Arts and Humanities


The history of the land of Israel is not much different from that of any other modern nation, besides the fact that it is the location for the majority of the events that are recorded in the most popular book in the world. In the United States alone, 88% of households own at least one Bible. In fact, most homes own closer to four copies of the book. The most well known and referred to book in the world is a compilation of stories that start at the creation of the world and continue through prophecies of the end of the world. The book is central to the Christian faith as well as to Judaism. This land has been in conflict and fought over throughout its entire history and it continues to be to this day. As an individual who grew up learning and reading the stories of the Bible, it never occurred to me that there was an actual place in the world that these stories were rooted to. Over and over I have read about the people of Israel and heard about Jerusalem and Galilee but the idea that these were places that I could actually point to on a map or even visit was completely foreign. Based on most of the conversations I have had with people this seems to be the case for many individuals who read the Bible, whether they are Christians or not. This is why I went to Israel. The lack of knowledge that I had about this land has motivated me to share all that I have learned after spending time there studying. To me, it seems that trying to study the Bible without learning about its setting, culture, or people is extremely detrimental to the understanding of the messages it teaches. The timeline of the Bible can be broken into three parts. First the Patriarchal period begins with the story of Abraham and ends with King David’s life and spans from 2200 BCE to 1010 BCE. The First Temple Period takes place from 970 BCE to 586 BCE and envelops the construction of the first temple under Solomon, the divided kingdom, and the Babylonian exile with the destruction of the First Temple. The final section of the timeline is the Second Temple Period that begins with the Persian empire in 550 BCE and ends with the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. The land, culture, and people of Israel are crucial to understanding many major religions especially Christianity and Judaism. Exploring the Bible in the light of this knowledge adds much deeper content to the words spoken over time by the people of Israel and a fresh way to apply them to our lives. Additionally, I believe that acquiring more knowledge about the land that is home to the three conflicting religions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity can create great advancements towards these people being able to respect and live alongside of each other.