The Archaeology of Saudi Arabia begins to open up

BAYLOR

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#2
So he’s stopped the Saudi 4elgious authorities wholesale demolition of Saudi historical sites?
 

Brian G Turner

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#5
At least there appears to be an abundance of untouched pre-Islamic sites - certainly according to the article in the Independent. I would have been much more concerned about these being damaged, but it sounds more like Islamic heritage that is not valued - perhaps even feared.
 

Brian G Turner

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#7
I can understand the Saudi authorities not valuing some Islamic sites for their historical value, especially if they're fearful of them becoming shrines.

We've a long history of that in the West, from earlier Christians chopping bits from Roman statues, to recent decisions to destroy historical landmarks associated with people we'd rather forget - whether it's Germany demolishing Hitler's house, or Poland tearing down Soviet war memorials.

None of which I think are good decisions based solely on historical interest, but some would argue that context decides otherwise. I can only try to be pragmatic about such situations.

Anyway, back on topic - and I'm definitely excited to know more about the pre-Islamic historical sites. Especially as refusal to acknowledge them in the past may have actually protected some, and in number.
 

Vertigo

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#8
My understanding is that the clerics fear idolatry. They are concerned that people are worshipping sites like Mohammed's grave and his mother's grave when they should only be worshipping Allah. It's a bit like the concern that many Catholics are worshipping Mary instead of God. So if they believe people are worshipping a site instead of Allah they're inclined to move to tear that site down.

Big danger of drifting into religious discussion here, but I believe that is the motivation and also why ancient pre-Islamic sites are not of such a concern so long as people are no longer participating in any religions they may represent. For example access to the ruins of a recently discovered ancient(ish) Christian church has been blocked, though I believe it hasn't been destroyed.
 

Alan Aspie

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#9
My understanding is that the clerics fear idolatry...
Jewish and christian culture was big in Arabian peninsula before islam. Idolatry is an excuse. Real reason is findings and proofs of large scale jewish and christian civilisatiion.
 

Alan Aspie

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#11
You say that but the majority of their destruction is of historic Islamic sites.
There is much evidence about destruction of islamic cultural findings. They take care of not leaking any evidence of destoying jewish and early christian cultural findings. And when something becomes visible, they first tell its islamic and then destroy it. So there are not and will not be proofs of jewish and christian history in Arabian Peninsula as long as this goes on.
 

Joshua Jones

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#12
My understanding is that the clerics fear idolatry. They are concerned that people are worshipping sites like Mohammed's grave and his mother's grave when they should only be worshipping Allah. It's a bit like the concern that many Catholics are worshipping Mary instead of God. So if they believe people are worshipping a site instead of Allah they're inclined to move to tear that site down.

Big danger of drifting into religious discussion here, but I believe that is the motivation and also why ancient pre-Islamic sites are not of such a concern so long as people are no longer participating in any religions they may represent. For example access to the ruins of a recently discovered ancient(ish) Christian church has been blocked, though I believe it hasn't been destroyed.
That is my understanding of the religious motivation as well. Typically speaking, they value the pre-Islamic sites because they see them as connected to the history of their people as described in the Injil, Tarwar, and Zabat (their versions of the Jewish and Christian Bible). This is to be remembered in their mind, and the prophets honored. Anything after Mohammed is not of the same value, and has the possibility of being honored to the same level as the prophets. Hence, Islamic Era sites are more likely to be destroyed in some interpretations of Islam than other sites.

This is one of the many things, btw, which set ISIS apart from other interpretations of the Quaran. Instead of honoring historical sites from before the time of Mohammed or studying the classics, they believed that any such sites could detract from veneration of Mohammed, and more or less rejected the Injil, Tarwar, and Zabat.

Now, on the political side, it wouldn't surprise me if they suppressed knowledge of especially Jewish sites (they may fear Israel may try to claim them as their territory, and that would be very bad for all parties involved), or if they genuinely consider them Islamic sites (Islam believes it originates from Abraham as well).

As an aside, I see this as more of a sociological and historical discussion which happens to include descriptions of what is believed by a group, rather than a discussion of religion itself. As long as we can stick to that, hopefully, this discussion can continue...
 

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