Tuesday, November 12, 2013

David the King of Israel Lives On
-- Updated

1857 picture, original caption: "The Tomb of David. This building was formerly a Christian Church; it is of great
antiquity, and much venerated by the Muslims, who allow no Christian to enter the Tomb. There is also
in the building a room which is said to be that in which [Jesus' Last] Supper was instituted. (Robertson
Beato & Co photographers, Palestine Exploration Fund)
King David's Tomb (circa 1900). The original caption
said it was a "Tabernacle."
"Modernity meets antiquity" explains the discovery of most of the photographs that appear in www.IsraelDailyPicture.com. As more and more archives and libraries digitalize the photographs in their collections, they put them online.  The pictures presented on this site come from the Library of Congress, the Palestine Exploration Fund, Emory University, the Central Zionist Archives, New York Public Library, and even the archives at the medical school of the University of Dundee, Scotland.

Tomb exterior (circa 1900)
The 156-year-old photo above predates those we presented two years ago from the Library of Congress' collection.  We reproduce that feature below and add a comment on the rediscovered "holiness" of the site.

A thousand-year-old Jewish tradition believes that King David is buried in a tomb on Mt. Zion. And that is one of the reasons the belief is questioned by some Bible scholars. 

The Tomb interior (circa 1900)
The Bible (Kings I, 2:10) states that David and his descendants were buried in the City of David, generally believed to be south of the Temple Mount, not on Mt. Zion to the West. 

The Jewish tradition has taken hold over the last millennium, and the tomb is revered by many Jews, as evident in the Library of Congress' 100 year old picture. 

King David's Tomb was particularly important from 1948 until 1967 when the Western Wall, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb were all under Jordanian control and forbidden to Jews.  The Mt. Zion site was the closest Jews could get to the Western Wall.

Adjacent to the Hagia Sion Abbey
Chamber of the Last Supper (circa 1900)
(formerly the Dormition Abbey), the tomb is located beneath the room where, according to Christian belief, Jesus conducted his Last Supper.

Comment from Reader "Lynne": The outcome of Israel's [1948] War of Independence was the main catalyst for the creation of a new map of Jewish pilgrimage sites. Places of only secondary importance before the war [such as King David's Tomb] now turned into central centers due to the realization of the importance of them. Previously, there was so much emphasis placed upon the re-establishment of the state of Israel (after having not been a nation for 2,000 years) and the re-establishment of the habitability of the land that the task of preserving the Biblical holy sites had not been a priority. Several categories of the sacred sites are discussed herein: sites in the possession of Jews before the 1948 war that were developed during the 1950s as central centers; sacred sites stolen by Muslims prior to the war, which were rightfully converted back into Jewish sacred sites during the 1950s; and new Jewish pilgrimage sites re-established after the establishment of the State of Israel. The research demonstrates how various official, semi-official, and popular powers took part in the re-establishing of the Jewish sacred space. [Source: Article by Doron Bar, Reconstructing the Past: The Creation of Jewish Sacred Space in the State of Israel, 1948–1967, Israel Studies - Volume 13, Number 3, Fall 2008, pp. 1-21]

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