For a course in the Divinity School, Professor Anathea Portier-Young brought students into the DiVE to discuss a virtual reconstruction of Solomon’s Temple. She paired the immersive experience with her students’ reading of the books of Kings and Chronicles, and timed it to coincide with a lecture on Chronicles that focused on worship. The project allowed students to physically and visually experience the religious environment of an otherwise textually encountered site (only the foundations remain today).
Class discussion focused on was that the virtual experience to allow reflection on the textual descriptions of the Temple, how the Temple functioned as a symbol in biblical literature, and how the literary accounts may have functioned as a virtual experience for ancient Jews living outside of Israel. By situating the model topographically in the Jerusalem environs, the student will have the pilgrimage experience of ascending upwards to the imposing Temple complex. Focus will be on experiencing the Temple complex as a religious space. Creating a reliable virtual model will allow the students to explore and experience ancient reality and what it means to be in an ancient Temple space, an experience that cannot be had in any modern contexts.