Medieval Jerusalem: A Period of Decline

After about 1244 CE, the city remained a backwater of the late medieval Muslim empires and would not again exceed a population of 10,000 until the 16th century. Introduction The history of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages is generally one of decline; beginning as a major city in the Byzantine Empire, Jerusalem prospered during the[…]

Literary Archaeology at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount

A literary alternative to the murderous, supersessionist versions of the story that animates the site. Given the amount of blood that has been spilled, it may be hard for anyone who does not live there to believe that Palestine and Israel together constitute an area roughly the size of Massachusetts with a population nearly twice[…]

Dome of the Rock: Religious Significance, History, and Architecture

Completed in 691 CE, the Dome of the Rock is the oldest extant Islamic building in the world. Introduction The Dome of the Rock (Arabic: مسجد قبة الصخرة, translit.: Masjid Qubbat As-Sakhrah, Hebrew: כיפת הסלע, translit.: Kipat Hasela) is an Islamic shrine and a major landmark in Jerusalem. It was completed in 691 C.E., making it the oldest extant Islamic building in the[…]

Why Did Lord Balfour Back the Balfour Declaration?

Arthur Balfour was a complex character, hard to read. His reasons for backing Zionism may have been multiple. By Philip AlexanderLiverpool John Moores University In early November 1917 Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild received at his home at number 148 Piccadilly, London, a letter from Lord Arthur James Balfour, a letter which famously stated that “His[…]

Palestine before World War I

Zionism began to take shape in 1881 when Russian revolutionaries assassinated Tsar Alexander II. The land called Palestine gave no indication, early in the twentieth century, that it would become the world’s cockpit. Rather, if anything, the reverse. A century ago it was merely a strip of territory running along the east coast of the[…]

The ‘Land of Pales’, an Overview of Ancient Palestine

The region of Palestine is among the earliest sites of human habitation in the world. Introduction Palestine in the ancient world was part of the region known as Canaan where the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were located. The term `Palestine’ was originally a designation of an area of land in southern Canaan which the[…]