The Bible Lands: Level II
The Bible Lands course visits biblical sites from the Old and New Testaments with an emphasis on going “off the beaten pathway” of standard Christian itineraries. While traversing the principal regions of the Holy Land in both Israel and the West Bank, the course will visit less frequented biblical places, archeological parks, and Christian commemorations. In doing so, the course will engage stories, events, and themes in the life of Ancient Israel and the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth that differ from those of other pilgrimage courses. The Bible Lands (Level II) course engages the land (the Fifth Gospel) and its peoples, past and present (the Living Stones), reflecting theologically on the importance of the land, interfaith relations, and the incarnational nature of the Christian faith. Integrating education and spirituality, the course consists of lecture briefings and on-site teaching as well as time for reflection, prayer, and worship. The course includes a three-day / two-night trip to the Galilee. The course is ideal for those who have previously visited the Holy Land. Note: The course will not include a number of principal Christian sites.
Aims of the Course
- To acquire first-hand knowledge of the biblical topography of the Land of the Holy One (often through the visitation of ‘minor’ places and less-traveled pathways).
- To explore the historical contexts and archeological sources of the Old and New Testaments;
- To experience the narratives of the Bible ‘in place’ (including minor traditions);
- To deepen one’s understanding of the Bible Lands, past and present, including its historical and theological importance;
- To meet “again for the first time” Jesus of Nazareth and the essence of his earthly ministry;
- To explore the Holy Land as Christian pilgrims by integrating biblical, historical, and contemporary studies with spiritual reflection;
- To encounter the storied landscapes of the Land of the Holy One as they pertain to Jews, Christians, and Muslims;
- To engage the local Christian community, to explore contemporary issues in Israel and Palestine, to engage Jewish and Muslim perspectives, and to reflect theologically on these issues;
- To return home renewed in faith, in ways that enhance life, faith, and communities back home;
- To share with others the experience of the Holy Land, its peoples, problems, hopes, and prayers.
Content of the Course
While each iteration of the course varies depending upon local and seasonal circumstances, the course draws upon the following places and pathways:
- Aspects of Biblical Jerusalem from the First and Second Temple periods (i.e., from the time of David and Solomon through to Jesus’ day).
- Biblical Judea, including Bethlehem, Hebron, and/or Herodium.
- Biblical Samaria, including Shiloh, Mt Gerizim, and Sebastia (Nablus).
- The Jordan River Valley, including the Judean Wilderness, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea as well as a site related to Palestinian monasticism.
- Sites in the Lower Galilee and the Jezreel Valley.
- The Sea of Galilee, including minor and developing sites, such as Migdal, Hippos/Sussita, and Kursi.
- The Upper Jordan River Valley (Hula Valley) which includes the source of the Jordan River, Caesarea Philippi, and the ancient city of Dan, the northern most city of Ancient Israel.
- Sites along the Mediterranean coast.
- Points south through the Shephelah (low lands) to Beersheba.
- Local Christian traditions in the West Bank.
- Additional archeological parks as well as related museums, including the Israel Museum.
For questions about the course program, please contact course director, Rodney Aist, email@example.com