The Wider View

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), April 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

The Wider View


EVERY Easter, the eyes of the Christian world are drawn to Jerusalem, site of Jesus's crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

Yet it also holds a central place in the other two Abrahamic faiths - Judaism and Islam.

The walled Old City is about a third of a mile square and has been fought over for thousands of years. Jewish tradition says it was founded by Abraham's ancestors and became capital of the Biblical Kingdom of Israel under King David in about 1000BC.

It was said to be the place where Abraham, patriarch of Jews and Arabs, offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.

David's son Solomon built the first Temple on the spot, now called Temple Mount.

In Judaism, it is also the place where God gathered dust to create Adam, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept and where the Second Temple was built after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians and the Jews exiled. It is where many Jews believe the third, and final, Temple will be built.

To Muslims, the site is where Mohammed ascended into heaven, speaking to the prophets Abraham, Moses and Jesus before the angel Gabriel took him to talk to Allah.

The ascension is marked by the goldentopped Dome of the Rock, built on the site of the Second Temple in 691. The Dome, with the neighbouring Al-Aqsa Mosque, is Islam's third most important shrine.

Christianity's holiest place is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to be the site of Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and of the Sepulchre, the tomb where He rose from the dead. …

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