Jerusalem and the Holy Land
Professor: Joel Walker
Credits: 5 I&S, W available
MW 10:30 am-12:30 pm
Careful study of Jerusalem’s history is of fundamental importance for anyone
seeking to understand the historical development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In
this undergraduate seminar, we will explore the evolution of Jerusalem from its
designation as King David’s capital ca. 1000 BC to the city’s capture by the First Crusade
in 1099. Using a variety of textual, documentary, and archaeological sources, we will
investigate not only Jerusalem’s pivotal position in the Western religious tradition, but
also the cultural and political history of the surrounding “Holy Land” under Israelite,
Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic control. While our readings concentrate on the
ancient and medieval eras, we will periodically extend our inquiry to the present, and
participants will have the opportunity to explore aspects of Jerusalem’s modern history
through papers and presentations. Central questions of the seminar include:
• How and why did Jews, Christians, and Muslims come to see Jerusalem as
a holy place? Which events, both real and imagined, are most central in Jewish,
Christian, and Islamic narratives about the city and the land?
• How has architecture shaped the religious and cultural life of the Holy
Land? How have pilgrims, scholars, and other observers interpreted and
experienced the spaces of Jerusalem and the Holy Land?
• How has the larger social and cultural landscape of the Holy Land evolved
under Israelite, Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic rule?
• Finally, how have participants in these religious traditions remembered,
replicated, and/or reinterpreted the sacred spaces of Jerusalem and the Holy Land?
Note: Add code required. Auditors not permitted. Restricted to History majors only in Period 1. Non-majors may request add code in Period II, space permitting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for add code.