The Holy City

Course Description


Following a chronological order, this course explores the origins, character and ongoing shifts in symbolic meaning of one of the most ancient and continuously settled cities on earth, Jerusalem. Students will acquire basic knowledge of the major periods in this long history as well as of the communities and traditions that have called it their home. Among the skills practiced in this course are the reading of historical sources, the interpretation of geographic and political maps, and the critical analysis of documents produced by different political and religious bodies and contemporary news media.


Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Free Online Bible College

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Course Goals

The physical, climatic, and political geography that conditioned the history of Jerusalem.

Archeological approach to reconstructing the early history of the city.

History of the city's growth, destruction, rebuilding and redesign.

Discrepancies between names of the city and of names for certain places in the city following periods of destruction, exile of populations or the entering of new populations or masters of the city.

Familiarization with basic facts of the political and religious history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as the major communities that shaped the religious meanings of the city and the reasons why these monotheistic communities are attached to Jerusalem;

Basic knowledge of the political, economic, and cultural history of the Middle East, with an emphasis on Israel/Palestine;

Critical understanding of the role of Jerusalem in the current conflict in the Middle East and the origins of this conflict;

Practice of critical reading of news sources and other media (film, web).

Understanding of the formation of religious symbols and concepts and the role of religious rhetoric in political discourse.




 Reference Links

Virtual Tours and History

Ancient Maps of Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem Mosaic (

Virtual Tour of Jerusalem (

The Noble Sanctuary (Haram ash-Sharif) (

The Jerusalem Archeological Park (

Historical Maps and Images

Early Maps and Models (

The Holy Land of the Crusaders (

Historical and schematic maps of Jerusalem (BU collection)

Timeline for Jerusalem

Temple Mount Links