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

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