The Holy Land; Jerusalem City of Jesus, By Richard M. Mackowski, S.J., photographs by Garo Nalbandian. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. $27.50.
Although the focus on this book is Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, the text and photos reach backward and forwar in time to encompass the entire history of that unique city, so central to the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The research is painstaking, the evaluation of all the data presently available generally objective. The book clears up many, though not all, of the ambiguities occasioned by conflicting scholarly views.
Certainly not every scholar would agree with every conclusion. Perhaps most hotly contested would be Fr. Mackowski's categorical assertion that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is at the exact location of "both Calvary where Jesus was crucified and the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea wherein he was in" terred"; other experts are as forcefully outspoken for Gordon's Calvary and the Garden Tomb. On issues not so closely identified with sectarian differences of opinion, Fr. Mackowski is more dispassionate in his treatment of contrary conclusions.
Not least among the strong points of the book is the methodical assemblage of material. Each chapter deals with a specific area of research, as for example, "The walls of the Holy City," "The Gates of Jerusalem," "The waters of Jerusalem." "Fortress Jerusalem." Each incorporates the latest in a archaeological findings and corroborates these by reference to extrabiblical sources. Thus the book could be a valuable reference for serious Bible students.
In addition the various diagrams of historical sites help clafiry pictures of Jerusalem down through the ages, a task usually not accomplished by literary descriptions alone. It is here, too, that the full-color photographs of Nalbandian so esquisitely and graphically enhance the text. Without these the book would lose much of its effectiveness. For this is a cooperative achievement, almost equally balanced in its result as a literary and artistic blending, a harmony of word and picture.