The Most Momentous Place?

The old city of Jerusalem is astonishingly small for a city with so many momentous places. One can walk from Christianity’s holiest site to the holiest site of Judaism, pausing to look at one of the holiest sites of Islam, in less time than it takes to walk from my office on the campus of George Mason University to the campus Starbucks. Jerusalem is actually smaller than the GMU campus. GMU has had a few big events to its credit–two Nobel Prizes, several presidential speeches and so forth–but few people come here on pilgrimage. GMU doesn’t compete with Jerusalem.

Is there another parcel of land of similar size to the old city of Jerusalem that can lay claim to being similarly momentous? The signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia was pretty important but not much has happened there since. Cape Canaveral gets a nod but doesn’t span multiple fields of endeavor. Rome was important for a long time but its momentous events have faded compared to those that occurred in Jerusalem.

My best guess for a momentous parcel of land of similar size to old Jerusalem would be Cambridge University in the UK. Cambridge can lay claim to being the place of Newton, Darwin, Maxwell, Babbage, Turing, Oppenheimer, and Crick and Watson and many others in the fields of politics, literature and the social sciences including economists such as Keynes, Marshall and Sen. Overall, Cambridge gives Jerusalem a run for its money. Jerusalem had its momentous period between say the building of the first temple in 957 BCE and Muhammad’s night journey around 621 CE, a period of roughly 1600 years, while Cambridge has had only an 800 year run since being built in 1231 so controlling for a time a case can be made that Cambridge beats Jerusalem. Perhaps you disagree but then Cambridge is still racking up momentous events while Jerusalem hasn’t had much in the past 1400 years so Cambridge is certainly catching up. Of course, one big event could put Jerusalem back on top.

Aside from Cambridge, cases can be made for other universities such as Oxford, Harvard and even newcomer Chicago. But it’s interesting that universities come to mind as perhaps the only places in real competition with Jerusalem. Are there others?

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Wow. It’s hard to imagine a clearer sign of being an out of touch academic than claiming that Cambridge has been the site of more momentous events than Rome (although admittedly Rome needs a slightly larger area in order to include the Vatican).

You could dismiss it that way. Or you could think of the many real impacts that people like Newton, Darwin, Maxwell, Babbage, Turing, Oppenheimer, and Crick and Watson have had on our world. We would live in a very different world and act completely differently today had it not been for their discoveries.

It also occurs to me that academia benefits from the ability to encompass (nearly?) all advancements in knowlegde as their own. Often post hoc.

Wherever they learned to count first, the birth of mathematics and capitalism. Also, Treviso, Italy, home of the first modern arithmetic book.

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Ancient Rome was about 14 square kilometers in area, taking the areas inside the Aurelian Walls. Certainly, that piece of 14 square kilometers of land was the single most influential piece of 14 square kilometers of land in all of human history.

Inside those 14 square kilometers we saw the political unification of the entire ancient world by a single political entity who seat of power and administration were all located there. Eventually, inside those 14 square kilometers saw it's gradual transformation into an authoritarian centralized empire which was followed by the metamorphosis of that empire into the medieval fiefdoms which set in course all of medieval European and Middle Eastern history and hence to modern history.

It's plain ignorance in history to claim that some British University campus, a campus inside a country that only existed because it was named the Roman province of Britannia a province that was set up by orders from a guy that was inside the 14 square kilometers of Rome.

Iindividual people in academia have a rather limited impact on historical events. That's because of two main reasons: 1st - technological progress is mainly made through trial and error engineering experiments that are often performed simultaneously by many individuals. For example, the airplane was simultaneously invented by many different people working on their own. This technological advance occurs often without the development of prior scientific basis. Often, it's the science that has to develop in order to explain the technology that was developed.

2nd - Claiming that modern science wouldn't exist without the person named "Newton" is to assume that Newton had access to some kind of divine revelation that any other human mind couldn't possibly grasp. Obviously an absurd assertion. Scientific discoveries naturally tends to happen when you have an active scientific research community. Since reality is one therefore the science is out there to be discovered if one person doesn't do it another will. Hence the evolution of science is determined by the universe and not the individual scientists who work in it. Of course, that doesn't apply to pseudo science like Marxism or Hydraulic Keynesianism which are fictional narratives that function like a religion instead of being science.

Actually, I think that historical events such as The Second Punic War or the Assassination of Caesar are much more unique than scientific discoveries. That's because these historical events could have turned out differently and that could have massive historical impacts. For example, suppose Hannibal won The Second Punic War, then Roman Empire wouldn't exist, then Christianity, the middle ages and the modern ages wouldn't exist as we know then. We might even get some North African centered Punic Empire seated on Carthage instead of a Roman empire centered on Italy. That would certainly deeply affect world history: we might have 2 billion people praying to Melqart now instead of Jesus or the world population now might have been only 300 million instead of 7.4 billion.

Well maybe all these discoveries were bound to happen, but despite human history lasting tens of thousands of years before Cambridge they didn’t. Doesn’t that suggest something special there? Also your criticism that they would have happened anyway is also true of Rome, perhaps there would have been a Punic empire instead if Rome had failed.

I agree, ChrisA. And the post was asking about "the most momentous place." That does not imply that it has to be the case that if things hadn't occurred there, that they wouldn't have occurred elsewhere. So while I agree with it in principle, your second point is unimportant in this context, RafaelR. All the scientists mentioned did indeed do their work at Cambridge, so it seemed to fit "most momentous place" pretty well.

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Also England would have been England without the Roman occupation. It would be different, even more Celtic and Germanic, but still full of smart people who would congregate in places like Cambridge and Oxford.

Rome was a remarkable achievement of mankind but let's not exaggerate. It's a little like the historians who say the railroad explains the modern world. If the railroad had never been invented, the automobile and airplane would have been invented earlier, boats would be faster, there would be more canals and they would be bigger, etc. Human needs and human inventiveness tend to get matched up somehow.

Good points, and it is one of the more interesting (and difficult) questions: which historical events or people or empires or inventions were truly world-changing versus which ones were incidental happenstance?

The railroad example is a good one, Robert Fogel prefigured his and Engerman's controversial "Time on the Cross" with a paper arguing that the railroads were not essential to American and British economic development, canals could've been used instead. This was I believe almost as counter-intuitive as when Coase started describing his eponymous theorem to other economists. But the more that I visited historic sites in the eastern US including the old canals and locks the more I realized that Fogel was probably right.

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Most of the most important achievements of the Roman Republic/Empire did not take place in Rome (within the city proper). Even the Punic war didn't even take place in Rome.

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I was reading a biography of Francis Galton and I came upon the sentence that Isaac Newton was "perhaps" Trinity College at Cambridge's most eminent graduate. I was briefly flabbergasted by the author's caution that there might be a more eminent graduate of Trinity than Newton. But when I went and looked up Trinity students, I could see why he had trod carefully. The list of famous Trinity alumnus is endless, including various famous foreigners such as Nabokov and Nehru:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_alumni_of_Trinity_College,_Cambridge

With all those, as the British say, brilliant Cambridge grads I'm still going to stick with Newton. Oxford, Cambridge, Mass., the University of Chicago, the City and West End of London, and New York south of Maiden Lane (to include a block or so north of Wall Street) are pretty hot stuff too.

Then there was that guy from Stratford-upon-Avon, which is pretty small. The invention of the human, to quote Harold Bloom's hyperbole. I'd add Darwin, who was off to one side of the west end of London, and Bach and Beethoven, who were kind of in the middle of nowhere, and there you have a pretty good encyclopedia of human achievement.

All dead European white guys, I know.

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Rome is 496 square miles. (Even though it isn't discussed above, but since it's interesting: Jerusalem is about 50 square miles.) The Old City of Jerusalem is 0.34 square miles.

So Rome is 1460x larger than the Old City of Jerusalem... in what world is that "slightly larger"?

Also, again because it's interesting, Manhattan is about 20 square miles.

"Manhattan is about 20 square miles."

Yes, but what is the square footage of Wall St. Think of every single material good or service that you have ever consumed, and there is a good chance that one can trace its origin to some transaction on Wall St. Wall St. literally gives Jerusalem a run for its money. it’s interesting that [Wall St] comes to mind as perhaps the only place in real competition with Jerusalem.

Certainly that's what the financial world would like everyone to believe. After all, stock brokers were the developers of all the varieties of plants that make up our diet and breeds of livestock that we consume. And the financial gnomes continue to make the existence of these things possible. Without Wall Street the barley that makes our beer and the wheat that composes our pretzels would cease to grow. Maybe even the sun that keeps our planet from being a frigid rock meandering through space would shine no more without the benevolence of the Wall Street gods. We owe them everything.

Well, it doesn’t literally give Jerusalem a run for its money.

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Jews, let me tell ya.

i'm led further to consider my demeanor in most relationships i've been in. i can be very talkative and excitable, talking about wild plans, dreams, wanting to share everything. and i'm realizing that part of that confidence stems from my privilege as a man. i also realize that sort of approach doesn't leave room, or leave time, for my partner to reflect and come confidently to her feelings; that my enthusiasm doesn't leave space for any ambiguity on her end; it doesn't leave enough room for a meditative personal process. i believe that happened here too and i feel ashamed that my enthusiasm prevented me from listening as patiently as i should have.

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"Manhattan is about 20 square miles."

True, but you could probably fit the large majority of the really important locations in Manhattan, other than Central Park, into a slice that is less than half that size--Wall Street, the Theater District, major museums like the MoMA or the AMNH, the Empire State Building, the UN, etc. Still larger than Old Jerusalem, but a lot of momentous locations in a small area.

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Most of it never happened -- i.e. these "happenings" are all fictional, made up, fabricated. It's like talking about all of the important events that took place in the city of Oz.

We have no good reason to believe that most of the content of either the Old or New Testament or the Koran and the Hadith are anything but fabricated fiction and fan fiction built upon other mythologies -- this is what modern scholarship is showing is. I'd particularly recommend the work of Richard Price on this theme. Fictional events took place in Jerusalem by the bushel. Historical events that differ much from any other capital city, not so much.

But did the events you deem fictional in Jerusalem effect world history and your present world, or did they not? Can you drive more than a few blocks from your home without seeing buildings built for communities that derive meaning and perform community service on the basis of those stories?

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Actually, we have quite good reasons to think that Herod built a temple on the ruins of an earlier site, that a man named Jesus preached and was executed there, etc. Try this site for an intelligent expositions of some things we know and don't know. https://historyforatheists.com/

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The first place that occurred to me was Rome. Rome has religious, political, military and engineering impact. Also later art and science - think of the Renaissance! China has had several capitals so that leaves Rome as the pick for single place.

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If W&C hadn't identified the structure of DNA when they did, Linus Pauling would have, within weeks, or months.

Cambridge got the guernsey because that was the centre for X ray diffraction analysis in the early '50's under Sir Lawrence Bragg.

OK but that is only slightly changing the story - after-all if Cambridge was the centre for X-ray diffraction then it was pretty seminal in the story of discovery of DNA. And it is pure speculation that Pauling would have discovered the structure, and of course it is only one of the many discoveries made at Cambridge.

This whole debate reminds me a bit of the debate on whether innovation is slower now than in the past. The issue is that what is being measured is too vague really to have any opinion on the causes. What does it mean to say a place is "momentous" with regard to human history? There are so many ways to measure this.

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I expect local (geography or speciality) pride to ring through the responses. How big is Jerusalem in comparison to Central Park?

Monaco is smaller than Central Park (and almost the right shape to fit inside it). Jerusalem is smaller than Monaco.

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I live in New York City... and I've gotta ask: is Central Park really the site of anything momentous? Other than a bunch of amazing concerts and shows?

Many momentous things happened to me in the 70's and 80's in Central Park. I was mugged when I was twelve by four Puerto Rican kids, who gave my money back and said I was "cool." Then they asked me if I wanted to hang out. (I declined.) When I was sixteen, me and a few friends each consumed a purple microdot, then went into a beaten down old SoHo theater to see John Belushi's 1941 ("Hollywood! Hollywood!") while we waited for the effects to take hold). Later walked uptown and ended in up Central Park an a beautiful spring day, everything shimmering.

And on and on. The problem from your perspective is the city has lost it's grit and edge.

So I ask, what is the cost of gentrification? Answer: sterile lives.

That first thing that happened to you doesn't happen as much due to reduced crime, but the second thing can still be experienced. I'm pretty sure for Thor Ragnarok is better looking on LSD better than 1941 ffs.

It's got to be much better to walk around for an extended period when the likelihood of being mugged is lower.

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I do not need to be messed up on a dozen drugs and hanging out with Little Joe Gould to have an unsterile life. I love New York as it is.

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Athens had a pretty good run at it.

Yes, where democracy was invented, where Themistocles persuaded the demos to resist Persian expansion, where Aeschylus' and Sophocles' works were written and performed, where Plato and Aristotle taught, and where St. Paul preached. Not so much for the past 1900 years, though.

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Athens

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Silicon Valley

A whole lot of stuff was invented in Bell Labs back in the day, so maybe Murray Hil (or whatever its old location was) has a claim to fame too.

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Yeah, I was going to mention Silicon Valley. Its contributions have been in a narrow range and for a short time, so it's not in the same league as Jerusalem or even Cambridge. But I think it's still a notable locale, and 500 years from now historians especially historians of technology and industry will still be looking at post-war Silicon Valley with wonder, as historians of theater look at Hellenic Athens and Elizabethan England as places were so much happened in such a small place in such a short time.

Si Valley is a piker.

Kris @ 10:41 am nailed it.

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Momentous or perhaps calamitous. I'll take the hundred or so acres of Père Lachaise Cemetery.

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Hollywood

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The criteria aren’t exactly clear—Philadelphia is far larger than Jerusalem, or are we talking only of Philly’s historic district?

At any rate, lots of stuff has happened in London over the years.

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São Paulo, where the Third Temple hasbeen erect.
Dourados, where thirteen Brazilian soldiers fought thousands of Paraguayan invaders.
Monte Castello, Itally, where Brazilian soldiers defeated Hitler's troops and hastened the fall of e Third Reich.
Rio de Janeiro, from where the Hidden One is predicted to rule the world after defearing God and Magog.

Baroda, where a man named Ram once lived his wife Sita.

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The Vatican?

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(Relatively) few pilgrims come to Cambridge, though I'm sure it has a decent intra-UK tourist business (as would Oxford I imagine).

If pilgrimage is part of the equation, then you are very close to a real contender. One source has the entire state of Israel getting less than 4 million tourists last year, though almost all of them go to Jerusalem. Washington, DC on the other hand get roughly 20 million tourists per year. I don't know how geographically large the area between Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom is, but it can't be too large, and is easily walkable. Even the monuments area around the Mall has been relatively momentous (MLK speech, anti-war rallies, suffrage protests).

Las Vegas gets 40 million visitors a year.

Right, but crime-founded casinos, overpriced food, and bachelor parties aren't particularly momentous.

Says who....

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Tourism to Cambridge is definitely not just intra-UK; see e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/mar/22/china-cambridge-university-poet-xu-zhimo-farewell-property

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Yankee Stadium

Great choice! Site of the Red Sox' unbelievably historic comeback from three games down to take the 2004 ALCS in seven games.

Simply unforgettable!

+1

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I suspect Banares has a high density of stuff that is significant for Jerusalem like reasons. But that means it must survive an apples-to-apples comparison with Jerusalem, which it probably loses.

Why do you put Cambridge above Oxford? I mean I would for Newton alone? But other people have other biases. Perhaps a clearer reason is that Oxford's university stuff is more spread out through the town, while Cambridge has something that resembles an actual campus.

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"The signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia was pretty important but not much has happened there since." I'm pleased that Tabarrok has a sense of humor. Of course, the Constitution was written and approved by the delegates to the convention in 1787 in Philadelphia. So where's the sense of humor? George Mason rejected the constitution, one of only three delegates present who did so.

I would also remind that Jesus was a Jew, as were His disciples, observant Jews no less. The Gentile religion we know today as Christianity is about as far removed from Jesus and His disciples as the year 30 CE (the year He is believed to have been crucified by the Gentiles) is from the year 2018 CE and as the campus of George Mason University is from Jerusalem. I don't believe George Mason was alive in the year 30 CE, so he could not have been one of the Gentiles who rejected Jesus.

The Gentile religion we know today as Christianity is about as far removed from Jesus and His disciples as the year 30 CE (the year

The 'gentile religion' was expounded by Simon and Saul of Tarsus, whose Epistles have been dated by scholars to have been composed as early as 50 AD. See Carsten Thiede's work on what papyrology tells us about the composition of the synoptic Gospels. Signature features of the Mass were present by the middle of the 2d century, as indicated in the correspondence of people who were one degree of separation from the original Apostles.

Yes, it's true how rapidly things can change in just a few years. Consider Donald Trump, who a few years ago was considered a buffoon, a cheat, a liar, and a fraud, and now he is president of the United States. Paul's reinvention of himself (from a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, who he never met except in Paul's visions, to the creator of the Gentile religion we know as Christianity) is amazing, but nothing compared to Trump's reinvention of himself.

A few years ago Trump was a democrat. Things change.

George Wallace was a Democrat. So was Strom Thurmond. The Republican Party sold their soul to remake the South into the Republican bastion of ignorance and racial resentment that gave us Donald Trump.

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>Donald Trump, who a few years ago was considered a buffoon, a cheat, a liar, and a fraud....

... and yet still preferable to Hillary.

Indeed. And still a buffoon, a cheat, a liar, and a fraud.

Only in the electoral college. She won the popular vote.

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Most modern "Christian" concepts from many denominations are anti-Biblical.

Trinitarism, the Immaculate Conception, Mary's Assumption, Rapture, ultramontanism, intercession of Saints. They were created by Satan to mislead people.

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Matthew 3:17

The Baptism of Jesus

13Then comes Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptized of him. 14But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me? 15And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him: 17And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

John 1:14

13children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God. 14The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testified concerning Him. He cried out, saying, “This is He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’”…

Whether you believe or not, your claim is false.

Born of God is the exactly opposite of Being God. Jesus made it clear He das the Messiah, not another God. There is only onde God, the One!!!!

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You have presented two very different versions of the divinity of Christ, one, Matthew, the adoptionist version (He was adopted at His baptism), and two, John, the Deity who always was. You have presented two very different claims, both of which can't be true. Are you even aware of the difference, or are you, like many professed Christians, just ignorant of your own religion. .

it's called Lakshmana Rekha. And Peter is an ad man.

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Jerusalem, where God Incarnate was crucified, dying for the sins of all mankind, and rose from the dead three days later, thus conquering Death itself. Not sure how "controlling for time" makes this any less momentous than anything that occurred at Cambridge.

There is NO mention whatsoever in the Bible to "God Incarnate". That is a paganist, Gnostic doctrine Satan created to mislead God's flock.

It is written: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." There is only one God ("The Lord our God is one Lord") and only His is "the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever".

You Sephardic?

Socinianism.

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You're right, the servant is not greater. The Son and the Father are co-equal. This is not a Gnostic view, it is the prevailing belief of the New Testament authors.

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I remember being incredibly impressed with the collective achievements of the people buried at Westminster Abbey, though for the most part they did not accomplish their great deeds there.

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The relative small size of the old city of Jerusalem makes it even more amazing the size of the Temple Mount. How large was it? The plaza around it was the size of six football fields, and the Temple itself the equivalent of a 20 story building. Of course, it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. More than a few Jews likely weren't disappointed that the Temple was destroyed, as there were many Jews at the time who were anti-Temple. Why? Well, many didn't believe God needed a house, since God is omnipresent. And there were those who opposed animal sacrifice, which was a major part of what the Temple was used for. Animal sacrifice. Human sacrifice. Get it?

It was the "Second Temple" that the Romans destroyed. The Second Temple actually existed. Whether the First did is unclear; it may well be fictional.

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Before the advent of the rail first and the car later, cities (even the largest ones) tended to be very small geographically (and therefore very dense). The idea is that a city dweller could walk to any place within the city in less than half an hour

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Some stuff happened at Versailles.

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'but few people come here on pilgrimage'

Well, pilgrimage isn't the right word, but a few history buffs undoubtedly visit the Fairfax Courthouse - 'The Battle of Fairfax Court House was the first land engagement of the American Civil War with fatal casualties. On June 1, 1861, a Union scouting party clashed with the local militia in the village of Fairfax Court House, Virginia, resulting in the first death in action, and the first wounding of an officer.

The Union had sent a regular cavalry unit under Lieutenant Charles H. Tompkins to estimate enemy numbers in the area. At Fairfax Court House, they surprised a small Confederate rifle company under Captain John Q. Marr, and took some prisoners. Marr rallied his unit, but was killed, and command was taken over by a civilian ex-governor of Virginia, William Smith, who forced the Union to retreat.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fairfax_Court_House_%28June_1861%29

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I) Versailles
II) Old Baghdad
III) Istanbul

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The Giza pyramid complex

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Cape Canaveral.

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Newton actually came up with his famous theories on his family farm, as Cambridge had shut down due to the plague.

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LOL. Your Second Coming "big event" made me smile, but also wonder if Jesus' reappearance would last more than a couple of news cycles in these days.

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Maybe Westminster in London? A lot of highly influential events over the past 500 years have originated there, including an entire system of government which is copied the world over.

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Apollo 11 Landing site, Sea of Tranquility, The moon. The astronauts never walked further than 60 meters(200ft) from the Lunar Module

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1a) Alexandria
1b) Beijing/Peking Constantinople/Istanbul
1c) Constantinople/Istanbul
1d) Florence
T-2) Lower Manhattan
T-2) Hollywood

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Rome or Berlin

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Los Alamos? Just one event perhaps, but quite a significant impact for the size.

+1 or the Trinity site

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Edinburgh, birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment where Smith, Hume, Adam, Hutcheson, Kames, Black, Monboddo and Hutton etc. revolutionised economics, philosophy, jurisprudence, chemistry, geology, medicine, linguistics, architecture, botany, history and other fields. Also Vienna in the early 20th century.

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"The signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia was pretty important but not much has happened there since."

Well, there was a little document call the Constitution written there... and the first US stock exchange and zoo, not to mention the cheese steak and the glorious years of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Stokowski!

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The internet, stacked, would fit on a smaller plot.

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Lubyanka prison

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My bedroom

Not your parents' bedroom?

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In regards to ....

Of course, one "big event" could put Jerusalem back on top.

Here the event as portrayed from the Psalms .... with some of my comments - as my own opinions in ()

Psalm 132 English Standard Version (ESV)
The LORD Has Chosen Zion
A Song of Ascents.
132 Remember, O LORD, in David's favor,
all the hardships he endured,
2 how he swore to the LORD
and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 “I will not enter my house
or get into my bed,
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the LORD,
a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
we found it in the fields of Jaar.
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place;
let us worship at his footstool!”

(Verses 132:1-7 are historical in nature.)

8 Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

(Verses 132:8-10 a call to the Lord to go to his resting place,
The anointed one here is the promised son of David as stated in 2 Samuel 7:12-15, he is not the Lord, but the Lord’s anointed. )

11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath
from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body[a]
I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
shall sit on your throne.”

( Psalm 132:11-12. These verses are about the promised son of David. )

13 For the LORD has chosen Zion;
he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

( Psalm 132:13-14 – Here is “why” Jerusalem is such a blessed place,
This is where the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel will dwell. This is a future event. )

15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
but on him his crown will shine.”

( Psalm 132:15-18 – The new king is anointed ! This is a future event. )

“Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.”

( Judaism claims Jesus in not the Messiah, however the Messiah comes from Bethlehem. The Jews didn't control Bethlehem for most of history after the time of Jesus. However, they did after the Six-Day War. )

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The Athenian Acropolis: very important for the birth of western civilization and early Christianity (Acts 17)

If you read the account of Paul's Athenian visit not much of note came from it. Corinth, Thassalonike, and Ephesus were more prominent as early Greek Christian centers.

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"between say the building of the first temple in 957 BCE and Muhammad’s night journey around 621 CE": I did grin at your mentioning these two fictional events.

Neither is a fictional event. They just contradict the approved fictions of village atheists.

I can understand skepticism about Mohammed' ascension to Heaven. every bit as much as skepticism about Jesus' both are miraculous events. However why be skeptical about the first Temple? It's a perfectly mundane thing, and pretty much every people in those days built a temple to their gods.

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Jerusalem syndrome

Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians, and Muslims of many different backgrounds.

The best known, although not the most prevalent, manifestation of Jerusalem syndrome is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem.[citation needed] The psychosis is characterised by an intense religious theme and typically resolves to full recovery after a few weeks or after being removed from the area.

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Washington, DC... nobody?

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The area around old city of Constantinople/Istanbul has been/is pretty momentous, as has the Vatican.

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Firenze/Florence!!!

The first time I was there I couldn’t believe how such a small place had and/or hosted given so many people:
Dante
Leonardo
Macchiavelli
Galileo
Michelangelo
Americo Vespucio
Rafael
Boccaccio
The Medicis
Salvatore Ferragamo
Giotto
Vasari
Donatello

PS. Conditional on a city becoming a holy place for a major monotheistic religion, the probability that it will become a holy city for another major monotheistic religion goes way up, right?

Great post.

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This reminds me of Mark Twain's description of the area as being so much smaller than he expected (like how the Jordan River was pretty small, and so crooked it was hard to tell which side of it you were on).

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How about the Oracle of Delphi?

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And yet Cambridge and Oxford missed the momentous shift in human history.

"Newcomen's religion had consequences greater than absence from a local census.  Dissenters, including Baptists, Presbyterians, and others, were as a class, excluded from universities after 1660, and either apprenticed, or learned their science from dissenting academies."

"At the same time that he chartered the world's first scientific society, Charles II had created an entire generation of dissenting intellectuals uncontrolled by his kingdom's ever more technophobic universities."

p29, Rosen, Willam, 'The Most Powerful Idea in the World'

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How about Treviso, Italy, home of the first modern arithmetic book.

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Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Cambridge, Ma., Athens, downtown NYC

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Maybe not as momentus as Cambridge UK, but I would nominate Leiden. Sure, the Boerhaave Museum has thermometers by Fahrenheit, microscopes by Leeuwenhoek, planets by Huygens, etc. But Leiden also has Linneas' garden. OK, it's momentus for science!

I'd throw in Cambridge MA too... Otherwise just Harvard.

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