CITY OF THE GREAT KING: Jerusalem from David to the Present by Nitza--Ed. Rosovsky

CITY OF THE GREAT KING: Jerusalem from David to the Present

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A variegated amalgam of articles on the historical, theological, and artistic dimensions of Jerusalem. Rosovsky knows her Jerusalem: as a native, as the author of Jerusalemwalks and The Museums of Israel (not reviewed), and as a former curator at Harvard's Semitic Museum. If only she had expanded the city's chronology to a full-blown chapter, she could have prevented each contributor from reinventing the wheel of Jerusalem's long, checkered history. Three millennia of historical context is necessary for these articles on Jerusalem's demography, cartography, holy places, political profile, literature, and architecture. But the anthology's historical redundancy doesn't prevent F.E. Peters from speculating that King David built over Jebusite holy sites in Jerusalem, even though Judaism stands alone here as the only faith whose adherents did not (and cannot) build atop the ruins of churches or mosques. Muhammad Muslih does not attempt historical objectivity when he refers to the southern Syrians of centuries ago as Palestinians. Moreover, he refers to British and Jordanians in charge as ""rulers,"" while the Israelis are ""occupiers."" In Jerusalem, politics and religion are intertwined, and the anthology's juxtaposed articles on Jewish, Christian, and Muslim views of the ""Heavenly City"" powerfully underline the different realities that each faith brings to these storied hills. The cited travel literature reveals that Jerusalem was visited throughout the centuries by Jews, despite the perils of religious animosities; by Christians, despite their religion's deemphasis of the Earthly Jerusalem; and by Muslims, despite the fact that Jerusalem is only their third holiest place. The writing here is tolerable, considering the academic credentials of the contributors. This collection might have been less cumbersome, but it's still a fitting trimillennial offering for the world's coffee table.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1996
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Harvard Univ.