Jerusalem has probably cast more of a spell over the human imagination than any other city in the world. Held by believers to contain the site where Abraham offered up Isaac, the place of the crucifixion of Christ and the rock from which the prophet Muhammed ascended to heaven, Jerusalem has been celebrated and revered for centuries by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Such is the symbolic power of this ancient city that its future status poses a major obstacle to a comprehensive regional peace in the Middle East. This work traces the turbulent history of Jerusalem from the prehistoric era, the Biblical period, Jerusalem under the Byzantines, Arabs, Ottomans, British, Jordanians and since, 1967, the Israelis. It examines its political and cultural role through history, its personalities, art, architecture and the conflicts which have beset it for more than 2000 years.
Karen Armstrong was born in Worcestershire. After becoming a nun in the 1960s, she left her order and lectured in literature at London University before becoming a full time writer, broadcaster and international adviser on religious and political affairs. She has addressed US Congress, the UN and Canadian parliament on Islam and fundamentalism. Among her other books is the bestselling 'History of God'.