The Upper Room and Tomb of David

The History, Art and Archaeology of the Cenacle on Mount Zion


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About the Book

It has been a church, a mosque and a synagogue. Jesus is said to have dined there. James, his brother, is believed to have been interred there. King David may be buried beneath its floor. The subject of intense speculation by both scholars and the faithful, the Cenacle on Mount Zion—also known as the Upper Room of the New Testament gospels and as the Tomb of David—has remained a mystery for centuries.
Claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims, the sacred structure continues to evoke passionate controversy. Does it date back to the time of Christ? Was the Last Supper celebrated there? Is this the place where the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles on the first Pentecost following Easter Sunday? Did King David’s remains ever lie there?
These and many other questions are explored in this first-ever study, offering a readable, fully researched narrative account of the Cenacle’s history, archaeology and imagery. Artistic, architectural and photographic illustrations document the Cenacle and its surroundings over the past 1,500 years.

About the Author(s)

David Christian Clausen teaches courses in the New Testament, Christian origins, and non-canonical Christian texts at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Having participated in a number of archaeological digs in the Holy Land, his primary area of interest is the early church in Jerusalem. He lives in Charlotte.

Bibliographic Details

David Christian Clausen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 284
Bibliographic Info: 51 photos and illustrations, 17 maps, chronology, notes, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6305-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2443-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Preface 1

Abbreviations 7

Introduction 9

Part I. History and Art

1. The Second Temple and Late Roman Periods 17

2. The Early Byzantine Period and the Construction of Hagia Sion 28

3. The Later Byzantine Period 38

4. The Period of the Persian and Arab Conquests 51

5. The Crusader Period 66

6. The Ayyubid and Early Mamluk Periods 80

7. The Later Mamluk Period 92

8. From the Ottoman Period to Modern Times 106

Part II. Archaeology

9. The Archaeology of Mount Zion from 30 to 135 ce 127

10. The Archaeology of the Adjacent Churches on Southern Mount Zion 135

11. The Archaeology of the Cenacle 152

Part III. The Origin of the Cenacle

12. Was the Cenacle Built as a Jewish Synagogue? 168

13. Was the Cenacle Built as a Pagan Mithraeum? 176

14. Was the Cenacle Built as a Christian Church? 182

Conclusion 191

Chronology 195

Chapter Notes 199

Bibliography 239

Index of Passages Cited or Quoted 251

Index of Subjects 261

Book Reviews & Awards

• “I am always on the lookout for books that might help me in explaining a historical or archaeological site my students and I visit as part of our coursework. For decades, Mount Zion has been part of my academic itinerary as fieldwork for students. While much has been written about Mount Zion, both popular and academic, I was not aware of any single book that would make it easier for me to guide my students there that would give an overview of history and archaeology. That is, until I came upon David Christian Clausen’s The Upper Room and Tomb of David… Probably no one today knows more about the history of the Upper Room and Tomb of David than Clausen…quite extensive…I will never visit these two sites or Mount Zion again without this work in hand…Clausen has done a great service to anyone interested in David’s Tomb, the Cenacle, Mount Zion, or Jerusalem. It is now my guidebook for the area as well as included in relevant reading lists for students. I look forward to his future work.”—Society of Biblical Literature
• “An absorbing volume…detailed information…presents information that is critical to the understanding of this period of religious activity”—M.G. Paregian, Publisher