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A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths by [Armstrong, Karen]
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A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Review

‘A wonderful book: wise and compassionate, lucid and intelligent, balanced and fair.’
William Dalrymple

‘A triumph’
Ian Gilmour, London Review of Books

‘Splendid … essential reading for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.’ John Ash, Washington Post

‘Deftly told … Armstrong is a knowledgable guide, and this is a sober and articulate tour of a complex subject and a city where, as she puts it, history is a dimension of the present.’ James Owen, Literary Review

From the Back Cover

Jerusalem has probably cast more of a spell over the human imagination than any other city in the world. Held by the faithful to contain the mountain upon which Abraham offered up Isaac, the site of the Hebrew Temple, the hill of Christ's crucifixion, the tomb of the Virgin Mary and the rock from which the prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven, the city has been celebrated and revered for centuries by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Karen Armstrong uncovers each layer of the history of this great palimpsest of a city. Her book is a history of the city – and it is more than that: it is, in Karen Armstrong's words, "an attempt to find out what Jews, Christians and Muslims have meant when they say the city is 'holy' to them, and point out some of the implications of Jerusalem's sanctity in each tradition."

"A luminous history of Jerusalem… [Armstrong's] book, imbued with sympathy for all three religions, added to careful scholarship and deep knowledge of theology and history, is a triumph."
IAN GILMOUR, 'London Review of Books'

"It is a brave person who ventures into this historical minefield… But a book has been published which is the closest we are likely to get to historical balance on the subject. This is Karen Armstrong's excellent 'History of Jerusalem'… She gives space to the hopes and aspirations of all the people for whom Jerusalem is holy… There is a vital need for an even-handed chronicler like Karen Armstrong, who is not afraid to stand up and speak unwelcome truths. A thread of real compassion runs through her book."
WILLIAM DALRYMPLE, 'Independent'

"A book to be taken in large gulps… 'A History of Jerusalem' combines a flowing narrative with Karen Armstrong's accustomed sharp breaks for stimulation… This book should be read, not only by travellers and potential travellers in Jerusalem, but by all of us. Jerusalem remains the most remarkable place in the world and Karen Armstrong is as good a guide as we could want."
STEPHEN TUMMIN, 'Daily Telegraph'

"Balancing awesome erudition with admirable clarity and elegance, Karen Armstrong's book guides the general reader through … what, since Biblical times seems to have been a minefield of ethnic and religious sensibility… A sobering study in human intolerance."
SCOTSMAN


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5565 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HY5GN6O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #274,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 22 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Karen Armstrong has written a book which is both informative and enjoyable to read. She takes us from the first settlements in this area right up to the present day. She shows us how important the ownership of both land and buildings has been and is to the occupants of this city. Throughout its history there has been a struggle for ascendancy between Jews, Christians and Muslims.Various holy buildings have been demolished, added on to or built over as they have passed between the different religons. Not only disputes between the different faiths but also amongst the different Christian sects The author gives a very fair and balanced account and helps the reader, who may be looking at Jerusalam from a western Christian point of view, to have a better understanding of the Muslims position. She points out that when Saladin took Jerusalam from the crusaders the Christians were allowed to leave and were not slaughtered, even though this meant some of them left for the coast in order to carry on fighting I would say this book is essential reading for anyone hoping to understand the dilemma that Jerusalam poses today and how peace in the Middle East will only come when Jerusalam is at peace.
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Format: Paperback
Karen Armstrong writes very well. Her Jerusalem One City , Three Faiths traces the history of Jerusalem through its early Jewish rulers and then its Christian inhabitants under Roman rule , then under Muslim rulers and finally as a city in the state of Israel. The book was written in 1996 and ends with the assessment that the prospect of peace looks bleak. This has not changed in 2011. The Ballantine 2005 edition carries a wonderful interview with Armstrong.

There are two other outstanding books on Jerusalem. They are Jerusalem by F. E. Peters 712 pages Princeton Univ Pr (October 30, 1995) and Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore 688 pages Knopf (October 25, 2011).

FE Peters' book contains useful commentary as well as selections of eyewitness accounts from pilgrims and travellers to Jerusalem, and quotations from the Bible. Montefiore's book is the latest and it has a gripping historical narrative of the rulers who ruled Jerusalem as well as the politicians, saints and travellers associated with Jerusalem .
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author uses the bible as evidence for the bible. She takes the bible history as proof that the bible history is true. Sure she says we live our lives by the stories we tell. It is true that bible is about stories we tell. It is not proof of its history.
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By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
While this is a superb, fair-minded and empathetic history of the city which will be enlightening to all except very knowledgeable specialists, it is at the same time Karen Armstrong's meditation on the "sacred geography" conceived by the three faiths in its spiritual and its material form. She is very sympathetic to and receptive of the spiritual ideals of all three faiths, and is dismayed by how so often they have all been debased by bitter rivalries (between as well as within religions), by demands for exclusivity and domination, as well as by the "idolatry to see a shrine or a city as the ultimate goal of religion". This is something the wisest theologians - few, alas, in number - have taught. At the same time, however, a material shrine is one expression of one's spiritual identity, so that the perceived threat or the destruction of a shrine - let alone expulsions and exile - are experienced as violations of one's spiritual identity. She shows that the potency of religious symbolism is such that even secular nationalism (to which she perhaps does not pay quite enough attention) has recourse to it. She shows how the best periods in the history of the city have been those few when the rulers of one faith or ethnicity have respected the faith, ethnicity and buildings of another. She is not optimistic that such wisdom is available in Jerusalem in the near future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took a little while to get into this volume but once I had, I consistently read it to the end - and learnt a lot in the process. It is a very interesting book and helps to give a much clearer picture of why there is so much upheaval in that area nowadays as well as being a thoroughly researched and unbiased historical record. Would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
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By CJ Craig VINE VOICE on 13 May 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I became aware of this book while reading Simon Sebag Montifiore's Jerusalem: The Biography, which I highly recommend. In his preface he praises Armstrong's book. It is clear why he does so. Karen Armstrong has given the reader a thorough and highly intelligent history of the three monotheistic faiths that find the roots of their faith in Jerusalem. She does so with the utmost clarity and, I think, impartiality. Her scholarship is detailed and her writing flows, carrying the reader carefully through the centuries of peace and war in this very unique city. A solid foundation for any serious scholar or casual reader in religious history, a particular faith or the history of Jerusalem.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Although There is a great deal to interest in the early history of Jerusalem I found this book to somewhat fragmented, with lots of supposition supplied by Karen Armstrong, and the bits that kept harking back to someone who had died several chapters back but was now almost resurrected were irritating.
I was looking with interest to see what actual record of Jesus there was, and of course there was none, he gets slipped in on a donkey, scourged and crucified, within a page and a half, I think it was. No record of any of this, she must have had a bible on her lap.
On the whole I think the book needs tightening up, it could have been at least a third shorter without the repetitions.
I give it 4 stars because there is a great deal of information but it has to sieved through, and separated into fact and fancy.
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