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The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount

37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195152050
ISBN-10: 0195152050
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Editorial Reviews Review

For the average American watching CNN, the conflict in the Middle East is a complicated affair, mired in an ancient past and an uncertain future. It also seems like a distant story, one that only remotely touches upon the temples and churches beyond the Middle East. Not so, explains Gershom Gorenberg, a senior editor at the Jerusalem Report. In fact, the threat of apocalyptic religious violence is happening now, and it's happening everywhere. It is fueled in part, he says, by Christian leaders in America's fundamentalist churches.

To help readers make sense of it all, Gorenberg centers his fascinating discussion around the Temple Mount, the world's most desired piece of religious real estate. It is where King David erected an altar, where Solomon and Herod built their temples, and where the Dome of Rock now stands. (Cain even murdered Abel, according to ancient legend, over who would own this place.) The Christian far right now stakes a future claim to the Temple Mount, where they predict (or at least hope) the "Third Temple" will be built shortly. Gorenberg offers the impressive research of a seasoned investigative journalist, yet he possesses the narrative skills of a novelist. The result is an enthralling and informative read. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Although Gorenberg, an Israeli journalist, does not specifically address the recent violence at Temple Mount/Al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, anyone who seeks to understand the root of the fighting will find his thorough history of those 35 disputed acres to be indispensable. Gorenberg makes a stellar contribution to comprehending the troubled relationships among Arabs, Jews and Christians in Israel, meticulously analyzing the actions and beliefs of fundamentalist groups in all three religions. Jewish messianists and Christian millennialists insist that building the Third Temple on the site where both Solomon's and Herod's temples stood is essential for the advent of the Messiah, while Muslim apocalyptic believers fear that efforts to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque to make way for the Third Temple will prevent fulfillment of the prophecy about Islam's Meccan shrine migrating to Jerusalem at the end of time. Gorenberg writes objectively about advocates of each stance, slipping just once when he rejects the title of "martyr" for Baruch Goldstein (1994 killer of 29 Arabs in the Tomb of Patriarchs), calling that label "obscene." Gorenberg's prescience is manifest by his calling Temple Mount "a sacred blasting cap" and by stating that "any incident at the site can spin out of control." This valuable study greatly enhances readers grasp of the Middle East's religious and political complexities. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195152050
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195152050
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Tina Silverman on February 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"The End of Days" is probably one of most extraordinary non-fiction thrillers I've ever read. Mr. Gorenberg's timely book is an intelligent, beautifully written revelation of the importance of the Temple Mount in modern politics and religion. The emotionally charged issue of the religious sovernignty of one of the world's most important religious site in the worlds most holy city is a big story with many different players each with a fascinating role. With much grace, humor and painstaking research Gorenberg explains, edifies and ties together all the real-life players in their struggle for power over a small piece of real estate that has the power to change the political climate of the Middle East . I loved this book and have been recommending it to anyone interested in the Middle East, or the religious fundamentalist movements or anyone who loves to read well-written and enlightning works that deal with current world issues. As the turmoil in the Middle East unfolds it 's great to read a book that made sense of the madness and offered insight into the motives of the principals in the present conflict.
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46 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on January 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Those who avoid this book are doing themselves a disservice. Could you have asked for better timing for this book? Is it any wonder that the film that swept the 2000 Israeli Film Academy Awards, Hahesder, was the story about a religious plot to blow up the Al Aqsa Mosque? Is it a surprise that the Palestinian Authority used the visit of a Jewish Israeli political leader to the Temple Mount as a spark to begin rioting over the peace agreement negotiations (just like Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini did in 1928)? Or that MK Ariel Sharon used his visit to the Temple Mount as a ploy for his party's leadership? Or that a best selling series of books in the USA are based the belief of a coming Rapture? All three Western religions conceived of an End of Days. The Book of Revelations read by Christians expects wars and a Jewish antichrist before the End of Days; while Moslems need a Dajjal, or Jewish false Messiah, for its own End Hour to occur. It is a ticking bomb, an urgency for fundamentalists, all focused on 35 acres in the SE corner of Jerusalem's walled Old City.
Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report, and regular in the pages of The New Republic, moved to Israel in 1977. To write this book, Gorenberg, a journalist focused on the nexus of religion and politics, interviewed Christians, Jews, and Moslems, many of whom hold views of an END OF DAYS. All their scenarios focus on the Temple Mount and Al Haram Al Sharif / Noble Sanctuary. I began to read THE END OF DAYS as I sat in a Jerusalem hotel room, near The King David Hotel, overlooking the Old City's walls. It was almost a week before the holiday of Hanukkah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabees, who won back control of the Temple Mount.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Elkana Cohen on November 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After four decades travelling in Israel and reading everything I could get my hands on about Israel and the Middle East conflict, I thought I knew my stuff pretty well. Then I read this book. It not only provided me with a wealth of information that I had never read before, but it opened a dozen new windows onto the complexity of what's going on in Jerusalem. It is smart. It is beautifully written - crisp, concise, insightful. And it is stunningly sensitive to the multitude of religious conflicts colliding in Jerusalem's ground zero. So whether you're a Christian looking for some insight into the Christian dimension to this conflict, a Jew interested in broadening his or her view of the Temple Mount, or a secular person just trying to figure out why peace seems such an impossibility, you will have a real treat in store for you. Frankly, this should be the first textbook in current Middle East politics 101 since Gorenberg takes you right into the heart of what is going on today.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read a large number of books dealing with the situation in the Middle East, but this fascinating volume is one of the best that I have encountered for understanding precisely why so many individuals feel so passionately about their particular stake in the area. Gorenberg, a journalist and scholar raised in the United States but now living in Jerusalem, does a masterful job of taking the reader into the mental and spiritual lives of fundamentalist Jews, Christians, and Islam as he focuses on their respective beliefs concerning the fate of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The specific issue in question is the desire of marginal factions of Jews to rebuild the Temple on the current site of the Dome of the Rock, a Moslem Holy Site, in Jerusalem. In particular, he focuses on the millenarian hopes of extremist Jews who believe that building a Temple will usher in a messianic period of world peace, the dreams of Christian millenarian dispensationalists who believe that these same Jews building a temple is a necessary prelude to the impending return of Jesus, and of the varying reactions of Muslims. Some Muslims, Gorenberg points out, share their own millenarian dreams that are similar to those of fundamentalist Christians, in which a Jewish Antichrist is defeated by a Jesus sent by Allah, who will defeat Jesus and create a one world Islamic society.
Most of the book is spent focusing on the Jewish and Christian participants in this story. Gorenberg is especially good in dealing with the myriad of ways in which Christians are profoundly dependent upon and encouraging of Jews performing their roles as actors in a Divine drama.
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