Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Preview of Minor Sanhedrin Courthouse

The Temple complex housed a total of three courthouses: two minor sanhedrin courts of 23 members each and the Great Sanhedrin of 71 members. The first of these courts was situated on the Temple Mount just to the right (i.e., north) of the Shushan Gate. In these courts the judges sat on chairs or benches arranged in a semicircle facing south (where the door of the chamber was located) and three rows of students, 23 in each row, sat on the ground in front of the judges. Taking into account the space required to seat the judges (their semicircle had a diameter of about 16 amos) and students, and allowing one amah of space between the judges and students where the witnesses and litigants would stand, the minimum dimensions of this chamber were 23 amos wide (east to west) by 12 amos long (north to south).

This is the next scene that I am working on in my virtual Beis Hamikdash model. In the picture here I have just started blocking out the rough dimensions of the room and where everybody will be sitting or standing. The two litigants apparently cannot agree on the size of that fish...

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