As I look at the lovely paintings and carvings and churches I cannot help but realize that, however much they were inspired by a greater vision and faith, these pieces of art and architecture were done by the hand of man. I wonder whether the particular creator-man was compensated for his work, whether his belly was kept full, his body decently and warmly clothed and whether he was befriended by whichever benefactor was trading his gains for heavenly indulgences.
As I read the stories and quasi-histories that accompany the lovely images I stop painfully at words like “butchered” when some unreferenced passage describes the action of the “other” as an act of wanton destruction and aggression always against themselves as the innocents.
Then I recall those words reminding me that history is always written by the victor. As much as I want to openly feel faith, hope and charity for ancient holy shrines and those who are sincerely trying to preserve their history and culture, I am always just a wee bit sceptical.
In the Land of the Ancients, one place may be called by several names and its history retold through several distinctly different stories depending upon who is doing the story-telling.
There is the story which recounts the time when Jerusalem was a kingdom.