Clay Harris, formerly (perhaps, still) with the Financial Times, calls attention to “The Truth About Christmas” which is posted on our Biblical Studies Info Page here, and at Bible World. Harris argues for an appropriate secular observance of Christmas in his post in The London Echo here.
Two years ago I wrote about the origin of the legend about Santa Claus in a post on “Christmas, St. Nicholas, and Myra” here.
Take a look at all of this material.
Occasionally I get a request from someone planning their first trip to Israel asking for suggestions on books to help them prepare for the trip.
There are some excellent books we suggest for your study before and during the tour. Below is a list of books which we recommend for your use. Begin with The Holy Land by Murphy- O’Connor. It will take you a while to read and mark the book. You will enjoy the book much more once you return home and begin to use it as a resource. Of course, this is true of many of the books listed here.
- Baly, Denis. Basic Biblical Geography (Fortress) paperback. Brief introduction. Any books by Baly can be helpful.
- Beitzel, Barry J. The Moody Atlas of Bible Lands (Moody). A complete atlas of Bible lands.
Dyer, Charles H. and Gregory A. Hatteberg. The Christian Traveler’s Guide to the Holy Land. Broadman and Holman, 1998.
- Eyewitness Travel Guides. Jerusalem & the Holy Land. DK Publishing. This book has beautiful plans of the buildings.
- Frank, Harry Thomas (ed.). Atlas of the Bible Lands (Broadman). Concise atlas; good maps.
- Hoppe, Leslie J. A Guide to the Lands of the Bible. Liturgical Press., 1999. Cover Israel, Jordan, and other areas.
- Miller, Max. Introducing the Holy Land. This book is out of print, but you might be able to locate a used copy.
- Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. The Holy Land (Oxford), paperback. Excellent.
- Page, Charles R. and Carl A. Volz, The Land and the Book (Abingdon).
- Ullian, Robert, ed. Israel: Past and Present. A beautiful guide to the 16 top archaeological sites in Israel. Overlays illustrate how the sites might have looked in ancient times.
- Vos, Howard F. The Wycliffe Historical Geography of Bible Lands (Hendrickson). This is the completely revised 2003 edition. The book was originally published in 1967, edited by Pfeiffer and Vos. Excellent.
The books we have listed above are not typical travel books, but accurate, scholarly books. Some are in a popular style. Travel books can be helpful, however. Many sites you visit will offer small booklets about those places.
If you can only buy three books, I suggest Murphy-O’Connor, Eyewitness Travel Guides and Hoppe.
Some of the popular travel guides that provide good info include: Let’s Go Israel, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, and Rough Guides. The last two guides are intended primarily for individual travelers, but I find them helpful.
You may order any of these books from Amazon by going to our Biblical Studies Info Book Store here.
Internet Sites. What web pages would be helpful for the first time (or repeat) traveler? Obviously I suggest Ferrell’s Travel Blog and the BiblePlaces Blog by Todd Bolen. You will need to use the search box to search for posts dealing with places you plan to visit.
Go to the Biblical Studies Info Page here. Click on Bible Places. There you will find many links to specific places in Israel and other countries. I suggest you also go to the Scholarly Page and check the Archaeology section and the Blogs. Todd Bolen’s BiblePlaces is an excellent source. You will likely find good information and photos from the places you plan to visit.
The books may be ordered at a discount from Amazon at the Biblical Studies Info Bookstore. Perhaps some of our readers with experience in traveling to the Bible lands will add some additional suggestions in comments.
Ibex at En Gedi near the Dead Sea. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.