Texts, Landscapes and Imagining the sacred: Constructing Narratives of
For: Narrative Matters 2014, the 7th Narrative Matters conference, 23th-27th June 2014,
University of Paris Diderot and the American University of Paris.
No place has inspired human passion for as long and as deeply as Jerusalem.
Surely, no place has won more attention in the formation of monotheistic
understanding in the ancient Middle East and in the religious thoughts of the three
Abrahamic religions. In this paper I look at the ways Jerusalem is being formed,
produced and constructed as a religious-national sacred landscape in the narratives
of prominent Palestinians public figures. The development of the sacred landscape
of the city begs us to explore the ways different texts and philosophies indeed
narratives have shaped this environment and had such a dramatic imprint on
human history. However, the scope of the current paper is more limited. I am
particularly interested in exploring the interplay between ancient texts and
contemporary interpretations of the built environment as a way to construct a
narrative that sustain and support the national struggle. In order to do so I analyze
over 30 open ended interviews with local leaders (public figures, religious
scholars, intellectuals) and conflate them with texts and landscapes of the city in
order to learn how they narrate the city, its past and present, and particularly its
sacred role in the current national struggle.