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God's Gold: A Quest for the Lost Temple Treasures of Jerusalem Hardcover – June 12, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (June 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060854006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060854003
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,103,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this fast-paced tale that is part detective story, part travelogue and adventure story, historian Kingsley, editor of the archeology journal Minerva, hunts for one of the most sought after ancient treasures: a golden candelabrum, a pair of silver trumpets and the jewel-covered Table of Divine Presence carried away from the Temple in Jerusalem by Vespasian in A.D. 70. Many believe that these pieces, long since disappeared, lie buried beneath the Temple Mount, while others are convinced that they are buried under the Vatican. Relying on the ancient historians Josephus and Procopius, Kingsley traces the trail of the treasure as best he can. Many in modern times have tried and failed to find the treasure, including John Allegro, the Dead Sea Scrolls expert, who used the now-famous Copper Scroll as his guide in the caves at Qumran. At the end of his travels, Kingsley visits the monastery of Saint Theodosius in the Judean wilderness, where he believes Byzantine patriarch Modestus may have hidden the treasures in the seventh century after carrying them away from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to protect them from Muslim invaders. Although we will likely never find the Temple treasure, Kingsley's bracing tale of religious intrigue grips the imagination. 16 pages of b&w photos. (June 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Indiana Jones would tip his hat to Kingsley, an intrepid archaeologist who has spent 15 years pursuing a very real treasure that surpasses Hollywood's fantasies. Estimated at 50 tons of gold, the treasure of Herod's Temple fell into Roman hands when Vespasian besieged Jerusalem two millennia ago. Roman leaders lavished much of their temple plunder on the Colosseum and other projects. But Kingsley uncovers exciting evidence that a still sizable amount of the sacred trove—including the great golden candelabrum and the Table of Divine Presence—remained intact. Worth at least $1 billion today, this hoard passed through turbulent centuries under the vigilant care of powerful guardians who protected it by repeatedly moving it. It will probably disappoint some readers that, in the end, Kingsley cannot breach the suspiciously locked gates of those he identifies as the treasure's current keepers. (Only a killjoy would reveal the identity and location of these keepers.) But many readers will find that the thrill of tracing long-buried clues to those tantalizing locked gates is itself a great prize. Christensen, Bryce

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Scott on October 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book to read a man's personal quest and theory about the Lost Temple Treasure. That is exactly what I got and enjoyed every bit of it. I have a degree in History and professionaly have found that Kingsley has done a lot of research and investigating- that's worth a lot.
If you are picking up this book because you think that the end will lead you to the POT OF GOLD, then don't bother, because anyone in this field knows that we do not know what happened to the treasure- you should stick with Indiana Jones for a feel good ending. However if you want to see a learned man obsessed with the past (as I have personally been there before) and taking all the steps that he knows to reconstruct a time gone by, than by all means enjoy this trip to far away lands in far away times-and who knows, maybe he's got it right.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ronn Berrol on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Sean Kingsley has written a pleasant, easily readable book with lots of promise, but very little payoff. It is written in a very self-indulgent style, but not in an offensive way. For those with a deeper knowledge of history, there will be almost nothing new, but he does cross many different time periods nicely and weaves the time-line of the temple treasures possible journey in a very accessible fashion. For those with less of a background in the pertinent histories I think you will find enough historical facts and information from the post biblical period of Jerusalem, through the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., with relevant discussions of the Dead Sea scrolls, and Imperial Rome. His Journey will also take you to the early Byzantine era and up to the start of the Muslin ear in the Levant. There the journey rather spectacularly ends, with a rather weak conclusion and false idealistic rationalization.

Kingsley, narrates his travels to many different lands were the Temple treasures may have lain themselves, but as you go with him the reader is almost always left with the feeling that the journey was unnecessary and simply justification to find filler for the book. . The author tries to imply that his journeys break new ground and revelations about the Temple treasure, but each time he then suddenly finds a historical passage from ancient historians that one could easily find on Google, Wikipedia or the local library that tell him where to go next

For example, in one chapter Kingsley goes to Rome and visits many important archaeological sites so that he can get his mind around where the Temple treasures may have been taken by conquerors and victors.
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By Jay Jay on May 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written book easy to read.
Learned a lot of history. Interesting theory on present whereabouts of treasure. Got a lot of ideas for further reading on the subject and on history in general.
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By D. Hocking on November 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Reading Kingsley's book is like taking a run through a pleasant countryside for hours on end only to find you've covered less than a mile. It's pleasant reading, but the author is in no hurry to get to the point. This is a work of popular archeological speculation. There is real evidence here and the archeological detective tracks God's Gold intact for over 500 years across the world to Byzantium. After that the proposed path it took rests entirely on speculation. He is tracking a real treasure that, if found, would shake the world with its implications and it could be where he says it is.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Woollard on June 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Kingsley takes a very educated and intellectual look at a quest that has obsessed both scholars and treasure hunters for centuries, the quest for the gold treasures from the temple of Jerusalem. Kingsley, an archaeologist with a long history of digs and scholarly investigations, brings all of his education and experience to bear on the topic, testing out a number of hypotheses as to where the gold ended up. It's a fascinating story, rich in history, travel details and the real-life details of what archaeologists actually did without the Indiana-Jones derring-do gloss. That the tale ultimately ends flat has nothing to do with the writing and everything to do with the fact that this mystery many never be solved.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ro on August 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that traces the journeys of the Jewish Temple Treasure (consisting of silver trumpets, the menorah, and the table of showbread) in its circuitous journey across the Mediterranean in antiquity. Kingsley is not merely chasing rainbows - his travels to each destination are backed by mentions of the treasure's fate in ancient Roman & Byzantine sources. Thus the book is an amalgamation of the testimonies of ancient historians, archaeology & interpretation, and Kingsley's own personal perceptions and bittersweet emotional responses to his quest. I learned many new and fascinating things from this book: for example, did you know that an ancient gate of the Roman Colosseum held traces of a 1st century inscription, and when it was finally translated it read that the construction of the Colosseum was financed with the war-spoils of Jewish gold? Or that the Qumran ruins, which have long been assumed to belong to the Essenes, have been hypothesized to be a Roman-era villa and that the surrounding land to the west of the Dead Sea was almost completely given over to date and balsam plantations, which brought in huge profits in the 1st century? I never knew this, and I am reasonably knowledgeable about the ancient history of this region. Interesting detours such as these are peppered throughout the book, but always relevant to the author's quest of uncovering the fate of the temple treasure.

Although I find the ancient mentions of the treasure's fate to be incredibly tantalizing, it is Kingsley's own personal journey and emotional engagement with his quest that really pulls me in. Moreover, because the author chases the temple treasure through time and space, following the ancient sources to retrace the treasure's journey, the book is also something of a travelogue. I was very impressed by the author, he writes in a very beautiful and compelling style, and I hope to read more works by him. An excellent read.
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