Thursday, October 25, 2012

Being "Cute" About "Al-Quds"

Can you answer this question?

What We Do and Do Not Know about Pre-Hellenistic al-Quds
That is the title of an article in this book,

The Politics of Israel’s Past: The Bible, Archaeology and Nation-Building Edited by Emanuel Pfoh, Keith W. Whitelam
c. 300 pp., £30 / $47.50 / €37.50

From the blurb:

...historical images—presented as simply given, self-evident and even indisputable—are employed in political readings of the past and used as a legitimizing tool. For that reason, the authors of this volume...undertake a deconstruction of modern biblical discourses on the Bible’s production and the history of ancient the modern political uses of biblical narratives as legitimizing land ownership and nationalisms. Among the topics treated are the appearance of Judaism and its connection to the production of biblical literature, the politics of archaeological practice in Israel, the role of archaeology in the production of nationalist narratives of the past, the relationship between genetic studies and Jewish nationalism, and the prospects for writing critical histories of ancient Palestine beyond biblical images and religious and political aspirations.

Some of the titles of articles:  Some Reflections on the Politics of Ancient History, Archaeological Practice and Nation-Building in Israel/Palestine, Emanuel Pfoh; What We Do and Do Not Know about Pre-Hellenistic al-Quds, Thomas L. Thompson; The Faithful Remnant and Religious Identity. The Literary Trope of Return: A Reply to Firas Sawah, Thomas L. Thompson; History as an Argument for Land Possession,
Niels Peter Lemche; Israeli Archaeology in the Old City of Jerusalem, Gideon Sulimany; Shaping the History of Palestine: Nationalism and Exclusivity, Keith W. Whitelam.

Getting back to "al-Quds" in Hellenistic times.

First of all, Thompson has been

...heavily certain Israeli circles who objected to his earlier study casting doubt on the historicity of the Jewish origin narratives. He then worked on Palestinian place names under UNESCO, but the project was closed amidst accusations of anti-semitism because of Thompson's critique of Israeli practices of de-arabicizing Palestinian place names...

One of his opinions is that the
concept of a benei Israel ... is a reflection of no sociopolitical entity of the historical state of Israel of the Assyrian period....


Secondly, the Hellenistic Period is

...conventionally said to extend from the accession of Alexander the Great to the throne of Macedon in 336 B.C. to the death of Cleopatra VII of Egypt in 30 B.C. Its beginning is marked by Alexander's successful invasion of the Persian Empire and its end by the redivision of the Near and Middle East between Rome and the new Iranian-ruled kingdom of Parthia. 

"Al-Quds" in pre-Hellenistic times?

Well, it is claimed that around 400 BCE, that is, the Persian period, not to be mixed up with the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 CE, there was an
"Increased Arab presence, especially in the southern parts of...Palestine in the later Persian period. It should be remembered that Arabs in Palestine were nothing new... Nevertheless, the great influx of Arabs into Transjordan and southern Palestine belongs rather to the so-called Hellenistic period. When the Persian Empire collapsed, the Nabateans of Transjordan and other Arab tribes had the opportunity to expand, and the Nabateans did so, replacing the Edomites." (according to Gosta W. Ahlstrom, The History of Ancient Palestine, p. 904, Sheffield Academic Press, 1993)

You notice the publication house?  Sheffield Press?  And who will be publishing this book we are discussing?   Sheffield Press.

Now, I am not academically embued to be able to debate the issue of Arabs in "Palestine" before 400 BCE (when there was not real "Palestine").  However, what about "al-Quds"?  Was there such a city?

Al-Quds, of course, means "the holy", "the sacred".  Which people, which nation, which religion, considered Jerusalem holy and sacred?  Islam, founded in the 620s CE?

I am aware of this view:

"Ultimately if the entire world  truly strives for peace in the city of al-Quds, Muslims must retake the upper hand and regain its rule, as they alone would provide continuously the guarantee of freedom of worship and safety for the citizens of the City and they will re-implement Umar's Covenant for a third time. Only then will al-Quds be, as it is meant to be, a City of Peace."
- from Mohammed Abdul Hameed Al-Khateeb. Al-Quds. The Place of Jerusalem in Classical Judaic and Islamic Traditions. London: Ta Ha Publishers 1998 – cf. Appendix, no. 5.

a radicalized fundamentalist approach.

But anachronistically creating an Islamic holy city, not even mentioned in the Koran?

And from whence came its holiness? It's name is the Arabic for Ha-Kodesh, "the holy" in Hebrew, as in Joel 4:17וְהָיְתָה יְרוּשָׁלִַם קֹדֶשׁ.

From the...Jews, who consecrated the city in their national, religious and cultural consciousness - and in the knowledge and consciousness of the rest of the world - at least by 1000 BCE.



Juniper in the Desert said...

"historical images—presented as simply given, self-evident and even indisputable—are employed in political readings of the past and used as a legitimizing tool."
Exactly what this lying Nazi is doing here: legitimising something that never existed! Another part of Hitler's Big Lie!!

Alan said...

The Hebrew language was already old when Abram was born. Hebrew is an indigenous language in between the River and the Sea. Arabic is not.... it is a colonial language imported from Arabia. It is urgent to consistently hammer on this message.