The Holy City In History

Jerusalem: The Tragedy and the Triumph, by Charles Gulston (Zondervan, 1978, 302 pp., $12.95), and Jerusalem as Jesus Knew It by John Wilkinson (Thames and Hudson, 1978, 208 pp., $8.95), are reviewed by William Sanford LaSor, professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

These two books on Jerusalem are both good, but quite different. Gulston’s work seeks to give us a portrait of Jerusalem that stresses the emotional impact on the reader, whereas Wilkinson’s volume deals entirely with the Jerusalem of Jesus’ day, and is principally concerned with determining the scientific acceptability of the various sites. Each has its place, and both are necessary for careful study of the city that is holy to three faiths.

Gulston paints on a very broad canvas. He gives us the story of Jerusalem from the time of David to A.D. 1973, and then moves ahead into the Millennium. He sees history as moving toward a goal, and he sees the reestablished Israel in the messianic age as that goal. Everything else fits into that view of history. Such a view is probably not scientifically defensible, and perhaps not even scientifically credible. It is based on faith. But that does not invalidate the view. Even science would never move into new areas if it were not for the visions of men of faith. In the opinion of this reviewer, Gulston’s faith is based on biblical teachings, therefore he deserves careful consideration by biblical students.

Part I deals with Jerusalem in the pre-Christian era. Part II covers the period from the arrival of the Romans to the end of the earthly life of our Lord. Part III includes the two Jewish revolts, the various rulers of Jerusalem, from the Romans to the present ...

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