John M. Lundquist is the Susan and Douglas Dillon Chief Librarian of the Asian and Middle Eastern Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library within the New York Public Library. He has written many books and articles on diverse subjects for both general and Latter-day Saint audiences. The title of this book—The Temple of Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future—captures well the scope of Lundquist's work. He addresses the role of the Jerusalem temple in ancient Israelite society, its role in the contemporary world, and the prophecies and apocalyptic notions about its future. The book mostly focuses on the ancient temple and its different phases, as well as its meaning to Western religious communities—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—covering six of the eight chapters. In addition to these chapters, one chapter discusses the meaning of the temple in our day, and one looks at the influence of the future temple of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic apocalyptic ideas.
The book incorporates complex archaeological, architectural, and typological discussions of the Jerusalem temple in comparison with other ancient Near Eastern temples, vocabulary, mythologies, rituals, and cosmologies. Since there are no "architectural or decorative or archaeological remains from this Temple known to have survived to the present time," Lundquist relies heavily on textual accounts from "scriptural and historical records, as well as eyewitness account from ancient times." He also looks at the archaeological excavations from the Syro-Palestinian cultural area to learn more about the Jerusalem temple through comparison with other temples of the same period.