The Rock by Kanan Makiya
A Tale of Seventh-Century Jerusalem

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Synopsis

Whose rock is enshrined inside the golden Dome of Jerusalem? The rock of Moses or of Muhammad? Kanan Makiya gathers together the stories, legends, and beliefs that define the Rock—the place where Adam landed in his fall from Paradise and where Abraham attempted to sacrifice his first-born; where Solomon’s Temple stood and where Jesus preached; the rock from which Muhammad ascended to heaven—and transforms them into a narrative of novelistic depth and drama. This brilliantly imagined, historically based account of the building of the Dome of the Rock reconstructs the paths of the actual individuals whose spiritual journeys revolved around the seventh-century lore of the Rock.

The chief protagonist is Ka’b al-Ahbar, a learned Jew who accepted the prophecy of Muhammad and who accompanied the caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab during his conquest of the Holy City. The story is narrated by Ka’b’s son, Ishaq, who years later is commissioned to design the first monument of Islam, the Dome of the Rock.

As he imagines the construction of the Dome—and the complex reasons behind its creation—Makiya gives us a meditation on the common terrain of the world’s three great monotheistic religions and a remarkable investigation into what the Rock symbolizes—beyond its various stories and names, beyond even the three faiths at whose heart it sits.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Kanan Makiya

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Kanan Makiya directs the Iraq Research Project at Harvard University, and is a professor at Brandies University. He was also involved with the US's planning of the war in Iraq.
 
Published December 8, 2010 by Vintage. 368 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Rock

The New York Times

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By focusing on the rock, by juxtaposing this rock with the one on Golgotha and the rock covered by the Kaaba in Mecca, Makiya has left lingering throughout the novel the imprint of paganism that was such an important influence in the formation of the three faiths.

Nov 25 2001 | Read Full Review of The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-C...

Publishers Weekly

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The narrator, Ishaq, relates his father Ka'b's esteem for the Rock and his service to Islam's caliph by designing the Dome of the Rock, the shrine that envelops the rock and commemorates Solomon's temple.

| Read Full Review of The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-C...

New York Magazine

Kanan Makiya's first novel, The Rock, is deeply concerned with "explosions," with things that "erupt" in Jerusalem;

| Read Full Review of The Rock: A Tale of Seventh-C...

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