Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the most recognized and popular religions around the globe. The three religions are in some ways very similar while at the same time very diverse. Collectively all three religions are monotheistic which means the belief in one God, creator of the Universe who hears the prayers of his faithfuls. The Jews believe that God made a pact with their ancestors, the Hebrews, saying that they are the chosen ones. They await the return if the Messiah. The Christians believe that God in the form of Jesus came to earth and established the Christian church amongst his apostles.
The Muslims accept both the Jewish Messiah and the Christian Jesus, but in turn believe that their profit Muhammad was the last and greatest sent by God. The religions are all of book, and have written records of God’s words. The Jews have the Hebrew Bible, the Christians have the New and Old Testament of the Christian bible which includes the Hebrew Bible, and the Muslims have the Qur’an. One of the first major Jewish Architectural creations known is the First Temple in Jerusalem.
This temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant by King Soloman back in the 10th century, it later became a place for the Jewish to worship. However it was destroyed by the Babylonians, the people where exiled and the Ark stolen. There was another grand temple built after the land was returned to the Jews by Cyrus the Great of Persia, but again destroyed by the Romans. The temple was said to be made of imported wood and was supported by two large bronze pillars. A big part of Judaism is the educations of the religion, they gather in buildings called Synagogues for this very purpose.
These buildings were used by Jewish men women and children to study the Torah, and was also used for social gatherings. Before buildings were specifically built for this purpose, they would meet in private homes or anywhere Torah scrolls were kept and read. Then the construction of house like buildings began. One of the first has an assembly hall, a courtyard, and a separate room for women, soon after residential rooms were added. The two architectural features that distinguished the assembly hall from the other rooms were long benches lining the walls, and a place for the scrolls.
Jews also built meeting places like that of the Roman basilica. This included an aisle on both sides and separated from this an apse adorned with Torah scrolls and facing east. Once Christianity was recognized by the government it’s number grew rapidly, more specifically amongst the wealthy. Early Christian art is described as style and imagery of the Jewish and Roman visual traditions, this is called syncreatism. Artist take images from past traditions and give them their own purpose. The most famous is what is known as the Good Shepard.
Before it was a depiction of Orpheus amongst his animals, or sometimes considered a personification of philanthropy. However in the time of early Christianity, this same image became a depiction of the Good Shepard of the book of Psalms. Most early Christian art is very rare and depicted either God, his son Jesus, or the Holy Ghost. Some of the few remains of art work are in catacombs which is where the dead were buried. The most famous of these are found where two Christians who were martyred for their faith are buried.
The art work of their cubicula, or small room created for the deceased, is a painting of the Good Shepard. Under to painting are the words: “I am a good Shepard. A good Shepard lays down his life for the sheep. ”, and around the painting are smaller paintings depicting the story of Jonah and the sea monster. Early Muslim architects were influenced by the Romans and the Byzantines. They began to build large numbers of mosques, palaces, and shrines. Of these buildings one of the most famous and recognized is the Dome of the Rock, or Haram Al-Sharif.
The building site is said to be the place where Muhammad rose to the Heavens to be with God. This site also has important value to both Jews and Christians. For the Jews this is the site where both First and Second Jewish temples were built and destroyed. For the Christians this site marks the creation of Adam and where the patriarch Abraham was sent to kill his son by God. Because both Jewish and Christian faiths have history here, the building of the Dome of the Rock is the first architectural statement by Islam that it completes the other religions.