Jerusalem has earned a special eminence among the famed ancient cities of the world. Its sanctity to Jews, Christians, and Moslems has made the city a focus of discussions and controversies regarding the evolving and changing identities throughout its long urban history.
The purpose of the Brown conference, entitled “The Jerusalem Perspective,” is to bring together leading experts in the fields of archaeology, history, history of art, philosophy, theology and geography so as to summarize and evaluate their current state of research as related to this fascinating urban and religious center. A special emphasis will be dedicated to aspects of continuity and change in the cultural sequence of the ancient city. Transformation from the ancient Canaanite cultures to the Judean Kingdom; the Greek and Roman traditions; the Jewish city of the late Second Temple period; the transformation to the Pagan Aelia Capitolina; the change to the Christian Hagia Polis Hierosolyma; the coming of Islam and the transformation to the Islamic city in Medieval and early modern periods including the short Crusader interlude. All these dramatic historical and religious processes had their impact on the physical layout of the city, its monuments and material culture.
The archaeological exploration of Jerusalem, which began in the 19th century, has intensified considerably over the last 40 years. Between 1853 and 2005, more than 1700 excavations were conducted in the city, providing an enormous database for the reconstruction of the physical layout of the city from its beginnings to the Early Modern period. Foreign and local archaeologists have invested enormous efforts in exposing significant areas of ancient Jerusalem, turning its landscape into one of the most extensively excavated sites in the world. In addition to those monuments and objects that were exposed in the course of excavations, hundreds of ancient buildings from the Medieval and Early Modern period have been preserved within the Old City and its surroundings. Early and recent studies and discoveries, as well as old and new theories, will be presented by leading scholars in the field.