Theorising sacred place in Jerusalem: identity, yearning, and the invention of tradition

Emma O´Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


This article offers a theoretical approach to the concepts of sacred place, identity, and religious tradition in the context of Jerusalem, in which disputes over sacred place are highly contentious. It explores contemporary theories on claims to sacred place as expressions of power, and the invention of tradition, offering a critical reading that argues for the inherent dignity of religious traditions of sacred place. The aim of this exploration is to provide a way of understanding how the attachment to sacred places reflects not only the struggle for power, but also the hopes, fears, and needs of religious communities. It concludes by proposing that religious claims to sacred place are essential to religious and cultural thriving, and in this way, the attachment to sacred place can also serve as a valuable site of interreligious understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-285
JournalJournal of Beliefs and Values
Issue number3
Early online date2017 May 26
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 2

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Religious Studies


  • identity
  • interreligious
  • Jerusalem
  • sacred place


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