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The notion of Jerusalem as a holy city

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Chapter Summary

The centrality of Jerusalem's temple is of crucial importance for the question of when Jerusalem became a holy city. When was it built, and when did it become the central sanctuary of ancient Israel? The problem is that archaeologically no trace of this temple has been found. Not one stone or object can be traced back to this edifice, which in literature and tradition has become the most glorious building of ancient times. When a sanctuary serves as the central shrine for a large community, regular pilgrimages become important aspects of the cult of the shrine. A pilgrimage network establishes itself, with public institutions and facilities for the pilgrims: hostels, restaurants, shops, priests and scribes. Jerusalem was the capital of Judah, and the most important town of a hierarchically structured settlement system.

Keywords: ancient Israel; holy city; Jerusalem's temple; Judah; pilgrimage network



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