Part B: Analyse the sources

Many primary and secondary sources exist from over thousands of years which make reference to Jerusalem.  In this activity you will analyse and respond to nine sources relating to Jerusalem.

The religious significance of Jerusalem to Christians, Jews, and Muslims is evident today with the large numbers of mosques, synagogues, churches and other religious buildings found there.  But the significance can also be identified in the holy books associated with these three religions.

Source One

For Jews, Jerusalem has continued to be their most holy place since King David founded the city and his son King Solomon built the first Holy Temple there.  It was also home to the Second Holy Temple, remnants of which form the 'Western Wall', a site of great significance to Jews today.  The following quote is about the Holy Temple:

Thus all the peoples of the earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognize that Your name is attached to this House that I have built.
— I Kings 8:43

Source Two

For Christians, Jerusalem is significant as it was there that Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven.  Bethany, the place of his ascension is in Jerusalem:

Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them.
While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven.

— Luke 24:50-51

Source Three

Islam shares many of the same prophets as Judaism and Christianity and this is one of the reasons Jerusalem is important to Muslims.  It is particularly significant to Muslims, however, as one of the places that their prophet, Muhammad, travelled to on a miraculous night journey to heaven and met the previous prophets:

Glory to Him who made His servant (Muhammad) travel by night from the sacred place of worship (in Mecca) to the Al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him some of Our signs: He alone is the All Hearing, the All Seeing.
— Quaran 17:1


These three quotes are all from holy texts.  Have you ever thought about holy books as historical sources?  Are they useful in teaching us about the past?

Using the quotes as historical sources write a short answer to the following question:
  • What do these sources tell you about the religious significance of Jerusalem?