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Jerusalem: City of the Book

by Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint Yale University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 272 pages
AU$49.99 NZ$52.17
Product Status: In Stock Now
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In this enchanting book, Merav Mack and Benjamin Balint explore Jerusalem’s libraries to tell the story of this city as a place where some of the world’s most enduring ideas were put into words. The writers of Jerusalem, although renowned the world over, are not usually thought of as a distinct school; their story as Jerusalemites has never before been woven into a single narrative. Nor have the stories of the custodians, past and present, who safeguard Jerusalem’s literary legacies.     


By showing how Jerusalem has been imagined, safeguarded, and shelved in libraries, 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.

"An unforgettable exploration of the tunnels, caverns, and treacherous dead ends that make up the world of books and libraries in Jerusalem, this is an unparalleled portrait of one of the world's great cities.”—Matti Friedman, author of The Aleppo Codex

Merav Mack is a historian of crusading history and religion. She teaches in the department of comparative religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Benjamin Balint is a writer and translator living in Jerusalem. His previous books include Running Commentary and Kafka’s Last Trial.