Todd Bolen, BiblePlaces.com, has released an extremely valuable CD that will be helpful to all students of the Bible lands. Views That Have Vanished is a collection of more than 700 high resolution photographs made by David Bivin beginning in 1963.
These photographs were made with one of the best cameras available at the time with the intent to be able to share them with family and friends who were unable to visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Greece. Bivin has now lived in Israel more than 30 years. Many of the places he visited in the 1960s have changed since then because of natural erosion. Some of the changes occurred because of archaeological activity, and the normal deterioration that takes place once a site is uncovered. Primarily the sites have changed because of the building activities of man.
My first visit to the Middle East was in 1967. Since then I have returned nearly 40 times and I have observed the tremendous changes made. Some sites, in preparation for visitors, are necessarily changed. Other sites are neglected and become dangerous for all but the most intrepid explorers to visit. Bivin had the wonderful opportunity live in Israel and record his experience in full color. I observe that many of the landscape photographs he made have a beautiful clear sky. Perhaps the sky was clearer 40 years ago. But, this is the advantage of living in the country and being able to go out when the weather is just right.
Everyone who has old photographs and slides knows that they begin to deteriorate after a few years. This happened to some of Bivin’s photographs. Todd Bolen has scanned these old negatives with high quality equipment. In many instances the color has been restored.
The photographs are available in high-resolution (1600 x 1200 or higher) in jpg format and also in PowerPoint with explanatory notes. I was especially impressed with the large number of photographs of some of the well known archaeologists of the past (Glueck, Yadin, et al.) and some historic views such as people in Jerusalem mourning the death of Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt.
Views That Have Vanished is a great addition to the already long list of photographic materials published by BiblePlaces. The CD belongs in the library of every church and every person who teaches Bible classes with an emphasis on the land in which these historical events took place. Frequently I say to my groups, “I wish you could have seen this before….” Now, you can see it through these photographs.