City of Stone: The Hidden History of Jerusalem

Front Cover
University of California Press, Dec 8, 1996 - Religion - 283 pages
Jerusalem is more than a holy city built of stone. Domain of Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is a perpetual contest, and its shrines, housing projects, and bulldozers compete in a scramble for possession. Now one of Jerusalem's most respected authorities presents a history of the city that does not fall prey to any one version of its past.

Meron Benvenisti begins with a reflection on the 1996 celebration of Jerusalem's 3000-year anniversary as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel. He then juxtaposes eras, dynasties, and rulers in ways that provide grand comparative insights. But unlike recent politically motivated histories written to justify the claims of Jews and Arabs now living in Jerusalem, Benvenisti has no such agenda. His history is a polyphonic story that lacks victors as well as vanquished. He describes the triumphs and defeats of all the city's residents, from those who walk its streets today to the meddlesome ghosts who linger in its shadows.

Benvenisti focuses primarily on the twentieth century, but ancient hatreds are constantly discovered just below the surface. These hostilities have created intense social, cultural, and political interactions that Benvenisti weaves into a compelling human story. For him, any claim to the city means recognizing its historical diversity and multiple populations.

A native son of Jerusalem, Benvenisti knows the city well, and his integrated history makes clear that all of Jerusalem's citizens have enriched the Holy City in the past. It is his belief that they can also do so in the future.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FPdC - LibraryThing

This is the second book by Benvenisti that I have read, and I am quickly becoming a devoted reader of him! The way he writes about notoriously polemical and difficult problems; his (at times) common ... Read full review

CITY OF STONE: The Hidden History of Jerusalem

User Review  - Kirkus

A wonderfully lucid historical, sociological, cultural, and religious guide to the world's most revered and conflict-ridden city, where ``the myths of the ancient fathers are the essence of local ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Quarry of History
The Mute Hills
Hallowed Ground
The Lord Mayor
Blueprint for Catastrophe
A Marketplace of Discord
Unraveling the Enigma
Seashells on the Jerusalem Shore

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Page 3 - Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan ; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.

About the author (1996)

Meron Benvenisti is a former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and the author of numerous books, including Conflicts and Contradictions (1986) and Intimate Enemies: Jews and Arabs in a Shared Land (California, 1995).

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