mark-twainJohn Locke as his ship passed

• “…and reached Jaffa August 17th… In the morning we kept by report of the mariners some six miles from Jaffa, but it proved contrary. But because we would be sure, we made to an anchor seven miles from shore and sent the skiff with the pilot and the master gunner to learn the coast, but they returned not having seen tree nor house, nor spoken with any man. But when they came to the seaside again, they went up a little hill standing hard by the break, whereon as they thought, they saw the hills of Jerusalem, by the which the pilot knew that we were past our port.”

Herman Melville describes Jerusalem

• “Wandering among the tombs- till I began to think myself one of those possessed with devils… The color of the whole city is gray and looks at you like a cold gray eye in a cold old man- its strange aspect in the pale olive light of the morning”

Mark Twain

• “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

• “The narrow canyon in which Nablous, or Shechem, is situated, in under high cultivation, and the soil is exceedingly black and fertile. It is well watered, and its affluent vegetation gains effect by contrast with the barren hills that tower on either side.”

John D. Rockefeller’s visit (by Bertha Vester)

• “During their visit we went for a walk. Mrs. Rockefeller and Dr. Breasted went ahead and I was with Mr. Rockefeller. We were on our way to the old museum temporarily located in an old Arab rented house, when Mr. Rockefeller asked me an unusual question. He asked,’ Do you remember, Mrs. Vester, whether it was one or two million dollars I donated towards the Jerusalem museum?’”

St. Jerome

• “Nothing is lacking to your faith, although you have not seen Jerusalem- and I am no better because I live where I do [Bethlehem]” (no need for religious pilgrimage)

Epiphanius of Salamis

• “except for a few houses, and the little church of God on the spot where the disciples went up to the upper room, on their return from the Mount of Olives after the Ascension of the Redeemer. It was built there, namely on Sion” (Jerusalem was in ruins in 130 AD when Hadrian visited)

Peter the Deacon

• “And not far from there is the synagogue which the Saviour cursed. While the Jews were building it, he (Jesus) went by and asked them this question, “What are you doing?” “Nothing,” they said, and he replied, “If it is nothing you are doing, then what you are doing will forever be nothing!” And till this day it remains so. For after that, whenever the Jews decided to build, the work they did in the day used to fall down at night, and in the morning their building was at just the height it had been at the moment when it was cursed”

Rabbi Akiba

• “As they approached the Temple site, they saw a jackal bounding out of the rubble that had been the Holy of Holies. His companions wept. Rabbi Akiba smiled.

‘Why do you smile?’ they asked

‘Why do you weep?’ said he

‘We see the ruins of our Holy Sanctuary, that is now become the haunt of jackals, and should we not weep?’

Said Rabbi Akiba- ‘Therefore do I smile. The prophets foretold both the destruction of Jerusalem and its restoration to glory. Now I have seen the first prophecy come to pass, and I know the second will also be fulfilled.’

His companions said; ‘Akiba, thou hast comforted us.”

Chateaubriand (from his memoirs)

• “After the Benedictine’s exhortation, I always dreamt of the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and in the end I accomplished it. I have been dedicated to religion; the garments of my innocence have rested on its altars- it is not my clothing that should be hung there today, in its temples, but my sufferings.”

• “Here, I wrote Les Martyrs, Les Abencerages, L’Itinéraire and Moïse; what shall I do now with these autumn evenings? This 4th October 1811, the anniversary of my name day and my entry into Jerusalem, tempts me to commence the story of my life. The man who gives France power over the world today, only to trample her underfoot, that man, whose genius I admire, and whose despotism I abhor, that man envelops me with his tyranny as with another solitude; but though he crushes the present, the past defies him, and I remain free, in everything that preceded his glory.”