Conference: The Religious Institutions of Late Antique and Early Medieval Jerusalem and Its Hinterland (Jerusalem, 11-12 August 2014)

In light of current events, including the continuing tense situation in Jerusalem (especially in East Jerusalem, recently right on our doorstep in Sheikh Jarrah), we have decided that it is necessary to postpone our conference until further notice because our first priority is to ensure the security of the participants. We are very disappointed, as we were looking forward to having a productive gathering. We do plan to reschedule the conference, but as the situation is unpredictable we are unable to provide a new date at the moment.

Organized by Sean Leatherbury (Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem) and Konstantin Klein (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg) with the help of Yuri Stoyanov (SOAS/Kenyon Institute)

Attendance is free but, as places are limited, those wishing to attend please email:
sleatherbury (at) or konstantin.klein (at)


In late antiquity, Jerusalem was a centre for the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Each of these faiths transformed the sacred and physical topographies of the city in different ways. However, while much research has been done on Jerusalem and its most famous religious buildings—the Temple, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock—the relationship between these institutions in the centre and the religious settlements, buildings, and complexes of Jerusalem’s periphery has remained largely unexplored. This is rich ground for further exploration, and previous studies of some of the religious foundations outside of Jerusalem, for example Mar Saba and other desert monasteries, have revealed both connections and disjunctions between life in the holy city and in the surrounding cities, towns, countryside, and desert. By illuminating the relationship between Jerusalem and the surrounding regions in the period, this colloquium aims to encourage a broader contextual approach to the study of religion, politics, and architecture, bounded by an emphasis on religious institutions. Scholars from a number of local and international institutions will consider the religious, social, political, architectural, art historical, and literary relationships between Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religious institutions in Jerusalem and the surrounding regions from the fourth through the tenth centuries CE.


Kenyon Institute (Council of British Research in the Levant)
15 Mount of Olives Road
Sheykh Jarrah

Further information: see [the Institute's Homepage]

Ill.: Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem (2014)

Schedule (last updated: 30 July 2014)

11 August 2014

10:00   Welcome (Mandy Turner, Director, Kenyon Institute) / Introduction (Sean Leatherbury & Konstantin Klein)

10:15 Session One

10:15-10:45   Pilaster-enclosure walls from the time of Constantine in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem) and at Mamre (near Hebron) (Simon Gibson, University of the Holy Land)

10:45-11:15   The Binding of Isaac in Early Synagogue Art (Gary Gilbert, Claremont McKenna College)

11:15-11:45   Artistic and aesthetic communities in and around late antique Jerusalem (Sean Leatherbury, Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem/University of Oxford)

11:45-12:15   Questions and Discussion

12:15-1:15pm   Lunch

1:15 pm   Session Two

1:15-1:45   "Make straight in the desert a highway": Desert Monasticism and the clergy of Jerusalem in the wake of the Council of Chalcedon - a prosopographical study (Konstantin Klein, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany)

1:45-2:15   The Monastic Economy in the Hinterland of Jerusalem (Jon Seligman, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem)

2:15-2:45   Monasticism in the Region of Caesarea Maritima (Joseph Patrich, Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

2:45-3:15   Questions and Discussion

3:15-3:45   Coffee Break

3:45   Session Three

3:45-4:15   Caucasian Christians in Jerusalem and beyond: geographical patterns of monasticism and pilgrimage (Yana Tchekhanovets, Israel Antiquities Authority/Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

4:15-4:45   Revisiting Armenians in Palestine in the Early Byzantine Period (George Hintlian, Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem)

4:45-5:15   The Tomb of Nabi Yahia/St. John the Baptist in Sabastiya: documentation and historical analysis (Carla Benelli (ATS/Custody of the Holy Land) and Osama Hamdan (Al Quds-University))

5:15-5:45   Questions and Duscussion

5:45   Reception in the front garden of the Kenyon Institute

6:45   Dinner (for speakers)

12 August 2014

10am   Session Four

10:00-10:30   Continuity of Christian Religious Institutions Under Islamic Rule: Archaeological Evidence from the Jerusalem Hinterland (Gideon Avni, Israel Antiquities Authority, Jerusalem/Hebrew University)

10:30-11:00   The crisis with the Persian captivity of the True Cross and the Jerusalem Patriarchate (614-628): a reassessment  (Yuri Stoyanov, SOAS, London, UK/Kenyon Institute, Jerusalem)

11:00-11:30   Did Melkite Christians Experience Higher Levels of Persecution in the Early Islamic Period? Jerusalem, Mar Saba, and the Neomartyrs (Christian Sahner, Princeton University, USA)

11:30-12:00   Questions and Discussion

12:00   Lunch

1:00pm   Session Five

1:00-1:30   Herodian Artistic and Architectural Influences on the Umayyad Haram al-Sharif (Orit Peleg-Barakat, Hebrew University, Jerusalem)

1:30-2:00   Cultural and religious institutions in Jerusalem during the Fatimid and Seljuk periods (Omar Abed Rabbo, Bethlehem University)

2:00-2:20   A Fatimid inscription from the Haram al-Sharif (Khader Salameh, Khalidi Library and Islamic Museum)

2:20-2:50   Questions and Discussions

2:50-3:15   Coffee and Tea Break

3:15 Session Six

3:15-3:45   Mu'awiya's role in the development of the Haram al-Sharif and its nearby neighborhoods in seventh-century Jerusalem (Beatrice St. Laurent (Bridgewater State University) and Isam Awwad (Chief Architect and Conservator of the Haram al-Sharif, 1972-2004))

3:45-4:15   Islamic Theology for the People of Jerusalem: Imam al-Ghazali's (d.1111) Jerusalem Epistle (Yazid Said, Mater Dei Institute)

4:15-4:45   Coffee and Juice Reception