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Jerome Murphy-O'Connor  







Jerusalem, religion, and history  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
22 May 1997

  • Israel
  • École Biblique et Archéologique Française
  • 31.785   35.23
  • Urban
  • Stereo
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  • Stereo=1; Dual-Channel Mono

006 my name is Gerald Murphy O'Conner and I am a professor at Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem (J.)

now one of difficulties is separation of politics and religion, esp. for Americans w/church and state. but what happened was amorphous group Of 12 Jewish tribes losing to Armenians who better organized, so to underpin resistance, Jews elect King Saul. 1020 b.c. Made mistake of putting capitol in territory of own tribe. Davis elected to succeed Saul, looked for neutral ground. And that was original Jerusalem. 017

021 how make it work and everyone accept that capitol? brought in arc. so j. worked as a political capitol because of a religious symbol right from start, politics and religion inseparable in j.

028 AQ -how a symbol to so many?
actually a chronologic and genetic relation between 3 faiths. David made j. central sanctuary of Jews. then Christianity out of that. sacrificed in j. and then Islam accepts both as of the book ancestors.

042 AQ when you see Christians coming here, what happens? see, u got to separate types. some tourists. others pilgrims. Coming, hope they will pray more fervently, find space w/god. always function of pilgrimage to find higher place.

053 AQ so when come here, what happens in them?
I suspect deeply disappointed. Not fairy city anticipated. Holy Sepulcher (HS) not like any church ever seen. The unchristian of competitive Christian groups, groups never heard of, all makes disappointed and unfortunately then feel guilty. Not appreciating this holy place. Can only work if have astute spiritual guide.

071 disappointed because doesn't stand out in way expected. Catholics expect something like St. Peter church in Rome. HS buried among other buildings, Mosques. Go through tiny door, small space, so that a monument doesn't stand out. Second, don't understand that there are Eastern Christians here too, Greek, Armenian, different. So forced to confront territorial claims. What about Christ and generosity?

102 -the religious who served church and came back every night got taxed, said hell w/ that, moved in. so space for pilgrims has been taken, so sense of space is falsified. then fire of 1808 and earthquake of 1927 which further damaged (nice sense of time in this)

119 -the legal structure is such u cannot be christian, charitable, because u don't get it back. can't say for today u can do this, which of course would be Christian way handling things. Once say that, loose rights

126 AQ Status Quo?
Legal document to specify legal practice at an given date. Ever since binding, follow rules. Franciscan want Italian today, but Latin in status quo. Specifies who claims what wall, who want pillar. All in detail precisely to avoid conflict. 140

AQ -who boss now? the communities. For critical times u have riot squad. Used to be muslim, now aq member if prime ministers office.

155 -the Franciscans have procession round church at 4:00 in aft., Armenians have one at 5.00. normally alright, but at Easter, 2,000 pilgrims tag on, not finish. Armenians not say we're in no hurry, or else lose rights. so Armenians plow into Franciscans, as they have a perfect right to do. where get nasty.

174 -AQ -explain helter-skelter architecture?
hard to say. walled city dates to 16th century. not since 1219. meant Bedouin raid with impunity; great gift of Suleiman; bedouin went away; so no one build outside wall. very recent development. so more and more building.

211 -I'm not pessimistic about future because people have lived here. in first Islamic period, more Jews than anyone. Work together because even then main tourism.

230 -AQ -then why hard today? Different today, and easy to say why. in Christian quarter today, 5 shops owned by Christians, rest by Muslims. But good neighbors. When u get Jews in Muslim sector, settler types, extremely aggressive, want to make political point, fly flags; loud music, bad neighbors. not want to live in harmony.

255 -now that is something brand new in the history of the city. In Jewish quarter, no non-Jew can live there. just ask. can Christian buy land there? Jews insist can live everywhere in J. but if Muslim want to buy apartment in Jewish quarter, permitted? No.

290 -I hear this from Islam, but not from Christians in u.s., don't know how widely held. Simply physical fact. Israelis annex J. as far as they're concerned. I referring to Jews moving into Islam areas to make political point.

300 -AQ -Israelis maintain status quo, however. yes, Israelis recognize minority rights.

320 -not majority view of Israelis. hairideem growth. big split, new chasm coming.
(good stuff on solution for Muslims, but not likely)

415 -heaven -JESS LOG. including hell.

478 -AMBI ROLL - 502.

596-AQ --can u. explain idea of holy place, what make it holy? No intrinsically. made holy by the people. Encounter God, make love, kids, continue to cherish and willing to give blood, makes holy, human investment or homeland. True in J. for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Irrelevant who first, 2nd, 3rd.*********

531 -AQ -no way to sort out who the holies? incredible to me that Jews and Muslims both have this place, this rock. because Muslims inheritors and crucial place for Jews and Mosque deliberately put over claim space. Check out decoration, jewels. Clear message, we won, we're right, you listen. That's complexity of J. where all is piled on another.

552 -AQ -no way to sort out holies? oh, could if slightest bit of good will. but when get a Jew who shoots 29 prayers, not good.

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