Talk:Rachel's Tomb

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Martin Gilbert[edit]

It is true that the notoriously careless Martin Gilbert wrote "Rachel’s tomb has been a place of Jewish pilgrimage even before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem." but since all authorities agree that no historical source mentions Rachel's tomb at the present site until the 4th century, how does Gilbert know? I think he was either taking Genesis at face value or he was just writing stuff he likes without a source (which he something he did). Personally I would treat this as WP:FRINGE and remove it, but given Gilbert's status I will just attribute it. It can't stand as a plain statement of fact in obvious contradiction to the rest of the article. Zerotalk 05:03, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Zero, Is there any reliable source indicating that Martin Gilbert isn't reliable, or "notoriously careless" as you describe him? Using "according to Martin Gilbert" (who is a highly esteemed historian) for one source, but not for other's is obviously POV and seems like WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT. Gilbert is possibly referring to Jewish pilgrimage festivals and visiting the graves of patriarchs/matriarchs due to their holiness in Judaism. He also didn't specify that particular location, rather "Rachel's tomb" in the general sense. This article does deal with other possible locations of the tomb, so things are a bit more abstract. Also, the next sentence is strange, as there would likely be more Christian pilgrims due to their being 1,000x more Christians than Jews, not sure why there's a "but" there when this contrast isn't in either source, seems Synthy. It would be better to write it as:
"Rachel's Tomb is the third holiest site in Judaism. Jews have made pilgrimage to the tomb since ancient times, and it has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity. Christian pilgrims wrote of the devotion shown to the shrine by local Muslims and then later also by Jews, and throughout history it was not considered a shrine exclusive to any one religion." Drsmoo (talk) 06:09, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
If Gilbert wasn't an "esteemed historian" I would certainly take it out. The sentences in Gilbert's book immediately before and after this one refer explicitly to this tomb, not to some tomb somewhere, so I think it is reasonable to take this sentence the same way. At face value he is making a claim that is not supported by lots of other sources including many in our article. If we include his claim, we should do what we usually do when opinions of sources differ, namely attribute them. However, I agree to your rewording since it avoids presenting readers with an apparent contradiction. Zerotalk 06:59, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, we could also use this source in addition. "From Josephus we know that in his days several tombs of biblical holy persons were not only extant but were probably also centres of religious activities. He mentions the tombs of Abraham's brother Nahor in Ur (Ant. 1:151), Eleazar's tomb in Gabatha (Ant. 5:119) Rachel's tomb near Bethlehem (Ant 6:56)" Drsmoo (talk) 07:26, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
From memory, Gilbert said the number of Jews slaughtered in Hebron in 1929 amounted to 59, not the standard 67 (the total figure of those who expired after 10 or so days). That kind of thing. In that case he was evidently using the first day report in the Jerusalem Post, a primary source, without checking that early report against the secondary sources. Gilbert was an archivalist, and used primary sources. Something similar seems to have happened here. Just speculating: if he wrote 'before the destruction of the Temple 70 CE', this almost certainly indicates that he is using as his source Josephus (who wrote however some decades after that date, but using his memories of the period before he hitched his wagon to Vespasian's chariot), another primary source. Josephus does mention Rachel's tomb, twice, but does not mention pilgrimage as far as I can see. He fails to mention the locations specified in the Tanakh furthermore (See Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus, BRILL 2004 p.112 note 208). By the way, there is a useful overview of this subject at Zecharia Kallai, ‘Rachel’s Tomb: A Historiographical Review,’ in Vielseitigkeit des Altes Testaments Peter Lang 1999 215-223, that might be worth examining, to judge by its title.Nishidani (talk) 09:03, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, so there's no indications that Gilbert wasn't a highly reliable and esteemed historian. I think, again, we're dealing with a case of WP:IJUSTDONTLIKEIT. I think prayer or worship may be a better word to use rather than pilgrimage, as the former can be said to include the latter, but not the oppose. Drsmoo (talk) 12:20, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Some sources in the discussion at Talk:1956–57_exodus_and_expulsions_from_Egypt#Proclamation_re_Jews_and_Zionists which were deeply critical of Gilbert's work on the Middle East. Frankly "shoddy" would be a polite way of describing his work on the Middle East. Oncenawhile (talk) 12:35, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Look. We are having these tiresome insinuations of WP:IDONTLIKEIT motivations ascribed quite frequently to edit choices that are based on a fairly clear methodological principle in all cases I can remember recently. What Zero, myself and many others on wikipedia try to do is ascertain the factual basis under statements used widely, even in RS. This methodological approach over the years has often lead to the removal of dubious material from the encyclopedia, and, in the I/P area, for Palestinian and Jewish claims. Zero in particular has shot down quite a few ostensible 'facts' in the pro-Palestinian literature. His example has been a kind of ongoing tutorial for myself in that regard. It does not matter whose POV is affected. There is absolutely no doubt Gilbert was an esteemed historian (and even generous with his time, as I know personally). When you write 80 books, you make mistakes on details. Here, a specialist in contemporary history, made a loose remark about Rachel's tomb. One should, in sourcing as in real life, not grasp at straws because it looks promising. It might be the case that 'pilgrimage' began earlier than 70CE, but this is Gilbert's inference. 'Pilgrimage' means a journey, usually taking at least days, to a sacred site (otherwise every time my wife goes to a church in Rome she becomes automatically a 'pilgrim', instead of visiting a site in the vicinity. The Nabi Musa festival, now suppressed by Israel, was often a matter of flocks of Palestinians all over the country going festively to the shrine of Moses, for example, and is described as a pilgrimage. In the present case, one would have to look into the institution of pilgrimage in Jewish practices prior to 70CE. The only evidence I can come up with is that early Christian pilgrims to Palestine followed predominantly a Jewish line of shrines, meaning that probably they were, as one would expect from a Jewish heresy, just taking over a Jewish custom. Pieter Willem van der Horst, Japheth in the Tents of Shem: Studies on Jewish Hellenism in Antiquity, Peeters Publishers, 2002 p.330 on the likelihood of a custom of Jewish pilgrimage earlier than the Bourdeaux pilgrim (who was probably a Jewish Christian).
I think the way this has been phrased is a fair compromise, even if I think on this Gilbert's opinion is worthless. Some editors are just satanically pertinacious, particularly with regard to religious claims (Der Teufel steckt im Detail, as the saying goes), on wiki or off, and this has nothing to do anything other than a dislike of the slipshod, hand-me-down, or meme-circulation, or free invention, or inferences and speculative forays in the sources that are supposed to furnish us with realia, factual evidence. The criterion is that anything must stand up in a court of empiricist law.Nishidani (talk) 12:59, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
So Zero and I agree to the rewording, is there anyone else who prefers the previous wording? Drsmoo (talk) 14:02, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

About Josephus[edit]

(Copied from above for convenience) Thanks, we could also use this source in addition. "From Josephus we know that in his days several tombs of biblical holy persons were not only extant but were probably also centres of religious activities. He mentions the tombs of Abraham's brother Nahor in Ur (Ant. 1:151), Eleazar's tomb in Gabatha (Ant. 5:119) Rachel's tomb near Bethlehem (Ant 6:56)" Drsmoo (talk) 07:26, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Josephus wrote that Rachel was buried in "Ephrata", which is usually taken to mean Ephrath that may or may not be Bethlehem. As for your source, I am truly gob-smacked, as Nish would say. Here is the text of Josephus (Antiquities 6:56) that your source uses to claim that Jospehus described the tomb as extant:
"At break of day Samuel roused him from his bed, escorted him on his way, and, when outside the town, bade him cause his servant to go on before and to remain behind himself, for he had somewhat to tell him privately. So Saul dismissed his companion, and the prophet, taking his vial, poured oil upon the young man's head and kissed him and said : 'Know that thou art king, elected of God to combat the Philistines and to defend the Hebrews. And of this there shall be unto thee a sign which I would have thee learn beforehand. When thou art departed hence, thou shalt find on thy road three men going to worship God at Bethel ; the first thou shalt see carrying three loaves, the second a kid, and the third will follow bearing a wine-skin. These men will salute thee, show thee kindness and give thee two loaves ; and thou shalt accept them. And thence thou shalt come to the place called 'Rachel's tomb,' where thou shalt meet one who will bring thee news that thy asses are safe. Thereafter, on coming thence to Gabatha, thou shalt light upon an assembly of prophets and, divinely inspired, thou shalt prophesy with them, insomuch that whosoever beholdeth thee shall be amazed and marvel, saying, 'How hath the son of Kis come to this pitch of felicity?' And when these signs are come unto thee, know thou that God is with thee ; and go to salute thy father and thy kinsfolk. But thou shalt come, when summoned by me, to Galgala, that we may offer thank-offerings to God for these mercies." After these declarations and predictions he let the young man go ; and everything befell Saul as Samuel had foretold." (Translation of Thackery and Marcus) The translation of Whiston is essentially the same but has "Rachel's monument" rather than "Rachel's tomb".
As both translators note, this is just Josephus' retelling of 1-Samuel-10 and has nothing to do with Josephus' time. As well as that, the biblical text says "the tomb of Rachel, in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah" which is often cited as evidence that the tomb was not near Bethlehem. Zerotalk 09:11, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, it's not about Josephus' writing of his own time, but about Josephus' writing being an indication that the tomb was considered sacred, here are some additional sources:
  • Good and Evil Spirits A study of the Jewish and Christian Doctrine "Numerous Old Testament passages show that in the early period ancestral tombs were regarded as sacred places—that is, as sanctuaries...In ancient Israel a sacred tree was a necessary adjunct of an altar. Another adjunct was a pillar (mazzebah). In several instances a grave is said to be marked by the setting up of such a pillar. Thus concerning the burial of Rachel it is said "And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave: the same is the Pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day" (Gen. xxxv. 20 ; cf I Sam. x. 2) There appears to be no reason for doubt that in all these cases the graves were places of worship, which at a later date were adapted to the worship of Yahweh."
  • Jewish Encyclopedia "Desecration of a tomb was regarded as a grievous sin, and in ancient times the sanctity of the grave was evidenced by the fact that it was chosen as a place of worship, thus explaining the circumstance that a sacred stone ("maẓẓebah") was set on Rachel's grave, and that sacred trees or stones always stood near the tombs of the righteous." Drsmoo (talk) 13:47, 28 August 2016 (UTC)


Drsmoo, per your recent edit, I note you proposed it above. I don't believe it has been commented on yet. I view the "most recorded historical pilgrimages were Christian" to be an important point, even if it does seem obviously to you, and the two pilgrimage sentences are better together from a flow perspective. Oncenawhile (talk) 14:03, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

The proposed edit was commented on by Zero0000 here Could you point out where in the source it says that most pilgrims were Christian? Even if we might assume that due to the number of Christians in the world compared with Jews, it's strange/synth to put them in contrast to Jewish pilgrimage, when that contrast isn't presented in either source. Additionally, the previous edit was a run-on sentence Drsmoo (talk) 14:16, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
It is in the footnote quote: "Rather than being content with half a dozen or even a full dozen witnesses, we have tried to compile as many sources as possible... To be sure, most of the witnesses were Christian, yet there were also Jewish and Muslim visitors to the tomb."
This is an important point, which we need to reflect accurately.
Oncenawhile (talk) 17:42, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I've read the footnote quote and looked through the book. It doesn't say most of the pilgrims were Christian. It's also not an important point. Drsmoo (talk) 18:08, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
From Byzantine times onwards Jews were under severe travelling constraints in a predominantly Christian land down to the 10th-11th century. As heirs of Judaism, Christians naturally visited sites, and left ample accounts. Jewish accounts for this period are very rare and only appear to reemerge in the medieval period, with writers like Benjamin of Tudela. One could say that most accounts are of Christiana pilgrimage without making an extraordinary claim. But as Drsmoo says to say most pilgrims were Christian would be an inference as yet unwarranted, even if it is highly le given the geopolitical lay of the land.Nishidani (talk) 18:23, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Strickert's review of the historical writings on the tomb is the most thorough scholarly analysis in existance, by some margin. He uses the terms "witnesses" and "sources", so I agree pilgrimages is WP:OR inference, albeit the term pilgrimage is deeply subjective and most of the sources Strickert is referring to would qualify under most people's definition.
I have a preference for "recorded visits" as being the most objective description.
The remaining problem is that Stickert is clear that none of the historical sources suggest any special status for any of the three religions. So our summary should equal weight the historica discussion for each of the three.
Oncenawhile (talk) 19:07, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Strickert describes Rachel's tomb as "one of the three holiest sites of Jewish pilgrimage." He does write that it is holy for Christianity and Islam as well, but doesn't describe it as having a similar status or importance for them. There are multiple reliable sources that describe Rachel's tomb in the same way Drsmoo (talk) 19:32, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Correct he says that re Jewish mystics - yesterday I added in a quote from Dresner (note 12) which is the source that Strickert used for this point.
But this is exactly the point - whilst today it is more important in Jewish/Israeli identity than it is for Christians and Muslims, from a longer term historical perspective, Strickert's analysis suggests that that was not the case in pre-modern times: "Rather than being content with half a dozen or even a full dozen witnesses, we have tried to compile as many sources as possible. During the Roman and Byzantine era, when Christians dominated there was really not much attention given to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem. It was only when the Muslims took control that the shrine became an important site. Yet it was rarely considered a shrine exclusive to one religion. To be sure, most of the witnesses were Christian, yet there were also Jewish and Muslim visitors to the tomb. Equally important, the Christian witnesses call attention to the devotion shown to the shrine throughout much of this period by local Muslims and then later also by Jews."
The article must make this important distinction. Oncenawhile (talk) 21:36, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Nowhere in the book does it state that the site is equally important to Christianity and Islam. It only says that it is also holy to Christianity and Islam. In addition to Strickert stating that the site is one of the three holiest in Judaism, we have multiple reliable sources that say the same thing. As Nishidani pointed out, it was difficult for Jews to travel for much of those times, so yes likely fewer writing about the site, in addition to their being fewer Jews in general. That has nothing to do with the relative importance of the site to different religions, which Strickert doesn't comment on. Only to say that the site is one of the three holiest sites of Jewish pilgrimage, and only writing that of Judaism. One also, obviously, doesn't build an entire lead around one source. Drsmoo (talk) 22:02, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
If you don't have the decency to read the sources you are quoting (and making false claims about), at least read the article. It is there in the Strickert quote in footnote 2, plain as the light of day: " If there is one lesson to be learned, it is that this is a shrine held in esteem equally by Jews, Muslims, and Christians."
Oncenawhile (talk) 15:17, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
It bears saying, Drsmoo, that it's one of the strangest things to observe editing in this area that we have a ranking push everywhere to prove Jewish precedence, or some proprietorial right as if all Christian and Muslim reverence or attachment to Palestine were somehow secondary. It is accompanied by a total unawareness of anything about those other religions. In 20 years, from the time Cook's tours became available 12,000 Christians had joined up to visit the Biblical sites, travelling for a month, staying in tents and praying fervently most of them. You can get a glance at this in this chapter. The same practice persists: as a pagan I've had to sit quietly as buses full of singing Catholics drove from site to site, prayed, heard mass twice a day over extended periods, etc. In the contrary narrative you have some early aliyah, mostly associated with flights from pogroms, gradually aligned to a project to make a homeland, and this often unfortunately leads to a proprietorial drive that ignores competing emotional attachments to the symbolic value of that land. There are political, ideological and religious motivations that have to be untangled, as often as not, but whatever the result, one should not confuse territorial claims with worship. Oncenawhile has a source that speaks of equal esteem, not superiority or inferiority. It seems fairly convincing.Nishidani (talk) 16:56, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
No one is writing of superiority or inferiority, and it's strange that you'd phrase things in those terms. Rachel's Tomb Is uniquely important in Judaism. Including in the Talmud and Midrashim and Jewish cultic practices regarding the tomb. The unique importance of the tomb in Judaism is attested to in multiple sources. There's currently a detailed section in the article devoted to Jewish religious practices and traditions regarding the tomb. We should include similar sections detailing Islamic and Christian traditions and practices regarding the tomb. Drsmoo (talk) 18:09, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Uniquely' says it all. I suggest you read Glenn Bowman,'Sharing and Exclusion:The Case of Rachel’s Tomb,' Jerusalem Quarterly 58 2014 pp.30-49, which as far as I see, is a major article with no impact on the nonsense here. There is not a skerrick of evidence there to support your statement. All one gets is the transformation of a Jewish.Christian.Muslim shrine into an exclusively Jewish venue by the invention of a tradition prioritizing the first. Note:'Susan Sered has noted that “through the mid-1930s Rachel’s Tomb was a minor Jewish, Christian, and Muslim shrine, not associated with any special concerns or sought out by any particular population”.'Nishidani (talk) 20:39, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
It seems some are intent on having arguments. As I said, there's currently a detailed section on "Jewish religious significance", we should add similar sections for Islam and Christianity. Drsmoo (talk) 21:26, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I have no intention of making an argument other than saying that your reference to ' The unique importance of the tomb in Judaism is attested to in multiple sources. There's currently a detailed section in the article devoted to Jewish religious practices and traditions regarding the tomb,' is not borne out by the text, nor is it substantiated by Bowman's article (which is not the last word, but citing scripture to proof an ethnic belief is dangerous. Scripture is one thing, popular practice and belief another, varying from age to age and time to time. It can hardly be accidental that sources now conflict as to whether it is Judaism's second or third most sacred cite. In a decade of asking around and searching no one has yet been able to clarify to me when the popular classifications of 4 holy cities arose, for example. The same goes for the ranking in order of sacrality of these religious sites. Nishidani (talk) 22:08, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Based on the above discussion, I propose the below text:

Rachel's tomb has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity,[14] and is currently considered the third holiest site in Judaism.[12][13]

A detailed review of historical sources by Frederick Strickert suggests the shrine was "held in esteem equally by Jews, Muslims, and Christians".[2] According to Martin Gilbert, Jews have made pilgrimage to the tomb since ancient times,[15] but most recorded historical pilgrimages were Christian, and these Christian writers noted the devotion shown to the shrine by local Muslims and then later also by Jews, and throughout history it was not considered a shrine exclusive to any one religion.[2]

Any comments? Oncenawhile (talk) 21:52, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

Martin Gilbert shouldn't be there, but I'm not going to raise objections. Nishidani (talk) 22:08, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

This would work better imo, also incorporating the revision that was agreed to by Zero0000:

Rachel's tomb has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity,[14] and is the third holiest site in Judaism.[12][13] Frederick Strickert suggests the shrine was "held in esteem equally by Jews, Muslims, and Christians".[2] According to Martin Gilbert, Jews have made pilgrimage to the tomb since ancient times. [15] Christian pilgrims wrote of the devotion shown to the shrine by local Muslims and then later also by Jews, and throughout history it was rarely considered a shrine exclusive to one religion.[2]

Drsmoo (talk) 22:01, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

The problem is Bowman and Strickert did specialized studies on the tomb, whereas Gilbert was a contemporary historian making a generalization no one can find confirmation for in the specialist literature, which in fact makes his statement look very much off-the-rack. Still, there's a fair degree of overlap between the two, and I'm sure one can find a consensual modulation.Nishidani (talk) 22:11, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Langton and the Jewish Encyclopedia, which I posted earlier, both concur that the site was likely an ancient place of worship. Drsmoo (talk) 22:19, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
...which is very different from it being a place of pilgrimage. Oncenawhile (talk) 22:41, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I said earlier " I think prayer or worship may be a better word to use rather than pilgrimage, as the former can be said to include the latter" Drsmoo (talk) 22:45, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't see the relevance of this statement to the point being made.
Anyway, here [1] is another scholarly work which disagrees with Gilbert. See page 30, which say that the first concrete evidence of Jewish pilgrimages are from the 10th century, with Christian pilgrimages a few centuries prior. Oncenawhile (talk) 23:04, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
They're all relevant as examples of ancient worship at the site, which is referenced in your link as well. Drsmoo (talk) 23:08, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
"Place of worship" and "Place of pilgrimage" are different things, with the latter being a very small subset of the former.
Oncenawhile (talk) 06:59, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────In my last edit ([2]) I have made a compromise proposal between Drsmoo's and my proposals above. Oncenawhile (talk) 11:32, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Cool, sounds like we're pretty much in agreement then regarding pilgrimage and places of worship (I had actually just submitted this when it said you had posted, I'll include my own compromise as well). Pretty strange for you to completely forgo all the talk page discussion we've been having and unilaterally edit the article as if it didn't happen, and then claim you're representing talk. This seems to be done repeatedly, though. Here's my revised, ideal proposal, and will include my compromise on the main article as well:

Rachel's tomb has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity,[14] and is the third holiest site in Judaism.[12][13] Frederick Strickert suggests the shrine was "held in esteem equally by Jews, Muslims, and Christians".[2] The tomb is considered to have been a place of worship in ancient Israel [Langton][Jewish Encyclopedia], and according to Martin Gilbert, Jews have made pilgrimage to the tomb since ancient times.[15] Christian pilgrims wrote of the devotion shown to the shrine by local Muslims and then later also by Jews, and throughout history it was rarely considered a shrine exclusive to one religion.[2]

Drsmoo (talk) 11:59, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Break: Christians[edit]

OK, great, we are making progress. Please could you explain your rationale for the following amendments in your edit:

  1. Deletion of "The earliest concrete evidence of ... Jewish pilgrims [is] in the 10th century" and "most recorded historical visitors were Christian"
  2. Deletion of "currently considered". Note that we don't have a source to state that it has always been seen this way, and with no firm evidence of Jewish pilgrims prior to the 10th century we should not be suggesting otherwise
  3. The ancient worship in Israel sentence appears to be referring to Gen 35 verse 20. Why is this is neutral voice? As an aside, this is more than likely what Martin Gilbert is referring to.

Oncenawhile (talk) 13:19, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Regarding "making progress" the progress is meant to be made on the talk page. It's wrong for you to to completely ignore the talk page discussions, and simply post your own ideas, and then describe it as per talk. You even kept the grammar mistakes.
  • 1. The source doesn't say visitors, it says witnesses, again, this was discussed in talk. The majority being Christian is assumed based on travel restrictions on Jews as well as numerical differences and other factors, this was pointed out to you by three editors on the talk page, and the way you phrased it as if there was a contradiction was strange, with the removal of this inaccurate contradiction agreed to by Zero0000 and myself. Nishidani agreed, which, again, you ignored.
  • 2. None of the sources phrase it as "currently considered", the correct phrasing is "is".
  • 3. It's in a neutral voice as it's based on multiple reliable sources. Yes, archaeologists and anthropologists do use biblical and other religious writings as clues to understanding the ancient world Drsmoo (talk) 13:40, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
1. Strickert uses "witnesses" and "visitors" interchangeably in a single sentence, in a grammatic style known as elegant variation. Either way, you have yet to provide a justification for hiding the fact that there is no concrete evidence of Jewish pilgrims at the tomb prior to the 10th century, and that (irrespective of WP:OR attempts to rationalize it) most historical people recorded at the tomb were Christian. Do you have any sources which disagree with these two scholars' statements?
2. Please confirm how long it has been considered as #3?
3. Statements found in the Bible need in text attribution. If a scholar says that the Bible says something, that still means the Bible needs to be WP:INTEXT
Oncenawhile (talk) 15:14, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The source isn't the Bible, the source is the scholars. Strickert exclusively uses "witnesses" to describe the Christian witnesses. Additionally, we've already discussed this previously, with multiple comments that the assertion would be an unwarranted inference and to be avoided. Drsmoo (talk) 17:00, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
(re 3) ...and those scholars are explicitly using the Bible to reach their conclusion. So we cannot mislead readers by whitewashing this fact.
(re 1) Unwarranted inference can be dealt with using clarifying words or clauses in the sentence. Deleting altogether sounds like you just don't like it.
Oncenawhile (talk) 18:49, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The current writing isn't misleading readers, and It's the concept that's unwarranted. Again, this has been discussed with multiple editors weighing in, I'm not seeing any new arguments. Drsmoo (talk) 18:54, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Since you have gone back to making vacuous statements, I will proceed with the changes. You can then amend. Oncenawhile (talk) 20:00, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Amendments made to the relevant paragraph, to bring these closer to the sources. I did not amend for point 2 above so as to be consistent. Oncenawhile (talk) 22:04, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

The fact that you consider multiple editors disagreeing with you to be "vacuous" is telling. As are the consistent personal attacks. Drsmoo (talk) 23:38, 7 September 2016 (UTC)
I will continue this thread below. Oncenawhile (talk) 09:28, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Section headings[edit]

@Drsmoo: please explain why you support the titles you reverted to? The main header does not reflect the content. Oncenawhile (talk) 19:46, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

The section relates to Jewish religious significance, including three subsections detailing Jewish customs and practices, of which there are many. I did see that in addition to removing the heading of Jewish significance, you curiously removed a discription of masses of Jews praying at the tomb (while keeping the source). No possible idea why it would be removed. I suggested earlier adding sections for Islamic and Christian beliefs, practices and customs regarding the tomb. When I suggested adding info about Christian and Muslim practices, that didn't mean trying to minimize descriptions of Jewish practices. Additionally, the pings are obviously unnecessary as this is a community discussion. It would be more appropriate to address queries to the community. After all, I didn't write the section, only reverting a bad edit. I would prefer that you not constantly direct messages at specific editors. This is a community discussion, and anyone can reply.Drsmoo (talk) 21:19, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Please explain what the "location" subsection has to do with "Jewish religious significance"? All other similar articles in Wikipedia have a single section on location, which includes all views, not just those of one community. Oncenawhile (talk) 09:50, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Discussion regarding the location of the site is significant in Jewish theology. As I said before, feel free to add sections regarding Christian and Islamic views and traditions regarding the site. Also, a tip for the future, next time you try to undo a long-standing edit, attempt to justify your own change. Drsmoo (talk) 12:44, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The only way the location discussion could be considered "significant" in Jewish theology would be if one considers every single topic subject to Rabbinic discussion to have "religious significance"? If so, you would need to believe that per Be’er Heitev 3:2, the question of eating in a bathroom is also significant.
I will accept your argument if you can show me one other Wikipedia article where "Location" is a subheading under a "Religious significance" section. Just one, out of 5 million+ articles.
It really makes no sense. Oncenawhile (talk) 14:54, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Again, not my argument, I didn't write it, but I, along with others, agree with it. Whether you like it not is irrelevant of course. As was said before, feel free to add information about Islamic and Christian practices and customs, and try to avoid strangely removing the word Jew from Wikipedia (including chopping up references and removing descriptions of Jewish religious practices) Drsmoo (talk) 15:05, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
If you can't justify why you agree with something, your view is able to be ignored. Wikipedia is not about voting, but about quality and strength of one's rationale. You made a revert, and now you're being pushed to explain yourself you try to hide behind "ask the original editor". Pathetic. Oncenawhile (talk) 15:21, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
I did, in fact, justify why the section is there. You've yet to justify your objection to it (or even attempt to do so). "Look at something else" isn't a policy. Drsmoo (talk) 17:29, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Your justification turned out to have no substance, proven by the fact that you evaded my attempts to verify it with my post at 14:54, 2 September. So how can it be taken seriously?
To reiterate my objection: you reverted to a structure that makes no sense and has no precedent in Wikipedia. A debate around location does not logically fit under a heading of "Religious Significance". A religious significance section should simply describe the significance. Oncenawhile (talk) 18:20, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
Nah, I answered you. You're confusing the correction of your claim that it was "my argument" with something else it seems. The reason for the correction is that there appears to be a habit where discussion is curiously restricted to two editors. This is done with pinging specific individual editors, and making demands of specific editors, etc. A more appropriate post would have been to make a talk section about the heading, and then ask what editors in general thought about it, and then following consensus. In any case, the reasoning was provided. The claim that it has no substance is incorrect. Additionally, the fact that unrelated references to Jewish prayer were removed, along with removing the heading regarding Jewish significance is revealing. My suggestion is to start a discussion on Wikiproject Judaism and ask there what the religious significance of the location of Rachel's tomb is in Judaism. Drsmoo (talk) 18:40, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The reason we are the only two discussing this is because you made a stupid revert about something totally irrelevant, and noone can be bothered to deal with it.
I have tried to verify the justification for your revert, but you constantly provide evasive answers. If you wish to engage, answer my post at 14:54, 2 September. Otherwise I have no choice but to ignore your objection.
Oncenawhile (talk) 18:54, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
No, I'm pretty sure it was the pinging and the direct question to a single editor that did it. It's still possible to invite more editors to the discussion though. Why would undoing the arbitrary removal of references to Jewish practice and significance be "stupid"? Obviously "find something else somewhere" isn't how wikipedia articles work. You can't just give people ultimatums based on things that aren't policy. Drsmoo (talk) 19:04, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The fact that you are still talking about the removal of part of that quote puzzles me. I have no problem with you adding back the words at the end of the quote - I didn't mean to remove that clause anyway, but it was irrelevant because the meaning is the same. I haven't responded to you on that point until now because I can't see the merit in explaining to myself when I am perfectly happy with the version with the text added back.
So, to get back to the point.
The stupid bit is the titles of the sections. Why on earth are you fighting to keep a set of titles that make no sense? Since you appear to have accepted that it is unlikely that such a structure exists anywhere else on Wikipedia, surely we can move on.
I don't have a particularly strong preference for the titles I proposed, I simply think the current version is illogical. If you have better ideas, then we can stop this discussion and move on.
Oncenawhile (talk) 20:07, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
The only other thought would be to perhaps merge Location into Rabbinic Traditions. Drsmoo (talk) 20:58, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
How about merging "Location" into "Biblical accounts and disputed location"? Oncenawhile (talk) 07:14, 3 September 2016 (UTC)
I've long thought that a separate "location" subsection within the Jewish significance section is bad structure. The same issues have long been debated by Christian and secular scholars. I think there should be a separate Location section up higher in which contributions of Jewish scholars are included. In particular, it is crazy that the current subsection does not mention any historical evidence. Zerotalk 08:05, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If no objections I will make this change. Oncenawhile (talk) 21:52, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

Considering there have been non stop back and forth objections, your edit is curious. Drsmoo (talk) 23:41, 7 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think the conflict regarding headings is a result of previously undiscussed changes. The original name for the Jewish Religious Significance section was In Judaism, it was changed here. Biblical Accounts and Location was changed to Biblical Accounts and Disputed Location here (by an IP). However, there are no longer descriptions of biblical accounts in that section. It would benefit the article to restore the titles to Location and In Judaism. Drsmoo (talk) 07:32, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

The link you are pointing to is not clear, as many changes were made and it is four year old. For clarity, please set out the table of contents you propose, and explain where in the article as a whole you believe discussion of location should be based. Oncenawhile (talk) 09:39, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Feel free to explain what's unclear about the links. Drsmoo (talk) 10:22, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
It's not clear how your proposal works because the old version of the article you linked to is so different to today. Please could you simply set out what your proposal is without cross-referring to older versions of the article? Oncenawhile (talk) 21:46, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
That's basically my point though. For example Biblical Accounts and Location used to describe biblical accounts and the disagreement over the location. But the section no longer includes biblical accounts, so we should reverse the IP edit (which shouldn't have been accepted to begin with) and change it to "Location". I also think the "Jewish Religious Significance" section heading is kind of sloppy and bad, and the original "In Judaism" is what we should return to. Drsmoo (talk) 22:21, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Makes sense, and no objection from me. Can we then combine the two location sections? Oncenawhile (talk) 22:23, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Yeah Drsmoo (talk) 22:47, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Recent Deletions[edit]

@Drsmoo: do you have any policy-based or source-based rationale for the deletions in this edit. Since the words you removed are directly supported by high quality sources, this risks looking like a POV edit.

Whilst you have discussed around this topic in previous posts, I have re-read all your posts in the threads above and cannot find any proposed justification for removal of the text other than a personal WP:OR analysis that these scholar's statements don't fit with what you think this article should say. Please allow other editors to comment by setting out the policies and sources that underpin your deletion.

Oncenawhile (talk) 09:37, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

Framing it as a "deletion" is inaccurate. As it's your insertion that was never supported by anyone. It's very strange, again with the pinging, and the "personal" as if this were about me. Three editors described the insertion of the comparison between Christian and Jewish visitors as undue and unnecessary and you've yet to justify its insertion as anything other than your feeling that it "must" be in the article (because?). You can keep creating talk page sections (while ignoring the talk page) but that won't change things. To reinforce what was previously said as to why the insertion is meaningless.

Salmon ben Yeruhim, in his Arabic commentary to Ps. xxx: wrote ' we know, the temple remained in the hands of the Romans for more than 500 years and they did not succeed in entering Jerusalem; and anyone who did and was recognized [as a Jew] was put to death.


Access to the Holy Land became easier for Jews in the fourteenth century. Before that time the city of Jerusalem had for a considerable period been barred to Jewish pilgrims. By the laws of Constantine and of Omar no Jew might enter within the precincts of his ancient capital. Even in the centuries subsequent to Omar, such pilgrimages were fraught with danger, but the poems of Jehuda Halevi, the tolerance of Islam, and the reputation of Northern Syria as a centre of the Kabbala, combined to draw many Jews to Palestine.


So to say that most of the early recorded visitors were Christians, while Christians were deliberately banning Jews from traveling, and while the journey was highly unsafe for Jews, presents a picture which is misleading and Undue. Jews weren't able to just go on tour whenever they wanted. Drsmoo (talk) 12:19, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

The second quotation doesn't end with the period you put there, but continues "but the poems of Jehuda Halevi, the tolerance of Islam, and the reputation of Northern Syria as a center of the Kabbala, combined to draw many Jews to Palestine." It's also a bit odd that your second quote says that Omar forbad Jews to enter Jerusalem while your first source, on the same page and the next page, says exactly the opposite. Actually I don't recall any Muslim period, before or after the Crusader rule, when Jews were less able to visit Jerusalem than Christians were. If such periods existed, your sources don't indicate them. There are many surviving accounts of Jewish travelers throughout that period; for example there are more than a dozen in Adler's "Jewish Travellers of the Middle Ages". Zerotalk 13:00, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
The 1905 book in the second quote, from Israel Abrahams, makes generalizations that are patent nonsense and should not be used. It is known to everyone that from 638 down to the 11th century, Jews had as much access to the city as the majoritarian Christians. Saladin restored Jewish rights to residence and visits after they had been interrupted by the Crusaders. The small community nonetheless declined to almost zero thereafter. Travel often relied on the existence of ethnic/sectarian networks, and wherever these broke down, pilgrimage etc., declined.Nishidani (talk) 14:10, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
I think the 1905 book had a typo and meant "until Omar" based on the next sentence "Even in the centuries subsequent to Omar" and the references to the "tolerance of Islam" which wouldn't make sense otherwise. (He likely meant Constantine until Omar.) The relevant passages for that source are that after Omar travel was still dangerous for Jews. The earliest travelogue in "Jewish Travellers" is 817. None of the travelogues seem to reference reaching Palestine/Jerusalem/Israel/The Holy Land until Benjamin of Tudela. There is Judah Halevi who writes of his "trip to Zion"in around the same period as Benjamin, however he doesn't seem to describe his time there. Are there any Jewish travelogues of Israel/Palestine before Benjamin of Tudelah? Drsmoo (talk) 14:34, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Travel was dangerous for everyone, of any persuasion, in premodern times. For several centuries, after Umar and then after Suleyman the Magnificent, there were no special difficulties for Jews, who had very substantial communities throughout the contiguous Middle Eastern world. They did not emigrate en masse, and the reasons for this absence of aliyah do not lie in persecution.Nishidani (talk) 14:57, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
Some more sources (first two are from the same source):

The conquest and sack of Jerusalem in July 1099 counted a great many Jewish inhabitants among its victims. After this, Jews as well as Muslims were forbidden to set foot in the city. But in the second half of the twelfth century restrictions were eased for Jewish pilgrims, and Benjamin of Tudela speaks of Jewish artisans in the city


Christian pilgrimage apparently served as a model for the Jewish communities in Europe, because an ever-increasing stream of Jewish pilgrims came to the Levant from modern Spain, Germany, and France. Some of them settled permanently. Among these was a large number of important scholars at the beginning of the thirteenth century —the texts speak of the "migration of the three hundred rabbis." Their offspring as well as the other Jews of Acre were killed alongside the Christians when the Mamluks conquered the city in 1291.


Only a few precious eyewitness records of Jewish life in Jerusalem in the period from the twelfth to the fifteenth century have been preserved for posterity. Among these are a travelogue written by the famous globetrotter Benjamin of Tudela, who visited Jerusalem in 1173; a letter written by Nachmanides, the renowned talmudist and exegete, who arrived in Jerusalem on August 12, 1267; and a letter written by Bertinoro, a popular Mishnah commentator, who settled in Jerusalem on March 23, 1488. According to one version of Benjamin of Tudela's travelogue, there were 200 Jews in Jerusalem at the time of his visit in 1173. Another version mentions only four Jewish residents. The latter figure appears to be the authentic one. Under the rule of the Crusaders, who were in control of Jerusalem when Benjamin of Tudela visited there, Jews were denied the right to reside there. The restriction was lifted only after Saladin captured the city in 1187.


Curiously, Eldad found few imitators, except among outright romancers. We know, in fact, of no subsequent Jewish travelogues until their sudden efflorescence in the latter part of the twelfth century. The only significant exception was Ibrahim ibn Ya'qub's Arabic report on his journey to central Europe, preserved merely in fragmentary excerpts cited in a geographic treatise by Al-Bakri (d. 1094) and other Arab writers.


His journal is a unique historical document. It is one of very few pre-modern Jewish travelogues, and the only one among them to include reports on meetings with a pope, with African and European monarchs and with many other dignitaries.


I fail to see the purpose of this. It has nothing to do with Rachel's tomb. We all know that Muslims, Christians and Jews went on pilgrimage in Palestine. It is all common knowledge, familiar I am sure to most editors. Relative to the population, Jews were an exiguous percentage of the population from late Byzantine times down to the 19th century, as indeed also Christians, the majority until the 11th-12 centuries, when their numbers began to dwindle. All suffered slaughter: in 1099, the Jewish population could congregate in one synagogue, where they were all killed by the Crusaders who, however, did so while dispatching a reported 70,000 (probably exaggerated) Muslims, similar numbers are mentioned for the bruited Persian/Jewish slaughter of Christians in 614. The 1099 massive pogrom seeded in Islamic culture the notion of holy war by the way, since that is what the Crusaders called their form of belligerent murder. Nishidani (talk) 17:20, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

The point is that inserting a statement saying the first and majority of descriptions were Christian, without pointing out that when those first Christian descriptions were written, Jews were barred from entering, and that there were very few Jews writing about travel is misleading. Drsmoo (talk) 17:36, 8 September 2016 (UTC)
So you need a source saying Jews were barred from entering Rachel's Tomb. It's that simple.Nishidani (talk) 19:50, 8 September 2016 (UTC)

From this and other ancient references to Hadrian's action it is supposed that the emperor's orders took the form of a resolution adopted at his recommendation by the Roman Senate (senatus consultum), a resolution which decreed that it was forbidden for all circumcised persons to enter and to stay within the territory of Aelia Capitolina, and that any person contravening this prohibition should be put to death. That the prohibition was enforced by the death penalty is confirmed by Justin (Apology I 147: cf Dialogue with Trypho 16 and 92), who remarks that "death is decreed against a Jew apprehended entering it [Jerusalem]." The interdict applied not just to the city proper but to the entire municipal territory of Aelia Capitolina, which included the mountains immediately surrounding the city, known as Oreine ("the hill country," Lk 1:65), and extended northward to Gophna and southward to Herodium and Bethlehem. The inclusion of Bethlehem in the forbidden area is confirmed in his time (A.D. C. 200) by Tertullian (An Answer to the Jews 13, AND III, p.169) when he writes that "none of the race of Israel has remained in Bethlehem; and (so it has been) ever since the interdict as issued forbidding any one of the Jews to linger in the confines of the very district."


Drsmoo (talk) 20:45, 8 September 2016 (UTC)


This is the basis for an inference you are making, that were it not for the ban, Jews would have made pilgrimages to Rachel's tomb. The second, more serious oversight, is that, as your source and many others state, the proscription on a Jewish presence in the region of Aelia extended to Jews of the Christian persuasion. The ban on Jews in Aelia thus applied to both and if pilgrimage existed would have hampered both communities. The ban was clearly observed in the breach since as your source adds, the Talmud has several passages speaking of Jews in or passing by Jerusalem in the 2nd-3rd centuries, and Jerome's own teacher in Bethlehem was a Jew. Christian pilgrimage was probably exiguous, until after Constantine's mother's time. Eusebius mentions only 4 examples. Lastly, you haven't paid attention to the wording of Tertullian's text:

For it behoves him to proceed from the tribe of Judah and from Bethlehem. But we perceive that now none of the race of Israel has remained in Bethlehem; and (so it has been) ever since the interdict was issued forbidding any one of the Jews to linger in the confines of the very district, in order that this prophetic utterance also should be perfectly fulfilled

Oportebat enim eum de tribu Iuda et a Bethleem procedere. Animadvertimus autem nunc neminem de genere Israelis in civitate Bethleem remansisse exinde quo interdictum est, ne in confinio ipsius regionis demoretur quisquam Iudaeorum, ut hoc quoque esset adimpletum, id est propheta

to linger is demorari in Latin, and specifically means to 'stay over,' and contextually here clearly signifies 'breaking one's journey to put up in Bethlehem'. The whole passage says nothing about Jews being forbidden to pass through the region of Aelia. To the contrary it attests to the idea that those Jews who were travelling there could not take up residence, or stay over there, something which does not impede pilgrimage.Nishidani (talk) 11:19, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
While your original research is interesting, Princeton University Press is quite clear: "That the prohibition was enforced by the death penalty is confirmed by Justin (Apology I 147: cf Dialogue with Trypho 16 and 92), who remarks that "death is decreed against a Jew apprehended entering it [Jerusalem]." The interdict applied not just to the city proper but to the entire municipal territory of Aelia Capitolina, which included the mountains immediately surrounding the city, known as Oreine ("the hill country," Lk 1:65), and extended northward to Gophna and southward to Herodium and Bethlehem." Regarding Judeo-Christians, it seems likely that they were prohibited. I don't see the relevance though. Tertullian wasn't a Jewish Christian, and non-Jewish Christians were allowed to enter. I wouldn't be surprised though if there were some Jews who risked sneaking into Jerusalem to study and pray due to its significance, the fact that Jews were barred from entering there and Bethlehem under punishment of death is well established. Drsmoo (talk) 18:44, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Re Judeo-Christians, if you had extended the quote, we would see that the author wrote "is not entirely clear" - so we should not try to draw a conclusion.
Either way, I do not understand the relevance - none of this would stop Jewish travellers from the seventh century onwards. Your source 6 above found this "curious", suggesting there is no obvious reason for the lack of recorded pilgimages as you are suggesting. Oncenawhile (talk) 19:14, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
The relevance is that when the first Christian descriptions were written, Jews were banned from entering. Regarding the seventh century onwards, there are "very few" pre-modern Jewish travelogues. So to say that most were Christian is, as has been pointed out, not meaningful. Unless one is trying to create a misleading POV. Drsmoo (talk) 19:27, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Drsmoo. Try to refrain playing the pot to my kettle. Most of what I said is from the sources you asked me to read. What you are engaged in is irrelevant original research in the sense that, lacking material on Jewish pilgrimage to Rachel's tomb in this early period, you are casting around for material that explains why there is no evidence for it, i.e. some ban on them making pilgrimage, a ban that also applied to Judeo-Christians. As I said: if you want to make this point, then all you need do is find an RS that specifically states Jewish (and even Jewish Christian) pilgrimage to Rachel's Tomb dropped off because of the ban on Jews in Aelia.Nishidani (talk) 19:48, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
No. Your own translation is original research, quoting from a reliable source is not. The fact that the ban applied to Judeo-Christians has no relevance to anything. And yes, a source was provided which stated that Jews were barred from Rachel's Tomb. And that's while having no obligation to respond to meaningless ultimatums. Drsmoo (talk) 19:54, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Don't be silly. The translation provided was from the standard English version. I simply gave the Latin text, and glossed the word to linger which, like demorari, means to 'hang around' and not move on. The text RS you yourself cited, Jack Finegan, uses the same text, Look up the word 'linger' in any English dictionary. Any one who 'lingers' is told to move on. The Roman ban if applied would have meant anyone found there would be put to death, not just told not 'to linger'. Nishidani (talk) 20:05, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
The source is clear "death is decreed against a Jew apprehended entering it", it's not contradicted by Tertullian either. Drsmoo (talk) 20:11, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────To try to bring this to a head, we can write: "The first historically recorded pilgrimages to the site were by early Christians in the first centuries CE. The first recorded Jewish pilgrimages were in the 10th century,[ref name=":0" ] and most recorded historical witnesses to the tomb were Christian; [ref name=Strickert] although it should be noted that Jewish and Judeo-Christian travel to the region was banned during the Aelia period from the early second century until the [ ] century."[citation needed]

Oncenawhile (talk) 20:27, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

No, that would be misleading and POV. Drsmoo (talk) 20:29, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
OK, then we will delete the last clause starting "although it should be noted". The rest of the sentence is directly supported by WP:RS and will stay in the article whether you like it or not. Oncenawhile (talk) 20:32, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Who is "we"? That sounds a lot like tag-teaming. The fact that Jews were barred from entering under penalty of death is WP:RS, as is the fact that there were very few Jewish travelogues written at all. Drsmoo (talk) 20:35, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
You are systematically ignoring all of the evidence that does not favour the snippet you have, which regards not a ban on pilgrimage to Rachel's Tomb, but a prohibition on Jews, including Jewish Christians, from residing in Aelia, including Bethlehem, a ban that cannot have been executed thoroughly for the early period because both the Talmud and Christian patristic literature notes the presence of Jews, Jewish Christians and Christians in that area while the threat of execution was not yet revoked. By the way 'we' in English refers to all people present. Oncenawhile is asking for some compromise consonant with the known historical record.Nishidani (talk) 20:40, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
No, Jews were barred, under penalty of death, from entering Aelia and the surrounding region. Tertullian wrote that no Jews remained in Bethlehem and that Jews were prohibited from lingering there. B does not contradict A, though I'm happy to add both to the article. The fact that some Jews managed to sneak in does not change the fact that they were barred from doing so under penalty of death. Drsmoo (talk) 20:45, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Drsmoo, your "surrounding region" point in your first sentence is mixed up - per your sources above that component comes from Tertullian. Oncenawhile (talk) 21:11, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't see it. "From this and other ancient references to Hadrian's action it is supposed that the emperor's orders took the form of a resolution adopted at his recommendation by the Roman Senate (senatus consultum), a resolution which decreed that it was forbidden for all circumcised persons to enter and to stay within the territory of Aelia Capitolina, and that any person contravening this prohibition should be put to death. That the prohibition was enforced by the death penalty is confirmed by Justin (Apology I 147: cf Dialogue with Trypho 16 and 92), who remarks that "death is decreed against a Jew apprehended entering it [Jerusalem]." The interdict applied not just to the city proper but to the entire municipal territory of Aelia Capitolina, which included the mountains immediately surrounding the city, known as Oreine ("the hill country," Lk 1:65), and extended northward to Gophna and southward to Herodium and Bethlehem. He then says that the inclusion of Bethlehem in the prohibition is confirmed by Tertullian. Drsmoo (talk) 21:19, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
If you show the full subsequent sentence it is clear that the author is saying that he knows it applies to the surrounding region because Tertullian confirms it. It can't be any other way because he doesn't provide any other source for the statement re wider application. Oncenawhile (talk) 21:34, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I meant to convey, I may have written it poorly. I don't think there's any disagreement here. Drsmoo (talk) 21:38, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Jewish Christians were barred under penalty of death from entering Aelia and the surrounding region. They were savagely persecuted for 2 centuries during which Jewish worship was considered a religio licita. Yet documents say, notwithstanding this both Christians and Jews did either pass through or reside in that area while the general ban was still enforceable. As for Tertullian, or any other ancient author, nothing written in these texts is prima facie proof of anything. He is citing a law while writing in far-off Carthage, not making empirical observations of how it was implemented or otherwise in distant Palestine, whereas his rough contemporary Origen states that in his time Bethlehem was an object of Christian tourism, when the law forbade Jewish Christians technically from entering that area. Nishidani (talk) 21:02, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────How about the following: "The first historically recorded pilgrimages to the site were by early Christians in the first centuries CE. The first recorded Jewish pilgrimages were in the 10th century,[ref name=":0" ] and most recorded historical witnesses to the tomb were Christian; [ref name=Strickert] although it should be noted that Jewish and Judeo-Christian travel to the region was limited, with certain exceptions, due to a ban during the Aelia period from the early second century until the [ ] century."[citation needed]

Oncenawhile (talk) 21:14, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

Still POV, my preferred version is the one currently on the page. Though I'm open to adding the information on Jews (and Jewish Christians) being barred under penalty of death. As well as adding Tertullian's observation that no Jews remained in Bethlehem. We can also add that there are very few pre-modern Jewish travelogues in general. Drsmoo (talk) 21:26, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Ok, combined proposal as follows:
"The first historically recorded pilgrimages to the site were by early Christians in the first centuries CE. The first recorded Jewish pilgrimages were in the 10th century,[ref name=":0" ] and most recorded historical witnesses to the tomb were Christian; [ref name=Strickert] although it should be noted that Jewish and Judeo-Christian travel to the region was limited, with certain exceptions, due to a ban under penalty of death during the Aelia period from the early second century until the [ ] century, there were no Jews in Bethlehem during Tertullian's time and there were very few pre-modern Jewish travelogues in general.."[citation needed]
Oncenawhile (talk) 21:38, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
Hey, that actually is much better, I would change it a smidge though to the following: "The first historically recorded pilgrimages to the site were by early Christians in the first centuries CE (Sered) and most recorded historical witnesses to the tomb were Christian; [ref name=Strickert]. Jewish and Judeo-Christian travel to the region was limited (with some exceptions) due to a ban under penalty of death from the early second century until the fourth century, with Tertullian attesting that "no Jews remained in Bethlehem." (Finegan) There were very few pre-modern Jewish travelogues (Eliav -Feldon), with the first recorded Jewish pilgrimages to the tomb in the 10th century (Sered). Drsmoo (talk) 21:59, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
I can live with this as a compromise. I worry it feels heavy with WP:OR and WP:SYNTH, but I don't think it's misleading. Oncenawhile (talk) 22:03, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
It's WP:ORish, but not contrafactual, and I'm not going to niggle if other editors accept this as a reasonable compromise, though I would have worded it somewhat differently, purely on stylistic grounds, along the following lines.

Early documentary evidence for visiting Rachel’s Tomb was provided by Christian witnesses . [ref name=Strickert]. with the first historically attested pilgrimages to the site by early Christians dating back to the first centuries CE (Sered). Jewish and Jewish Christian travel to the area was limited, given the Hadrian’s interdiction on Jews entering the region around Jerusalem. This ban, which carried the death penalty, was formally in force for some centuries, though exceptions of leniency appear to have existed.[1] Tertullian attests for this period that "no Jews remained in Bethlehem." (Jack Finegan) There were very few pre-modern Jewish travelogues (Eliav -Feldon), with the first recorded Jewish pilgrimages to the tomb in the 10th century (Sered).Nishidani (talk) 10:49, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Rainer Riesner, ‘Synagogues in Jerusalem,’ in Richard Bauckham (ed.), The Book of Acts in Its Palestinian Setting, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995 pp.179ff p.199.
@Nishidani: thanks for this. I note you deleted "from the early second century until the fourth century". What time period do you think the ban applied to? I do think we should include a time frame around this. Oncenawhile (talk) 18:01, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
'formally in force for some centuries'. Anyone clicking on Hadrian (ca.135 ca.) can arrive at the end of the time frame. But in any case, I'm happy with the compromise you both worked out.Nishidani (talk) 18:40, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Caption on image[edit]

@No More Mr Nice Guy: readers deserve an explanation as to why we are putting a century-old image in prime position instead of a recent photo. I don't care what it says, so long as we explain. If you don't like what was written, write your own. But a blatant revert is lazy against what was clearly a good faith edit. Oncenawhile (talk) 23:29, 9 September 2016 (UTC)

I disagree on all counts. I made a perfectly legitimate BRD revert. Your new caption is an obvious POV push which I can't imagine you thought will remain unchallenged. The current image is a well known iconic image that represents the tomb. I think the current image and caption are fine. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 23:35, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
So you think it's fine for a reader to remain in the dark as to why we are showing an old pencil sketch instead of a recent photo?
And what exactly is POV about explaining that it is no longer visible from the street. Please explain this in simple terms as I really have no idea.
Oh and please source your claim that the sketch is iconic.
Finally, please give me another example of a still-standing ancient building whose primary image is not a recent photo.
Oncenawhile (talk) 23:50, 9 September 2016 (UTC)
@No More Mr Nice Guy: please respond to the above. Otherwise I can only assume that your objection has no substance behind it. Oncenawhile (talk) 17:58, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I explained my objection both in my edit summary and in my post above. I am not required to let you waste my time with an endless back and forth that consists mainly of you asking irrelevant questions and demanding answers. Fool me once, etc. If another editor supports your edit I will gladly continue the discussion. Meanwhile, do not take my future silence as consent for your proposed changes. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 18:03, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
@No More Mr Nice Guy: Nope, sorry. Reverts need rationale that stand up to more scrutiny than a quick scratch at the surface. Your explanation says POV yet you don't explain why, and you claim the image is well known and iconic without proof. You know well that Wikipedia is about quality of discussion, not quantity. If you are not prepared to discuss, you will be ignored. Oncenawhile (talk) 18:07, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

The modified caption is clearly a POV violation. The image it accompanied did not show any wall. What would you think of a caption for either your image or the current one that read "Due to Palestinian violence, the site was surrounded by walls and can no longer be seen from the street"? That should tell you how POV your caption was. Epson Salts (talk) 18:15, 10 September 2016 (UTC)</s

The caption was simply "Today, the tomb is encircled by the Israeli West Bank barrier, so is no longer visible from street level." That is objective fact.
Your "Due to Palestinian violence" is commentary, which is POV because it is only one component of the debate around the wall. An example equivalent but opposite POV would be "Due to an Israeli land-grab significantly outside the Green Line..." or similar.
The uncontroversial fact is that the wall exists, and such that the tomb is no longer visible from the outside. We should not include commentary either way. What is POV about that?
Oncenawhile (talk) 20:22, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
The caption should simply describe the image. Drsmoo (talk) 20:26, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Why are you so reticent to explain to readers why we are not showing a modern photograph? Avoid this is pulling the wool over the eyes of readers, plain and simple. Oncenawhile (talk) 20:35, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Huh? Who is "you"? You didn't add a modern photo, you just added a non-sequitor to the caption. Drsmoo (talk) 20:42, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
You, Drsmoo, and any other editors opposing clarity. There is no modern photo in this article because no modern photo exists or is even possible, since the tomb sits behind 8 meter high walls. Why would anyone want to hide this simple fact? Oncenawhile (talk) 21:15, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────For those who aren't aware of the modern status of the location: here is a map showing the wall and the tomb: [11].

Oncenawhile (talk) 21:15, 10 September 2016 (UTC)

Btw Oncenawhile, you said again Wikipedia is not about consensus, this is similar to when you didn't know what a revert was. Just letting you know that wikipedia is in fact based on consensus. Drsmoo (talk) 21:35, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I said "Wikipedia is about quality of discussion, not quantity". As WP:Consensus states: "Consensus on Wikipedia does not mean unanimity; nor is it the result of a vote." Oncenawhile (talk) 22:31, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I support Drsmoo's revert of material that attempted to give this issue UNDUE weight in the lead which Oncenawhile petulantly put in the article when he didn't get his way with the image. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 21:49, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Guys, there is no way you can hide this from people. The tomb in now inside a wall. It's incredibly obvious to anyone who goes there, yet you want to obfuscate it for readers here. We'll have to take this to an RFC or other form of DRN. Oncenawhile (talk) 22:26, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
Do whatever you feel you need to do. This information is already in the article no less than 4 times. Good luck finding a consensus to UNDUE it even more. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 22:35, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
This is the single most absurd attempted application of UNDUE I have ever seen proposed. Obviously undue cannot apply to describing the single most obvious thing that any real life visitor to the Tomb would see. If it is prominent in real life it should be prominent in this article. Oncenawhile (talk) 23:08, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
I'd ask you to quote where UNDUE says anything about what real life visitors see, and I'd point out that it talks about prominence in sources, but that seems to be an exercise in futility. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 23:31, 10 September 2016 (UTC)
What a lot of BS, NMMNG. Zerotalk 00:08, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
It's featured as and where it should be, in the sections detailing the modern status and description of the tomb. Drsmoo (talk) 00:13, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Do elaborate, Zero. Do you also feel that a mention in the lead, a mention in the body, a map showing the barrier and a picture showing the barrier are not enough for this article? Or were you questioning my interpretation of UNDUE? Please share your thoughts. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 01:01, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
The previous caption improved the article by informing readers why an old image of an existing building was being displayed contrary to normal practice in Wikipedia. Various wordings are possible, but deletion is definitely to the detriment of the article. I read the arguments and found yours to be lacking. You even undermined yourself when you wrote about "prominence in sources"; can you imagine that most recent sources describing the site don't mention one of the sites most notable features? Zerotalk 01:34, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
This explanation pre-supposes the assumption that this is the reason for the old image, rathe than the alternate , and more plausible , explanation that the old image is considered iconic, whereas the new one is not. Epson Salts (talk) 01:41, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Who says this is contrary to normal practice in Wikipedia? Maybe "most recent sources" do mention it, and maybe they don't, I really don't know. Unless they're activist sources like the architect Once was using as a source, I doubt they linger on it very much. As I mentioned, this is already mentioned in the lead and in the body, accompanied by a map showing the route of the barrier and a picture of the barrier itself. Is that not enough weight in your view?
I'll tell you what I'm sure is contrary to normal practice in Wikipedia - highlighting one issue that promotes your POV in the caption of the main image in the article, particularly when the picture doesn't even show the feature the caption is supposedly describing. That you would support an editor who tried to do that is what's BS here, but sadly no longer surprising. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 02:01, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
There was an unusual typo in your post. Where you wrote "activist" you must have meant to type "University of Cambridge Professor of Architecture". Perhaps your computer's autocorrect feature is accidentally set to "tendentious misrepresentation". Oncenawhile (talk) 08:13, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Now you made me cry. I would just write something like "the building is now closely surrounded by walls" in the caption, which is objectively true, perfectly neutral, and perfectly justified. Zerotalk 02:47, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
And why would we write that? The White House is surrounded by a tall fence on all sides, yet our photo does not show that fence, nor do we make any mention of it in the caption. Stop with the POV pushing. Epson Salts (talk) 02:53, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
If we woke up tomorrow and the White House was surrounded by an 8m high concrete barrier right up to the edge of the building, it would be described in the first paragraph and the caption.
You are missing the most important point though. You wrote that the White House photo does not show the fence. That is because an external photo is possible without showing the fence. The point here is that an external photo of Rachel's Tomb is not possible because of the barrier right in front and towering over it. Here is a video of what is now visible from the street. Oncenawhile (talk) 08:30, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The video you posted conclusively disproves your point - from its first frame, where the outside wall of Tomb Of Rachel can clearly be seen. Epson Salts (talk) 13:51, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

Sadly that is a modern wall. It is not the wall of the tomb itself which is behind it and looks like this. That wall is now covered, as can be seen in this photo. Oncenawhile (talk) 14:27, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
It is not covered by the separation wall, though, now is it? So can we drop the hyperbole about "8m high concrete walls," whose only purpose is to advance a POV? Epson Salts (talk) 14:44, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Sure, I am very open minded about the way we describe it. I simply think readers need to understand that (a) when the first paragraph says the tomb is in Bethlehem, the situation is not as simple as that, and (b) that there is a reason why we don't show a full modern picture of the tomb in the introductory photo. Oncenawhile (talk) 16:29, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Joseph's Tomb shows a painting as well. There's really no issue here other than POV pushing. The barrier is mentioned plenty in the article including in the lead and as mentioned before, included where appropriate, in modern descriptions of the location. Drsmoo (talk) 16:34, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
That is because no recent photo of Joseph's Tomb was available until 2014, not because one could not be available. You still have not explained why my points (a) and (b) above would be POV. Continually claiming POV without explanation makes it look like there's another reason you don't like it but you're not willing to tell everyone. Oncenawhile (talk) 20:50, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Three editors have described your changes as POV pushing. I'll let you know, claiming some kind of bullshit secret motive isn't going to lead to anything good. The first paragraph describes the historical nature of the site. The fourth paragraph describes its modern status, which is where the description of the barrier is introduced, and where it should be. Captions should describe the image they're captioning. Drsmoo (talk) 20:58, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not about votes or throwing around vacuous claims. It is about reasoned argument, which means addressing the points head on. In (a) above, I noted it seemed misleading to state that the tomb in is Bethlehem without any clarification, since it is not currently accessible from Bethlehem-proper. In (b) all I am proposing is a form of words which explains that the view shown in the sketch or old photo no longer exists, yet you have consistently failed to explain why you believe that is POV. Why are you avoiding these simple and reasonable points? Oncenawhile (talk) 21:25, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
The location mentioned in the first paragraph is accurate. You've yet to make a reasoned argument, or honestly, any argument other than claiming it needs to be there. The game of making a change, then demanding an explanation for why it was reverted by others, then demanding the same explanation again, and again, and then when they ignore you claiming that you'll redo the edit because they're not responding to you anymore isn't reasoned discussion either. (Another game is making multiple talk page sections about the same subject in rapid succession). I don't see any consensus for changing the image.Drsmoo (talk) 21:38, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
Re (a), I agree that Bethlehem being the location is accurate, yet it is also misleading without a "but...". Do you honestly believe that the enclosure and annexation of this tomb by the Wall is not notable enough for the lead paragraph? And on (b) you continue to evade my question. Ultimately this is question of whether one want to help readers understand this situation or not. It appears you are simply fighting to hide "inconvenient truths".. Oncenawhile (talk) 23:13, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
yes, I believe the enclosure of the tomb by the wall is not notable enough for the image caption, especially since no wall is visible in either the current image, or the one you were trying to push. It seems you have not actually read the article we are discussing, as the fact of the wall enclosing the tomb is in the lead. Now that have we put that argument to bed, let's move on. Epson Salts (talk) 23:30, 11 September 2016 (UTC)
There is a difference between "the lead" (all the paragraphs) and "the lead paragraph" (the first paragraph). A lead paragraph is reserved for only the most notable items on a subject. The idea that the actual status of the location doesn't qualify for this is absurd. To say "the tomb is in Bethlehem" without any other explanation is an embarrassment for our encyclopedia. Here's a test for you - if you met a professor in an elevator and asked them to describe the tomb, would they really get through five whole sentences without a single allusion to the unusual location and the fortification? Frankly most people would mention it in the first sentence. Oncenawhile (talk) 12:19, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────So apparently Once was attempting to put false information into the caption, and it's not necessarily "common practice" to have a photo? Color me shocked. I will, for the last time I hope, note that I think the current image and caption are fine, and that the issue of the barrier is amply noted in the lead and article, including being illustrated by both a map and an image. That seems like enough WEIGHT to me. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 04:39, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

You write "it's not necessarily "common practice" to have a photo". I suggest you review Template:Holy sites in Judaism. All but this one and Joseph's tomb (where a modern photo had not been available until recently) include modern photos as the lead image. There are a great many other examples I could bring. Unless you have evidence to support your statement, it can only be ignored. Which brings us to the real question here: if this article is going to continue to look odd by showing an old sketch as a the image for a building that still exists, why should we not explain why? You keep evading this question - unless you address this point, there cannot be a resolution here. Oncenawhile (talk) 12:19, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
we've amply explained why it uses a sketch - it is an iconic image, and has nothing do with the wall. Epson Salts (talk) 13:41, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Despite repeated requests, noone has been able to substantiate the alleged "iconic" nature of the image. So I can only assume the sketch is not noteworthy. If you wish this article to deviate from common practice, you can't just throw out random words and hope that some of them stick - you need a real rationale that is based in actual fact and stands up to some level of scrutiny. Oncenawhile (talk) 14:42, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
You are confused as to who has to make arguments here- you want to make a change to a long-standing version of the article - the onus is on you to justify it. So far you have failed. You claimed there is no article that uses sketches instead of recent photos - that was proven false (and then you disruptively went and tried to change the other article offered as proof). You claimed the tomb can't be photographed because of the wall - and then promptly shot yourself in the foot by posting a video and a still photograph that show the tomb . Multiple editor have told you that what you are doing is POV-pushing - time for you to move on.Epson Salts (talk) 15:07, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Classic. Having evaded challenge for the umpteenth time, is now clear beyond doubt that your objections are wholly spurious. So instead of apologizing and stepping back, you are trying to flip things around and hope noone notices... You then go on the attack by creating two strawmen claims which misrepresent what I have said (the evidence is above for all to see) - it is cheap and a waste of time.
I have raised two valid concerns which remain unaddressed. Until you are willing to address them with reasoned discussion, we will make no progress here. Oncenawhile (talk) 19:19, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Take a look at my second comment in this thread. I am not prescient, just experienced. Barring more editors to showing up to support a change (and I would hope this time not an attempt to insert false information into the article), I consider this resolved. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 16:27, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Since you have provided no substance to this discussion, yet consider it resolved, you must think that Wikipedia works via a voting system. Just because a group of editors "don't like" a fact, doesn't mean the discussion is over. Quite the opposite. Until we conclude a reasoned and substance-based discussion, this discussion will continue. I intend to summarise the substance of this discussion shortly and will then proceed to improve the article. Oncenawhile (talk) 19:19, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Recent claims[edit]

The debate above regarding the PA's recording of their name for the site in 1996 may have a parallel. Pullan writes "Since [1995] this important Jewish holy place has been made into a high-profile national religious shrine, referred to by its devotees as either the second or third holiest place in Judaism. The uncertainty about its status stems from different competing interest groups, but the ranking also indicates a recently revived and politically motivated place in the Jewish pantheon."

Does anyone have any sources which are inconsistent with Pullan's claim that ranking was "recently revived"?

Oncenawhile (talk) 19:25, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Fringe and counterfactual attempts to undermine Jewish holy sites are pretty lame. The claim is false.
"On the approach to Bethlehem is Rachel's Tomb, perhaps the most holy of Jewish shrines after the Wailing Wall and the Tomb of the Patriarchs." (
"Rachel's tomb at the entrance to Bethlehem, is one of Jewry's most holy sites" (
"The renewed encounter of the Jewish People with its holy places, especially the Western Wall, Rachel's Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and the securing of sovereignty over those places—which are linked with the formative roots of the Jewish People and the Jewish religion—encouraged and reinforced faith that hopes for Redemption were indeed being fulfilled." ( Drsmoo (talk) 20:35, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
The earliest one you have there is 1967. But Pullan's "recently revived" doesn't have a date attached to it. And another source you deleted without explanation states that the site "became" venerated as one of the three holiest, although without giving a date.
Have you seen any sources which give a sense of when this ranking came in to being. It clearly was not handed down by G_d. Oncenawhile (talk) 07:17, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
So wait, you extrapolated a date from the text and added it (1995), and now claim there is no date. Ok, lol. There are multiple sources describing Rachel's Tomb as one of the holiest sites in Judaism. Pullan's claim is false. Drsmoo (talk) 08:24, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
They are separate sentences. Your sources do not contradict Pullan. Do you consider that this "ranking" has existed in mainstream Judaism for 1,000 years? Surely given the number of sources out there which discuss the ranking we can find one which discusses when it came into being. Oncenawhile (talk) 13:51, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Oh, they're separate sentences? Lol. The first sentence claims it was only referred to as the second or third holiest place in Judaism after 1995. That was proven incorrect. The second sentence continues Pullan's incorrect description, and says "the ranking also indicates a recently revived and politically motivated place in the Jewish pantheon." So no, you're wrong. Drsmoo (talk) 14:37, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

There is a source mentioned in the article which is more or less about this subject: Susan Sered, "Rachel's Tomb: The Development of a Cult", Jewish Studies Quarterly, vol 2, 1995, pp. 103–148. She explains her use of the word "cult" like this: "A cult (whether of a saint, hero, god, spirit, founder, or leader) occurs at the point of convergence of myth and ritual; both myth and ritual are requisite conditions for a religious phenomenon to be considered a cult. In the case of Rachel, the cult emerged when ritual activity began to incorporate symbols and images associated with her unique Biblical and midrashic myth when her particular myth began to be translated into ritual activity. Today, Rachel's cult is comprised of distinctive themes (fertility, Zionism, and the Holocaust), a place (her Tomb in Bethlehem), an object (red thread), occasions (the day before the Festival of the New Moon and the anniversary of her death), an honorific title ('Our Mother Rachel'), and miracle stories..." As she tells it over 46 pages, even though the tomb was a place of pilgrimage from the 10th century or earlier, the cult emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century. Zerotalk 11:46, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

Very interesting, thanks. Does she state the "late 19th century" date explicitly in this context? Oncenawhile (talk) 13:54, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Just reminding everyone that the source Once is using for this is an Architect, not a historian, and she's the only one making this claim (and she's used twice in the lead and only in the lead? Someone must really like her). Seems quite exceptional. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 15:36, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Just reminding you, Rachel's Tomb is a building, with a history, and Wendy Pullan is an historian of architecture, specializing in the Middle East. Nishidani (talk) 16:47, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Not a very good one if she thinks Rachel's tomb has been considered one of Judaism's top most holy places only since 1995 (an issue that may or may not be related to "history of architecture"). No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 16:59, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Nadav Shragai is not even an historian and and gets several points wrong .you don't seem to worry about that. At RS/N, by the way, the advice was to use him only with attribution, which is ignored here. Shragai is a journalist, specializing on Israeli politics and the I/P conflict. He gets things outrageously wrong
'For centuries, Rachel’s Tomb was considered only a Jewish holy place (all of our specialist sources show that is false. I have several other examples.
Even so, most experts bungle a detail or two, often by trusting a meme in sources that other experts repeat. I once traced the idea of the ranking of the '4 holiest cities' ranking in Judaism and Islam and could get no further than the 17th century.Nishidani (talk) 19:07, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
(a) I believe we're sourcing the 1996 name thing to Rubinstein now, not Shragai. (b) Shragai was not saying something we all know is untrue regarding the name of the site. In fact he was saying something that despite repeated attempts nobody was able to refute. Your comparison is invalid.
If you once traced the idea, perhaps you have sources that support or refute what Pullan said? No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 20:48, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
'Since the mid-1990s,' in that sentence is sourced to Shragai. Shragai's general systematic elision of all the evidence that contradicts his spin produces the falsification of history that remains in his asserting 'For centuries, Rachel’s Tomb was considered only a Jewish holy place.' Compare Bowman and Sered, to name but a few.Nishidani (talk) 20:58, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Then it can be sourced to Rubinstein. Zero has the exact info and can change the ref. Can you focus on the topic of this thread though? Perhaps you have sources that support or refute what Pullan said? No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 21:07, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
I focused on precisely the point you raised. That is the function of threads, to raise issues, and get answers.Nishidani (talk) 21:23, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Of course you did. So no sources from the time you traced the ranking of holy sites back to the 17th century? That's too bad. No More Mr Nice Guy (talk) 23:26, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

Redirect for "Tomb of Rachel" is needed[edit]

Arminden (talk) 23:52, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Done, but I think you could have done it too. Just create an article with that name and "#REDIRECT [[Rachel's Tomb]]" as the only content. Zerotalk 08:49, 6 December 2016 (UTC)