What might it look like to read Jerusalem, with its cross-hatched encounters between people of diverse faiths and cultures, as a city of the book? There are many books about Jerusalem. Jerusalem: City of the Book (Yale UP 2019), by Benjamin Balint and Merav Mack, tells the story of books in Jerusalem. Prof. Moshe Halbertal has called their book “one of the most intimate and beautiful portraits ever written of Jerusalem.” By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined by its writers and made legible by its librarians, Mack and Balint tell the untold history of how the peoples of the book have populated the city with texts. In their hands, Jerusalem itself—perched between East and West, antiquity and modernity, violence and piety—comes alive as a kind of labyrinthine library.
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