Jerusalem Book Summary - Jerusalem Book explained in key points
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Jerusalem summary

Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Biography

4.2 (137 ratings)
39 mins

Brief summary

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the history of the holy city, from its beginnings to modern times. It provides an immersive and complex portrait of the people, cultures, and religions that have shaped Jerusalem's identity.

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    Jerusalem
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    Jerusalem was inhabited as early as 5000 BC, and the Israelites arrived 4000 years later.

    The Bible, in addition to being a holy text, also offers an early history of Jerusalem. However, since the Bible contains a great deal of contradictory information, it’s not a reliable factual account in and of itself.

    That’s why we have to use archaeology and other ancient texts to verify certain biblical events.

    For instance, the origins of the name “Jerusalem” date back to ancient Egyptian texts that refer to “URSALIM,” a variation on the word “Salem,” meaning “god of the evening star.” And while widespread archaeological research in the area is restricted by the land’s holiness, excavations conducted in surrounding areas have found that people inhabited the region as early as 5000 BC.

    From there, we know that the first texts attributed to a Jerusalemite date back to 1458 BC, when the Egyptian empire included the entirety of modern-day Palestine. Those early texts show that King Abdi-Heba requested that Egyptian archers defend the city.

    Then, about a century later, the first Hebrews, or Israelites, arrived. These newcomers proved considerably different from the Egyptians as they worshiped a single God.

    Moses would later help the Israelites escape from Egypt, but it was his successor, Joshua, who brought the Israelites to Jerusalem. They struggled for more than a century after their arrival there, from 1200 to 1050 BC. That’s when the Philistines defeated them in the Battle of Ebenezer and stole the Ark of the Covenant, their holiest object, which contained the remains of the Ten Commandments.

    David was born after this battle, though, and he would go on to fight and defeat Goliath, the Philistines’ best warrior. David became a great leader, uniting the tribes of Israel to beat the Philistines and retake the Ark.

    In the wake of this victory, Jerusalem grew – but not by too much.

    The settlement called City of David was built just outside the old town, along with a palace, but Jerusalem remained quite small, especially when compared to the neighboring city of Babylon. It was also during this time that David planned to build the city’s first temple, although it wouldn’t be completed until after his death, by his son, Solomon.

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    What is Jerusalem about?

    Jerusalem (2011) tells the story of a city considered holy by three of the world’s major religions, and which is central to some of the greatest conflicts in human history. These blinks detail the history of Jerusalem, the near-constant battles it has inspired and the fundamental role it has played in shaping humankind over the course of millennia.

    Jerusalem Review

    Jerusalem (2011) by Simon Sebag Montefiore takes readers on an extraordinary journey through the history of the holy city. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Through meticulous research and vivid storytelling, it brings to life the complex and fascinating characters who shaped Jerusalem's destiny.
    • Exploring the city's rich religious, political, and cultural heritage, it offers insights into centuries of conflict and the enduring allure of Jerusalem.
    • Intriguing personal accounts and historical details create a sense of immersion, making the book anything but boring, keeping readers engaged from start to finish.

    Best quote from Jerusalem

    Some have doubted the existence of David, but in 1993, an ancient inscription providing historical verification of his life was found in northern Israel.

    —Simon Sebag Montefiore
    example alt text

    Who should read Jerusalem?

    • Anyone interested in theology, history and war
    • Jews, Christians and Muslims
    • Anyone interested in the crucial precursors to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East

    About the Author

    Simon Sebag-Montefiore is an award-winning British author of historical nonfiction. His titles, including Young Stalin, Catherine the Great and Potemkin and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar have received multiple awards and have attracted worldwide critical acclaim.

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    Jerusalem FAQs 

    What is the main message of Jerusalem?

    The main message of Jerusalem is a comprehensive and captivating history of one of the most important and controversial cities in the world.

    How long does it take to read Jerusalem?

    The estimated reading time for Jerusalem is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Jerusalem a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Jerusalem is a captivating read that provides valuable insights into the complex history of the city. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Jerusalem?

    Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of Jerusalem.