Lecture 19 – 21st century Jerusalem

Today’s lecture finished up the 20th century Jerusalem discussing how Palestinian formed a new state and continued on 21th century Jerusalem discussing all the conflicts that pursued between Israel and Palestine. After Israel declared independence in 1948, Arabian countries including Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon conspired together to attack Israel. Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike and defeated the allied forces in the Six-Day War, 1967. Israel conquered back temple mount and the old city, unifying Jerusalem once more. Meanwhile, the Palestinians who did not have state revolted in the Intifadas “uprising” in 1988. This uprising led by PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) sucessfully drove out the Jordanian control in west bank and resulted in PNA (Palestinian National Authority), or Palestineian government. The PNA ended up controlling the territory previously controlled by Jordanian. After that, Israel and the PNA representative Yizhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed Oslo Accords in 1993 with PLO recognized Israel state while Israel recognized PLO as the legitmate representative of Palestine people. However, this mutual recognition of political right did not end the conflict between the two states.

In the 21st century, the tension between Israel and Palestine does not decrease as expected after Oslo Accords. The conflicts is even more complex as neighboring Arabian nations like Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon were invloved in supporting their Arab ally in Palestine. Israel was able to make peace with Jordan and Egypt by giving back land acquired during the Six-Day War. However, Lebanon and Syria continued to attack Israel even after Israel pulled their troops out of the Lebanon border. After 911, whenever Palestine attacked Israel, Israel used the attack as an excuse to grab land little by little from Palestine. Israel also built walls called West bank barrier to encircle their territories. This caused problems as these barriers are irregular in setting the border, disrupting the life of Palestinian people. The Palestine’s politics was not stable, too. Hamas regime which is considered as terrorists by western countries defeats Fatah in Palestinian election leading to a civil war. Hamas ended up controlling the Gaza while Fatah controls the west bank area. The conflicts between Hamas, Fatah and Israel remained a big issue in the modern Palestine area.

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Lecture 18 – 20th Century Jerusalem

Today’s lecture focused on the concept of Zionism and how it shaped the formation of a Jewish nation during the 20th century. From the time of Saladin, the idea that Jews should settle in the promised land existed in the Jewish people. Aliyah was praised with Jewish belief that Jerusalem is the divine center of the Jewish people and had the Divine Presence. As a result, the influx of Jewish people into Jerusalem was significant after 1500s. The idea of returning to Jerusalem turned into Zionism, or self-determination of Jewish people, in the 20 century. This movement of Zionsim was not only because the rising importance of Jerusalem in Jewish people, but also dued to the rising anti-semitism in Europe. The nationalism arosed in 19th century led to hatred against minority like Jews who fared well in European countries. For example, anti-semetic programms in Russia and under Hitler led to further immigration of Jewish people out of Europe back to Palestine.

The immature model of a Israel nation begen to form after WW1 which led to the dismantling of Ottoman empire and gave Palestine to Bristish control. In the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916) and Balfour Declaration (1917), British promised a Jewish national homeland in Palestine in favoring Zionism. This declaration led to conflicts between the Arabs and Jews in the area as both wanted sole control over the area. The Peel Commission (1937) in response between to violence between Arabs and Jews prior to WW2 tried to fraction Palestine into two states; the commission was approved by UN in 1947. However, Peel Commission did not work out well with Arabs and Israeli fighting and British departing the area. At the end of the war, Jerusalem was divided into Eastern and Western fraction with Israelites controlling the west part and Jordanian who rushed in during the war controlling the east fraction. Zionsim was fulfilled after the war and Jerusalem became the spiritual symbolic center of Jewish faith and an ideological center.

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Lecture 17 – Mamluk and Ottoman Jerusalem

Today’s lecture talked about Jerusalem under Mamluk and Otooman control. After Saladin conquered back Jerusalem in 1187CE, Jerusalem once again became a Islamic city. From 1250 to 1516 CE, a soldier class of slave origin known as the Mamluk came to power and took control of Jerusalem. Under their rule, Jerusalem becomes a religious center, but was not politically or militarilly important. The tradition of Ziyara or religous visit to Jerusalem started during this period, and Muhammad elevated the religious importance of the city by praising people the residents of Jerusalem as warrior of Jihad (struggle). Many religious architectures were added like Minarets, Summer pulpit and the Quranic school – Al-Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya. However, Jerusalem was not politically and militarilly important. It’s wall was dismantled by the Mamluk due to Crusades during the period. By dismantling the wall, Christian could not defend the city easily if they captures Jerusalem. During the Mamluk period, aliyah, or the immigration of Jewish people back to Jerusalem, also took place. The Ramban Synagogue built by Rabbi Moses ben Nachman became the Jewish center; Jerusalem became the spiritual center for the Jewish people.

After the Mamluk rule came the Ottoman reign. Selim the First defeated the Mamluk in 1517 and Jerusalem surrendered. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ruled from 1520 to 1566 CE did extensive construction, both religious building and infrastructures, and made Jerusalem as a powerful center once again. Suleiman not only strengthen Islam religion by refurbish the Haram, he created a shari’a court with laws based upon Qu’ran. Yet, Suleiman the Magnificient was tolerant to other religion like Christian and Judaism. He encouraged Jewish refugees to settle in Jerusalem and the Jewish population indeed tripled between 1525 CE and 1553 CE. In fact the settlment of Jewish people in Jerusalem, the axis mundi, without a physical teple led to the development of the Jewish Zionism that we will discuss in the nect lecture.

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Lecture 16 Crusader’s Jerusalem

Today we had a guest lecturer, Dr. Ryan Robert, who gave us an overview to Crusader’s Jerusalem. Dr. Robert stated the influence and implication of the word “crusade” in the modern era by mentioning the “misuse” of the word by George W Bush after 911. The word crusade with historical connotation of religious war traced back to 11th century with the European Christian marched east to reconquer Jerusalem, the holy city. Two main factors contributed to the crusade namely the political and religious factors.Politically, the rising Christian Holy Roman Empire was hostile to the expansion of the new religion Islam and its control over the Asian minors . Religiously, conflicts between Christian pilgrims and Islamic residents in Jerusalem led to tension; the Pope Urban the Second also called for a crusade which gives “remission of sins if they[crusaders] come to the end of this fettered life while marching by land, crossing by sea or in fighting the pagan”. Both political and religious factor increased the emtion against Islamic control in Anatolia and levant and Pope Urban 2’s speech served as the last push to start the crusade of all people including peasants and nobles in 1095CE.

However, the early crusaders mainly consisted of peasants without much resource was easily defeated. Only the Noble crusaders who were well prepared sucessfully landed at Akko from sea and retook Jerusalem in 1099. Badlwin, a noble, became the King of Jerusalem, among three other newly formed Latin Kingdoms. Jerusalem was made into 4 quarters: Patriarch’s , Templar’s, Armenian, and Syrian quarters. During the reign of the crusader, existing Islamic mounments like Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque were modified, the Christain churched destroyed by Mulims were also rebuilt. The Church of Holy Sepulcher (destroyed by Caliph Al-Hakim in 1099CE), and Church of St. Mary were reestablished. 42 New Christian temples were build during crusader’s period. The Templars also set up their domain in the Temple Mount, and pledged to protect all Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem. However, good time did not last long for the Christians. In 1187, Saladin routed Crusaders at Horns of Hattin, and Jerusalem  surrendered to Saladin shortly after. Jerusalem was once again under Muslim control.

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Lecture 15 – Islamic Jerusalem

Today’s lecture focused on the Islamic Jerusalem after the last pre-islamic Perisam empire took over Jerusalem from Roman empire in 614 BC. Even though the Byzantine emperor Heraclius retook the city in 628 CE, Muslim Caliph, or leader, Umar took Jerusalem in 638 CE. From then on, Jerusalem was turned into a Islamic city. The division between Caliphs Ali and Muawiya led to the Shiite(kingship based) and Sunnis (tradition based) sects. The Islamic Jerusalem was renamed as Bait Maqdis and the temple mount was named as Harem al-Sharif or “the noble sanctuary”. Although a Islamic city, Jerusalem tolerated Jews and Christian in the city. Becasue of its earlier religious importance, Jerusalem was set as a alternative shrine for Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. However, the Kaaba in Mecca still served as the primary Qibla or the direction of prayer.

The next part of the lecture focused on the architectures on temple mount, or Haram al-Sharif, under the reign of Umayyad dynasty. For the Dome of the Rock, it was built by Abd al-Malik in 691CE; there is no picture of human or animal on the structure, instead the decoration rely mainly on geometric design and calligraphy. Dome of the Rock was designed by Christian architects and built in the shape of Byzantine Martyria, an octagonal structure. On the wall of the shrine, inscription condemned Christian doctrine of trinity as “exaggerate” and “Jesus was only a messenger of god” and “God is only One God”. Many more islamic tradition were associated with the Dome. Another important structure on the temple mount was the Al-Aqsa Mosque or “The Farthest Mosque” (with regard to Mecca). It was built between 705 and 715CE by Caliph Walid al-Malik above the Stables of Solomon. It served as the third important Mosque in Islam.

The most interesting fact in this lecture was the decorations on the Islamic family door during their pilgrimage to Mecca. The decoration acted as a symbol of sacred mission that prevent robbery when the resident was on Hajj. Robbing a Hajj door was considered as a very severe crime in the Muslim world.

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Lecture 14 – Byzantine Jerusalem

Byzantine period from 312 to 637 CE was a time when Christianity arose to prominence. After the temple was destroyed in 70 CE by Titus, one Jewish sect – Christianity adopted spiritual practice of Judaism. This new sect of Judaism worship Jesus and god in their mind and through action, not on the temple mount. Because the belief and practice of Christianity predicted the destruction of the temple (By Jesus) and the allowed practices without the temple, it gained wide support from Jews after they are exiled from Jerusalem. After the rise Contantine the Great, Christianity was even legalized and the chi-rho symbol(Christogram) was put on the shield of Constantine’s soldier in the battle of Milvin Bridge. Under Constantine and the Council of Nicaea, Christianity was unified with one orthodoxy under the doctrine of trinity.

Christianity moved from Jerusalem toward the West especially to Rome and thrived during the Byzantine period. COnstantine’s mother, Helena, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and dedicated the Church of Nativity, Church of the Ascension and rededicated the CHurch of Holy Selpucher (at the place where Jesus was supposedly crucified). Under the reign of Theodosius, Christianity was named the State Religion. The royal family from that time on, all practiced CHristianity and made pilgrimages to Jerusalem. For example, Empress Eudocia, wife of Theodosius the Second, pilgrimage to Jerusalem and practice charity there; Justinian built the New Church, CHurch of Holy Zion and expanded Cardo into ceremonial Promenade. The Holy Sepulcher built by Helena was set as the new axis mundi and many myths were modified to jusitfy this axis mundi: the binding place of Issac was changed from mount Zion to Holy Sepulcher. Many new myths were added to the site such as the tomb of Adam was at the Golgotha. Christianity thrived under Byzantine period and replaced Judaism in Jerusalem as the main religion.

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Lecture 13 – Jerusalem in revolt.

After the death of Herod the Great, the Judean kingdom was divided between his three sons  – Archelaus who ruled the central Judea with Samaria and Jerusalem, Herod Antipas who became the tetrarch of Perea and Galilee, and Herod Philip who became the tetrarch ofIturea and Trachonitis. Like their father, none of them was popular to the Jews because of their origin. Moreover, they were not as effective as their father, so Herodian rulers were gradually replaced by Roman procurators. However, the ineffectiveness of the rulers and the rise of nationalism/messianism sparked the first revolt in 66-73CE called the “Great Revolt”. The 1st revolt was recorded in Flavius Josephus’ historical annals. As a former revolt general, Josephus was captured by Vespasian (the general at that time) and flattered  him that he would one day became the emperor of the empire. From that time on, Josephus worked as a historian who wrote pro-Roman histories. Vespasian later indeed became the emperor and his son complete the Judean subdue. The rebellion retreated to Masada after the siege and commited suicide in 73CE. The temple was also destroyed in 70CE.

The second revolt or “Bar-Kokhba” Revolt broke out again in 132 – 135 CE. The rise of messianism drove another revolt; however, the revolt failed more miserably than the first one and lasted for only three years. After this revolt Jerusalem was rebuilt as a Roman city called Aelia Captolina by Hadrian, the Judean province was also renamed as the Syria-Palestina. Jews were forbidden to visit Jerusalem except on 9th of Ab to prevent further revolt. Because of this “exile”, the nature of Judaism changed from temple based to one based on diverse opinions. The sect Christianity also developed during this period of time.


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Lecture 12 – Roman Jerusalem under Herod the Great

Tuesday’s lecture focused on the Roman Jerusalem after the Hasmonean dynasty. Because of the infighting and ineffective government, Hasmonean was falling apart when Roman general Pompey led his army to Jerusalem. Hyrcanus the Second became the ethnarch (ruler of a region under the Roman empire) of the area, under the supervision of Antipator as procurator. The son of Antipator, Herod, succeeded his father and gained Roman support; he became the king of client king of Judea and efficiently ruled Judea in a dictator manner. Herod the Great was paranoid and impulsive, he wanted to build himself as a mighty king. Therefore, he executed many massive building projects such as his expansion of the Secone Temple. Herodian Second temple was larger than 172000 square yards with 80 feet high walls. Herod also built theater, palace and citadel; his building projects made Judea prosperous by offering many job opportunities. Under Herod Judah was stable and good. However, Herod was hated by the Judahites because of his paranoid and half-Jew origin. Herod tried to assimilate into Jewish culture by expand the temple, married Hasmonean princess Mariamme, and allowed Jews to select their own high priest, yet he was not popular because of his origin and the fact that he worked for Roman not for the god.

We also mentioned about Jesus and how there is no solid archaeological evidence for his existence. However, most scholars believed that Jesus was indeed a real person and was a prophet, rabbi, teacher and savior. There were many interesting “evidence” for the existence of Jesus, Yet some of them are fake, while other of them can not completely prove Jesus’ existed. For example, the crucified ankle bone can only suggest the practice the existence of crucification in Jerusalem, nut not the fact that Jesus was indeed crucified before.

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Lecture 11 – Hellenistic and Hasmonean Jerusalem

Today’s lecture focused on the two periods after the Babylonian reign over Jerusalem, the Hellenistic and Hasmonean regime. During the reign of the Babylonian, High priests gradually replaced the Davidic king line in power and this trend followed through the Hellenistic and Hasmonean period. In 333BCE, Alexander the Great defeated the Babylonian king Darius and annexed Jerusalem as the vassal state. After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was divided between Ptolemies and the Seleucids. The Egyptian Ptolemies ruled Jerusalem from 320 – 201BCE, where as the Seleucids ruled the city from 201 to 164 BCE. During the reign of the Ptolemies, Jerusalem had its autonomy in choosing their own High priest. However, when Seleucids gained control, they forcibly imposed Hellenization onto Jerusalem. Seleucids’ regime aggressively imparted Greek culture and language onto the Jews. For example, the Greeks built theater and Gymnasium to turn Jerusalem into a Greek Polis. Even Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek in Septuagint. Not only was the Seleucids tried to Hellenize Jews, they disregarded priesthood. Antiochus the fourth even sold High Priesthood and insulted the God bysacrificing pig on the temple altar. This forceful Hellenization finally led to Revolt and the rise of the Hasmonean Dynasty.

The conservative Jews led by Maccabean who resent Hellenization applied guerilla warfare against the Seleucids army and essuccessfully established the Hasmonean dynasty in 164BCE. Hasmonean king said they would only rule temporarily and would yield to Davidic king. However, in reality, they ruled in an absolute monarchy. Under the Hasmonean dynasty, rulers assumed both the office of king and priesthood, controlled both politics and religion. Hasmonean also forcibly Judaized surrounding gentile regions.  During this period two parties arose as the Sadducees and the Pharisees. This parties clasheed on values like rich and poor, Hellenization and anti-Hellenization, religious value, and also the importance of the temple. The clash of party and corruption in Hasmonean rigime finally led to the Roman conquest.

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Lecture 10 – Persian Jerusalem

Today’s lecture began the discussion about the Persian Jerusalem or the 2nd Temple Period (539BCE-70CE). After the exile of Jews and destruction of temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586BCE, the jews lived in Babylon with cognitive dissonance. Many followers of Judaism tried to rationalize their reality including the prophet Ezekiel. He envisioned a new mobile shrine of god in a wheeled “Ark of covenant”. Ezekiel also imagined a utopian Jerusalem where the Divine Presence will return to Jerusalem. Ezekial’s vision was fulfilled somewhat by the Persian King Cyrus the Great. He helped the return of Jewish people back to Jerusalem after he conquered the Babylonian empire. To foster his image as liberator, Cyrus helped the Jews to rebuilt their temple and also appointed Davidic line as King. Because of these deeds, he was referred by people with Jewish faith as the annointed one even he was not from Davidic line. The Biblical author rationalize the history by designating a foreign king as God’s chosen deliverer.

The influence of Persian rule on Judaism was enormous. Not only was the Cyrus portrayed as a Messiah in the Bible, Judaism was greatly impacted by Persiam religion (Zoroastrianism) since Bible was believed to be written after this period. The introduction of angels and evil counter part (Satan) in Bible, YWEH became a universal God of love, perfect, remote. Two Biblic books Ezra and Daniel were even written in Aramaic instead of Hebrew. There were also many overlapping story (Adam and Eve vs. Mashya and Mashyana) in both religions. After the return of Jewish people to Jerusalem, Davidic line and prophets governed the place under the supervision of Persian empire. The Prophets, Zechariah and Haggai, and the Davidic king Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple between 520-515BCE under Darius 1. Jerusalem got back their religion and temple, however, under the foreign control. There were tension in the city, too, as re-exiled Jews took on the local, never-been-exiled Jews.

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