God's Mountain: The Temple Mount in Time, Place, and Memory

Yaron Z. Eliav, Author . Johns Hopkins Univ. $40 (353p) ISBN 978-0-8018-8213-5

Previous works on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, such as Gershom Gorenberg's The End of Days , have mostly been journalistic and nationalistic explorations of the claims and counterclaims to this disputed area. By contrast, Eliav, a faculty member in the University of Michigan's Department of Near Eastern Studies, has written an academic treatise based on extensive research during the last 12 years. Beginning with his doctoral dissertation at Hebrew University, he expanded his investigation at libraries in Princeton, Oxford and New York. Eliav uses his impressive knowledge of Talmud, the Bible, archeology, languages, rabbinic texts, the classics and patristic literature to debunk the notion that the Temple Mount was a sacred space for ancient Jews and Christians. According to him, it did not achieve this status until long after the Second Temple was destroyed. In a dazzling display of erudition, he supports his thesis by providing new readings of familiar sources and by citing many little-known references. Defying conventional wisdom, Eliav also claims that there were several Temple Mounts. Unfortunately, most nonspecialists will have neither the patience nor the knowledge to follow his closely reasoned argument, since the book is densely written in often impenetrable language. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/10/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 353 pages - 978-0-8018-9106-9
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