In a chapel in the old crenellated church of Mary of Zion in Aksum, Ethiopia, is kept an object that emperors, patriarchs and priests have assured the world is the most important religious relic of all time: the Tabota Seyon, Ark of the Covenant, the Ark of Zion. This Ark is alleged to be no less than the Ark that Moses had constructed at Sinai and which destroyed the walls of Jericho. It was brought into Jerusalem by King David and installed in a magnificent temple by King Solomon. Then, the story goes, it came to Ethiopia of its own choice with the half-Ethiopian, half-Jewish son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Are the legends true? From ancient texts to local stories, from the Bible to the writings of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Jesuits, Munro-Hay traces the extraordinary legend of Ethiopia's Ark in what is a triumph of historical detective work. He scrutinises every mention of the Ark in Ethiopian records and tests every theory before reaching his shocking conclusion.
The late Stuart Munro-Hay was among the foremost Western authorities on Ethiopian history and culture. He is the author of Ethiopia, the Unknown Land, also by I.B.Tauris.
""Munro-Hay is to be congratulated in producing a well-disciplined piece of deeply researched scholarship - a fitting memorial for an author who died while his book was in press.""--Minerva
""Nobody is better qualified to consider these points [Challenges to the myth] than Munro-Hay. The subject is fascinating. and the setting as exotic as could be asked for. This book is to be commended to anyone interested in Ethiopia, biblical history or the process of scholarly investigation.""--Spectator
""This is an intricate story told with exhaustive attention to detail. for those with an interest in Ehiopia, or with the wilder legends surrounding the Ark itself, this is an interesting book.""--Rabbi Charles Middleburgh
""Acting as something of a modern-day Indiana Jones...Munro-Hay offers a charming glimpse into the Ethiopian side of this story.""--Publishers Weekly
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