Jerusalem. The Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70


Sir George Adam Smith (1856–1942) was a Scottish theologian and preacher known for his works on the Old Testament and his investigations and research in Ottoman Palestine. Smith’s Jerusalem: The Topography, Economics and History, published in 1907, is a two-volume work that is concerned with the historical significance of the site of Jerusalem and its surroundings, as well as the history of Jerusalem in the period from 1400 BC to 70 AD. The book builds on Smith’s 1894 publication, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, in which he examined the contribution of geography to questions of Biblical criticism. Volume I of the current work is divided into two books, both of which are further divided into ten chapters. The first book covers the topography of the city, its position and nomenclature, and some notes on climate. Smith draws on the Biblical evidence to illustrate the positions of various sites, such as Zion or the City of David, and the history and location of the system of walls are described. Economics and politics form the focus of the second book, with the interaction between the temple revenues, trades, crafts, and industries given significance. Volume I ends with a chapter about the government of the city from the earliest evidence until direct Roman rule. Volume II contains the third book, consisting of 20 chapters. It provides a history of Jerusalem by combining the description of historical events with a consideration of the topography. Although the narrative is primarily focused on the history of the physical city, it also describes the interactions between the different peoples. The coverage of Jerusalem in this volume is more extensive than in the previous volume, owing to the greater availability of evidence. The descriptions of the relationship between Jews and Greeks lead to a fuller discussion of social, theological, and political factors that are not considered in the earlier narrative. Jerusalem under Herod and the city of the New Testament receive the most substantial treatment in this volume, with the author drawing on a wide range of sources from Talmudic literature to a range of classical sources. Extensive references and explanations to these sources are provided throughout the work and illustrations and historical maps are included in both volumes.

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Hodder & Stoughton, London


Title in Original Language

Jerusalem : the topography, economics and history from the earliest times to A.D. 70

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Physical Description

2 volumes : maps, illustrations ; 24 centimeters

Last updated: November 6, 2017