Scholars of early Islamic history and texts suggest that early Muslim interest in its acclaimed Rock of Foundation, the Sakhra, was directly influenced by the Muslim assimilation and re-imagination of Jerusalem's religious significance to both Jews and Christians. The Sakhra's mythology developed through political and theological absorption and reaction to Jewish and Christian Jerusalem-centered sacred rock mythologies. The Even Shetiyah, Golgotha, and the Sakhra, three mythological rocks, symbolized more than just a natural connection to the divine. They each embodied or witnessed The Truth for their particular religious teachings and community, especially in the face of polemical opposition from other competing communities. By the time the Dome of the Rock was built, to protect one rendition of that stone, sacred Jerusalem stones proliferated and functioned as a multiplicity of competing and real rather than fictive "sites of memory." The focus of this essay is on those Rocks, the symbolism they absorb, and the function they play in the imagination of these late ancient communities, particularly as they jostled for spiritual advantage one against the other. Each sacred rock embodied the religious truths and self-proclaimed superiority of the community for whom that specific rock was sacred.


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pp. 405-431
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