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Jerusalem: City of Longing Paperback – April 29, 2010


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Jerusalem: City of Longing + Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel + To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (April 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674034686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674034686
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Goldhill, professor of Greek at Cambridge (The Temple of Jerusalem), provides an illuminating archeological, architectural and historical guide to Jerusalem's most important holy and secular sites from biblical times to the present. He loves the city, but doesn't romanticize either its past or its present, and a theme throughout is that the city of peace has always been a place of contention. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all vie for supremacy in the city, but many claims to authenticity are false, says Goldhill. He debunks, for example, Israeli archeologist Eilat Mazar's claim to have discovered King David's palace. Ironies abound in a city where the Abrahamic faiths are not only embattled but also intermingled; the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre has long been held by a Muslim family. As Goldhill explores Jerusalem during the Victorian period, which he claims laid the groundwork for much of the modern city, the impact of British mandatory rule, and the city today, he faces head-on the difficulty of telling the history of a place where every fact is contested by conflicting nationalist narratives. This is a highly knowledgeable and beautifully written look at both the heavenly and the earthly Jerusalem. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The historical range of responses to Jerusalem, from lofty piety to base aggression toward the holy city’s religious sites, can be found in this fond yet palpably ambivalent archaeological and architectural guide. Goldhill offers it not for the see-and-flee tourist but also for visitors ruminating over the city’s contested history. Recommending an orienting walk atop the wall of the Old City, Goldhill sequentially leads the reader into the three focal destinations for religious pilgrims: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians; the Western Wall/Temple Mount for Jews; and the Haram al-Sharif/Dome of the Rock complex for Muslims. Respectfully explaining the spiritual significance of these and other shrines around Jerusalem, significance acquired through either scripture or the veneration of centuries, is a forte of Goldhill. Yet coursing through his discussions of the relevant archaeology is the irony that stones seen by the saintly should have witnessed conquest and desecration. Such is Jerusalem’s dilemma, one posed with tact in Goldhill’s informative book, replete with insights to move or irritate any religious or political persuasion. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Caveat Emptor on June 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The reason for my low rating is to warn readers that they shouldn't purchase the Kindle edition of this book. It makes constant reference to illustrations and photographs that are not included in the kindle edition, which severely detracts from the usefulness and pleasure of the book. I will probably purchase a paper edition, however, because Goldhill's text is an excellent and insightful survey of Jerusalem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David J. Chojnacki on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've visited Jerusalem a number of times and always came away feeling dizzy from the experience. The jumble of traditions, layers of history and intensity of religious fervor gave me a headache and a vague sense of disgust. Simon Goldhill's take on Jerusalem--a city he obviously knows well and loves deeply--has given me a new appreciation for the complexities of this most vexed city. Obviously erudite, Goldhill's narrative style is engaging, his touch 'light'. I'll return to Jerusalem, now that I've read this book, and will take it along as my 'vade mecum'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eliyahu on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books to read before you go to Jerusalem, and after. I don't like the author's lighthearted style -- Jerusalem isn't a lighthearted place. But it provides a lot of background that will help you understand what you're looking at.
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By g howard new york on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a beautiful book that I took on my trip to Jerusalem. The details offered up many tips on things to look for. I recommend reading it at some time before, during, or after, it's up to you.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JORDAN on May 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The descriptive part is interesting but the kindle version lacks the illustrations. However, the scary part was the hidden political message sent out in every single part of the book or was it unintentional by the University of Cambridge professor. I personally despised the most the devious and despicable approach of the author to legitimize the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in the minds of the pure readers in addition to his disgraceful way to campaign for the demolishing of Christian and Muslim Arab houses in the old city of Jerusalem around the Holy Sepulcher "low grade jumble" to help tourists get better photographing views just like the King's College Chapel in Cambridge.
As an Arab Jerusalemite of both birth and descent yet forbidden by the Israelis from entering the city, I try to read any book about the holy city, the family house there is similar to the Alami family house described by the author. Although not a historian nor an anthropologist myself, but it doesn't take a genius to distinct the blood of Christian and Muslim Palestinians from Arabian Peninsula Arabs, they are perhaps the decedents of original inhabitants of the land, a mix of Canaanites, Philistines that came from Greek islands, or even Israelites that came from Babylon and Arabians that came from the Peninsula. The civilization of Muslim Palestinians didn't just accidentally appear in the land at the time of the Islamic military campaigns, but it was actually the time these original inhabitants of the land adopted Islam for a religion. Many have tried to capitalize on the fact that Judaism is older than Christianity and Islam trying to justify the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.
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