Sacred Sites in Contested Regions


Paper to be presented in Narrative Matters conference

Texts, Landscapes and Imagining the sacred Constructing Narratives of Jerusalem

Nimrod Luz

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.