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Jerusalem, Jerusalem: How the Ancient City Ignited Our Modern World

James Carroll.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.25 inches
ISBN 9780547195612
Pages/Publication Date 418/2011
Daedalus Item Code 23735
This item is not available.
An ordained Catholic chaplain at Boston University from 1969 to 1974, a scholar-in-residence at Suffolk University, and a columnist for the Boston Globe, as well as the National Book Award–winning author of An American Requiem, House of War, and Constantine's Sword, James Carroll is a singular commentator on Western civilization. In this provocative yet sublime book he explores the centrality of a single city to Jews, Christians, and Muslims—Jerusalem, the spiritual "birthplace" of the three major Abrahamic faiths—and its complex role over millennia of human history.

"Carroll examines the enigma that is Jerusalem—the holiest and most blood-soaked spot on earth—with insight and candor. He begins at the very beginning: Homo erectus become Homo sapiens become Homo sapiens sapiens. He who knows he knows soon becomes aware of death. Death leads to ritual, and ritual leads to religion. And while various religions flourished all over the ancient world, it was in Jerusalem that God emerged. Not just a god, but God, one who recognizes how both the need for violence and the hatred of violence reside within the human spirit. These conflicting impulses are the subthemes that propel Carroll's story across the ages, through Jerusalem's wreckages and rebirths, as the three Abrahamic religions claim the city as its own. Carroll's writing is so compelling, so beautifully constructed, that, ironically, the book can be a very slow read. There is something on almost every page that makes the reader want to stop and contemplate. For those meeting Jerusalem for the first time, this volume makes a stunning introduction. For others, who have struggled with the city's conundrums, either its symbolic meaning in the history of civilization or its place in the modern world, Carroll's reflections will add clarity if not closure."—Booklist (starred review)

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