The Dome of the Rock

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Overview

The Dome of the Rock, the beautiful Muslim shrine in the walled Old City of Jerusalem, was fully restored to its original state in the last half-century. Thus, this structure, sited on the third holiest spot on earth for
Muslims, is at once a product of the seventh century and almost entirely the work of our own times--a paradox in keeping with the complexities and contradictions of history and religion, architecture and ideology that define this site.

This book tells the story of the Dome of the Rock, from the first fateful decades of its creation--on the esplanade built in the fourth decade B.C.E. for the Second Jewish Temple--to its engulfment in the clashes of the Crusades and the short-lived Christianization of all of Jerusalem, to its modern acquisition of different and potent meanings for Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures.

Oleg Grabar's presentation combines what we know of the building with the views of past observers and with the broader historical, cultural, and aesthetic implications of the monument. Primarily it is as a work of art that the Dome of the Rock stands out from these pages, understood for the quality that allows it to transcend the constrictions of period and perhaps even those of faith and culture. Finally, Grabar grapples with the question this monumental work of art so eloquently poses: whether the pious requirements of a specific community can be reconciled with universal aesthetic values.

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Editorial Reviews

Courier Mail

This is a little gem. The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, might serve as an emblem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this book Oleg Grabar, a Princeton University expert on Islamic art, considers the building first and foremost as an artistic masterpiece...Grabar points to some major themes with which the Dome has been associated: commemoration of the Creation and the expectation of the Creator's return to Earth, the travels and Ascension to heaven of the Prophet Muhammad, the triumph over Christians and Jews in the holy city of Jerusalem, and the anticipation of Paradise...Grabar outlines a case for considering the Dome of the Rock as a valuable part of the global artistic heritage of all humanity, aside from its sacred functions. It forms part of the third most holy site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina, and entry is barred to non-Muslims. But this learned virtual tour of the Dome of the Rock is accessible to all of us.
— Andrew Bonnell

Times Literary Supplement

In this slender and synthetic volume, the old master has returned once again to his first love, trying to distill a century or more of scholarship into an entertaining and readable...book. It is aimed not at his usual scholarly audience, but at the few hardy—and all armchair—travelers to Jerusalem who wish to learn more about its most prominent building...Oleg Grabar shows not only how long and deep is Islam's association with Judaism and Christianity, but also how Islam and its great contributions to world civilization have evolved and changed over time.
— Jonathan Bloom

Courier Mail - Andrew Bonnell
This is a little gem. The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine in Jerusalem, might serve as an emblem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this book Oleg Grabar, a Princeton University expert on Islamic art, considers the building first and foremost as an artistic masterpiece...Grabar points to some major themes with which the Dome has been associated: commemoration of the Creation and the expectation of the Creator's return to Earth, the travels and Ascension to heaven of the Prophet Muhammad, the triumph over Christians and Jews in the holy city of Jerusalem, and the anticipation of Paradise...Grabar outlines a case for considering the Dome of the Rock as a valuable part of the global artistic heritage of all humanity, aside from its sacred functions. It forms part of the third most holy site in Islam, after Mecca and Medina, and entry is barred to non-Muslims. But this learned virtual tour of the Dome of the Rock is accessible to all of us.
Times Literary Supplement - Jonathan Bloom
In this slender and synthetic volume, the old master has returned once again to his first love, trying to distill a century or more of scholarship into an entertaining and readable...book. It is aimed not at his usual scholarly audience, but at the few hardy--and all armchair--travelers to Jerusalem who wish to learn more about its most prominent building...Oleg Grabar shows not only how long and deep is Islam's association with Judaism and Christianity, but also how Islam and its great contributions to world civilization have evolved and changed over time.
Library Journal
A study of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock, among the holiest of places for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, this beautiful book combines superb photography and clear, scholarly writing. Grabar Sch. of Historical Studies, Inst. for Advanced Studies, Princeton describes the dimensions and physical attributes of the building, the beliefs and practices associated with it, and the source of the decorative features. The writing is supported by the excellent photographs of architectural photographer Nuseibeh, who collaborated on The Shape of the Holy Princeton Univ., 1996 with Grabar. Nuseibeh describes the mosaics of the dome, supplies translations of the inscriptions, and discusses the problems of photographing the area. The volume brings to life one of the most glorious architectural achievements of the Umayyad dynasty and one that is at the center of recent conflicts in the region. This volume deserves to be in every public and academic library.-Martin Chasin, Adult Inst. Bridgeport, Ct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674023130
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 540,786
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Oleg Grabar was Professor Emeritus of Islamic Art and Architecture at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. The Seventh Century: An Empty Space Full of Memories

2. 700: A New Building, Its sources, Meanings, Impact

3. 700 to 1100: The Completion of a Sanctuary

4. 1100 to 1900: The Sanctuary in a New Muslim Order

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

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