Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.1, (Spring 2002)THE CASE OF JERUSALEM FROM A CIVILIZATIONAL PERSPECTIVE1Alpaslan Açikgenç* This paper is an attempt to evaluate an international political problem from a philosophical perspective in order to see its actual place within a civilizational phenomenon. How Muslims view Jerusalem and how it is to be viewed from historical perspective are the main issues to be evaluated. The historical approach shall attempt to provide a framework for treating the problem. This framework includes the concept of civilization and the phenomenon of the rise and fall of civilizations. Certain historical facts may lead us to clues for unraveling our perception of the Jerusalem issue today. We shall then begin our treatment of the problem from evaluating the concept of civilization. The idea of civilization was first introduced by the French thinkers in the eighteenth century in order to distinguish between barbarism and a civilized society.2Three main criteria was introduced then to distinguish between a culture (a primitive society) and a civilization (a civilized society); 1. settled vs. nomad, 2. urban vs. rural, 3. literate vs. illiterate. If this is the case, then a civilization cannot be defined conclusively because the French approach seems to concentrate on how to distinguish the civilized from the uncivilized, whereas a culture may perfectly be civilized without being a civilization. Therefore, we need a definition of civilization which is broader in its scope. If we examine past civilizations we will see that it is externally hard to distinguish them from cultures except that they are much broader and include more than one culture; hence, a civilization is in fact “a universalized culture.” This means that a civilization is in the true sense a culture which is no longer limited to its local and national confines. As such it begins to include within its boundaries many sub-cultures,
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