How did a provincial hill-town, with no significant natural resources and far from major trade routes, become a holy city for millions of people? That’s the question archaeologist and biblical scholar Robert Cargill seeks to answer in his fascinating new UCLA course Jerusalem: The Holy City:A History of Jerusalem from Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel ( iTunes video).
Cargill, a lively, conversational lecturer, peppers his talks with anecdotes and examples to help make sense of ancient culture and religion. In the first few lectures he’s tackled questions like what makes a space sacred, and how does Jerusalem figure in the myths and metaphors of the three Abrahamic faiths..
The iTunes U feed is video, which allows you to see Cargill’s lecture slides, although unfortunately the oblique camera angle is suboptimal. The video files are often very large, so you might want to shrink them with a program like the freeware Any Video Converter. (see How to download streaming audio and video/ Part 2).