Jerusalem/ Reference_Religious and Political Perspective on the English’ interest in the Holy City
Moscrop, J.J.. 2000. “Measuring Jerusalem: the Palestine Exploration Fund and British interests in the Holy Land”. London & New York: Leicester.
The books well illustrates the discourse of the British Empire’s desire in the Holy City basin in early 19th century to the beginning of the 20th and provided a historical background reference to ground reasons for her planned preservation of the Old City in Jerusalem during the British Mandate Period. The book particularly highlights the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF), an organization established by Queen Victoria in 1865- a period before the British rule of Jerusalem- which aimed exploring Jerusalem and other Holy Land sites, through surveying works and archaeological plus historical researches of Palestine, playing influential role to establish the British Empire’s global status in her rule of Jerusalem.
The writing is an important reference source to the understanding of the intention of the Victorian English in claiming of the Old City of Jerusalem, and by analyzing the PEF, it particularly revealed how the definition of sacred sites would determine the power of the land owners, and hence ironically demonstrates the reason for the strong desire of the British Empire in competing for Jerusalem. Although the writer Moscorp possesses background as a barrister, his book received decent academic critiques concerning Middle East studies that the writing on the PEF has brought scholars back to investigate more closer into the dynamics involved in political decisions of the British Empire throughout the discourse. More importantly, the book has a good recognition as Moscrop consulted Vivan D. Lipman, author of the famous piece in the research field- “American and the Holy Land through the British Eyes: 1820-1917” upon finalizing the theme on the PEF as the crucial marker of studying the British Empire’s interest in Jerusalem. It is believed that the book will contribute as an inspiring piece to dig out hints on the background of the British Mandate Period, regarding the hidden agenda of conquering over the Holy City of Jerusalem in 1917-18 and later preservation plans, not merely through the perspective of religious reasons but also political ones.