Posted by: asianshock | January 7, 2011

Ancient Near East 10W Lecture 2

Today was the first real lecture for my 10W class.  The main focus was about Jerusalem as a holy space.  In regard to knowledge about religious history and information; I was totally in the dark.  Professor Cargill did a good job of introducing the different elements that made Jerusalem such an amazing place.  First he asked the class what were the requirements that made a place sacred.  We concluded that the two main reasons were the belief that someone important was born there or that some supernatural event happened there.

He began by talking about the two main trade routes in the Middle East- the Via Maris and the King’s Highway- which run between the Mediterranean Sea and the Desert.  Incidentally, neither of these routes went through Jerusalem, puzzling historians as to why Jerusalem became so important.  The pictures Professor Cargill included in the lecture gave a different perspective to the topic and added to the understanding of the information.

He went on to talk about the topography of Jerusalem; that it is situated around 3 valleys.  He even gave us a little trick to remember the valleys involving spock’s signature greeting which was quite nerdy but awesome.  These were the Kidron Valley in the east, the Hinnom Valley in the west, and the Tyropean/Central Valley.  These valleys were essential for Jerusalem’s defense against invaders as it would be quite hard for an army to attack from the east, west, or south.  This was the main reason, the biggest wall, the wall of Damascus was built in the north, because that was where Jerusalem was the most vulnerable.

Professor Cargill drilled into us that Jerusalem was known as the center of the world and that one of the main obstacles people had to overcome was water.  They tapped into a spring called the Gihon spring.  He gave us an anecdote about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelites over study of Gihon spring and the concept of using archaeology as a weapon. This was helpful with connecting what we are learning with current events

He concluded the class with two stories from the book of Genesis.  One was the Tower of Babel which was a etiology to attempt to explain the reason why there are multiple languages when adam and eve were the first people on earth (assuming they both spoke the same language).  I found this one interesting, but the next one about Beth-el and Jacob’s Ladder to be even better.  It was basically God granting fertility to those that show their devotion (circumcision).

This was a pretty cool lecture, and I hope the future ones will be just as interesting.

 

 

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Responses

  1. looking forward to following your blog – bc


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