5.01 Jacopo Gnisci

Architectural, historical, religious, and literary perspectives on the relationship between Ethiopia and Jerusalem: Past and present

The ties between Ethiopia and Jerusalem are ancient. From the encounter of Solomon with the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1-13) to that of Phillip with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8: 26-40), Jerusalem has been, for centuries, a place of pilgrimage for Christian Ethiopians. In Ethiopia, more than in any other Christian state, the claim to constitute the true Israel, and the desire to claim Israelite descent, have contributed to the shaping of national identity. Indeed, references to Jerusalem are plentiful in Ethiopia. For instance, in architecture, it has been suggested that the now-destroyed church of Mary of Seyon in Aksum was built as a copy of the Church of Zion in Jerusalem, and that Lalibela was viewed a second Jerusalem. In Ethiopian literature, the best-known reference to Jerusalem is found, of course, in the KәbräNägäst. The presence of Ethiopians in Jerusalem is equally well established. Suffice it to mention, as an example, the involvement of Ethiopians in the ceremony of the Holy Fire. The aim of this panel is to bring together scholars from different fields to explore the past and present significance of Jerusalem for Christian Ethiopians. Ethiopianists have long discussed the importance of Jerusalem both in its idealized form and as a historical entity but a holistic picture of the relationship between Ethiopia and Jerusalem has yet to be drawn. By drawing on multiple perspectives, this panel will make a step forward towards bridging the gaps between different disciplines. In this respect, papers adopting a cross-disciplinary approach are particularly encouraged.

Dr. BERGER HOLTZ Toby Kassa Zander: His Education in Jerusalem
Prof.  GERVERS Michael Solomonic Legitimacy and the Patronage of the Church of Yemrehanna Krestos
Mr GNISCI Jacopo Dreaming of Jerusalem: Art and Power in Early Solomonic Ethiopia 
Prof. KAPLAN Steven Zion as Sign and Symbol in the EOTC 
Mr MENGISTU GOBEZIE Some Historical Notes on the Identification of Lalibela as a Second Jerusalem
Dr. WEBSTER-KOGEN Ilana Ethiopiques in Jerusalem: Dynamics of Music and Pilgrimage in the Ethiopian Diaspora 
Dr. WEIL Shalva  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning (Psalms 137:5)