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"In dubious Battle on the Plains of Heav'n": The Politics of Possession in Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre

Bowman, Glenn W. (2011) "In dubious Battle on the Plains of Heav'n": The Politics of Possession in Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre. History and Anthropology, XXII (3). pp. 371-399. ISSN 0275-7206. (doi:10.1080/02757206.2011.595008) (KAR id:28173)


Debates about the "divisibility" or "sharing" of religious sites continue to engage historians, political scientists and anthropologists. This paper assesses the issue of agency in two of the more salient critiques of religious coexistence before approaching the Holy Sepulchre, or Anastasis, as a site for investigating the way various constituencies, most significantly visiting pilgrims and resident monks, have dealt with issues of "sharing". It contends that inter-communal antagonisms there originate with elite struggles over the possessions of places - struggles which tend to engage political actors far from the site of the conflicts rather than local communities - and concludes that, rather than accept an "identitarian politics" which assumes a profound "civilisational" attachment of cultures to religious identities, we must carefully assess the "politics of possession" which variously play out in sites of inter-communal engagement.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02757206.2011.595008
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Glenn Bowman
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2011 12:29 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bowman, Glenn W..

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