at Equicon ’74, and then the Ballantine publication.

[21] Franz Joseph, Star Trek: Star Fleet Technical Manual (New York: Ballantine Books, 1975).

[22] There is a laundry scene in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), but that’s two decades after Joseph’s blueprints, and already a different Enterprise.

[23] Star Trek Blueprints, sheet 6.

[24] “The Man Trap,” Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1, Episode 5, directed by Marc Daniels, written by George Clayton Johnson, September 8 1966, on NBC. “The Man Trap” was the first episode broadcast after the second pilot.

[25] Eva Mroczek, “How Not to Build a Temple: Jacob, David, and the Unbuilt Ideal in Ancient Judaism,” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period 46 (2015) 4/5, 512–546, doi:10.1163/15700631-12340108.

[26] Mroczek, “How Not to Build a Temple,” 528.

[27] Davidsen, 387–389.

[28] In all likelihood, the object of the First Temple precedes any of the extant textual accounts of its construction. See John Van Seters, “Solomon’s Temple: Fact and Ideology in Biblical and Near Eastern Historiography,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 59 (1997) 45-57,

[29] See Marvin A. Sweeney, I & II Kings Commentary, Old Testament Library(Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007), 2–4; and Volkmar Fritz, 1 & 2 Kings: A Continental Commentary, translated by Anselm Hagedorn (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003), 2–3.

[30] Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2: A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48, Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1988), 552–53.

[31] Commentators treat this as a Deuteronomistic addition inserted into an earlier narrative of construction, which I do not doubt. However, for the purposes of this paper, the vector result of the redaction process must be foregrounded. See Fritz, 1 & 2 Kings, 68.

[32] Fritz describes the inner sanctuary as “a built-in wooden cube,” i.e. a wooden structure built entirely within the larger stone exterior, Fritz, 1 & 2 Kings, 73.

[33] Tova Ganzel and Shalom E. Holtz, “Ezekiel’s Temple in Babylonian Context,” Vetus Testamentum 64 (2014): 213–214, doi:10.1163/15685330-12341148.

[34] Ganzel and Holtz, 217.

[35] Zimmerli lists these verses as what he calls “guidance statements”: Ezek 40:6, 17, 24, 28, 32, 35, 48; 41:1, and 41:3. He, however, is simply looking for a formula and finds none. Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, 343.

[36] Sweeney, 109.

[37] Fritz, 68-69.

[38] Harold Attridge, ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised & Updated, A New Annotated Edition by the Society of Biblical Literature (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2006), 489.

[39] Zimmerli, Ezekiel,376.

[40] Zimmerli, 343–44.

[41] Fritz, 1 & 2 Kings, 70.

[42] I would characterise some historical “reconstructions” in this way too, e.g. Joseph Patrich and Marcos Edelcopp, “Four Stages in the Evolution of the Temple Mount,” Revue Biblique 120 (2013), 321–361, doi:10.2143/RBI.120.3.3200341. The authors gather material from archaeology, geology, and literary sources (which they tend to treat all alike, with little adjustment for genre), along with many steps under the heading of “assume,” to suggest developments of the Second Temple site. The authors clearly intend to make an historicist-archeological argument, and yet candidly if unironically admit that their efforts are trying to reach an unachievable temple—specifically, the one nobody can dig for (327). Thus even scholarship sometimes falls into the tropes of the aspirational temple beyond real recovery.

[43] So is 11QTa, The Temple Scroll. Mroczek’s discussion of it vis-à-vis Jubilees is insightful (Mroczek, 533–535). Since this document projects (an) ideal temple(s) in competition with the Second Temple while it stood, it falls within the larger category of aspirational temple. I am interested here documents at a greater remove from a standing temple. See Johann Maier, The Temple Scroll: An Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, translated by Richard T. White, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 34 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985). See also Florentino García Martínez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, vol. 2 (Leiden: Brill, 1997).

[44] Koren Talmud Bavli. The Noé Edition. Vol. 9, Yoma. Commentary by Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz). Edited by Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. (Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2013).

[45] Tamid 30a does not provide compass points for three of the chambers.

[46] Mishnah Middot, translated by Joshua Kulp,