The “Old-New” Land


For Wednesday, we’ll be reading an essay by Arthur Hertzberg on Jerusalem’s place in Zionism. I’d also like you to take a look at this excerpt from Theodor Herzl’s Zionist utopian novel, Altneuland (“Old-New” Land), which offers his fictionalized vision of what a future Jewish state will look like. This excerpt focuses on the main character’s visit to the rebuilt Jerusalem and rebuilt Temple. As you read it, ask yourself if Herzl’s vision of the Third Temple fits with traditional Jewish expectations.

Second Take-Home Essay

We’re almost out of THE GAUNTLET. The last challenge is the second take-home essay, which is due Monday. Here is the question:

In very different time periods and historical circumstances, Muslims and Protestants developed approaches to the Holy Land that both adopted and challenged the approaches of earlier groups. How did Muslims both adopt and challenge the approaches of Jews and Catholic/Orthodox Christians? How did Protestants?

Compose a 3-4-page essay in response to the question. Your essay should be double-spaced and written in Times New Roman or Arial font, size 12. These are due on April 11.

REMEMBER, you are primarily being tested here on your knowledge of Islamic and Protestant approaches to the land and your command of the sources we’ve used in class.

Wednesday’s 2-pager — the last one!!!

Alright, so our final 2-pager is due on Wednesday. The secondary source reading for it is Stephanie Stidham Rogers’s “The Out-of-Doors Gospel in Palestine.” It is paired with the conclusion from Philip Schaff’s Through Bible Lands (1878). Schaff, a minister in the German Reformed Church, was born in Switzerland and educated in Berlin before immigrating to the US in 1844. His book is a Protestant Holy Land travel classic. After reading these two texts, I want you to answer the following question:

Why do “natural” sites appeal to Protestants?

As you’ll see in the readings, Protestants will often favor natural sites (landscapes, gardens, etc.) over visiting the various shrines and churches that are everywhere in Palestine. In a sense, this question has two parts. One, why don’t many Protestants like the established sites? Two, why are they particularly attracted to natural sites in Palestine (or sites that are “more” natural than others)?

Friday’s 2-pager…


Biblical Researches

Your next opportunity for writing your Protestantism 2-pager is this Friday (the last is next Wednesday). Your reading for Friday is an excerpt from Edward Robinson’s 1841 work, Biblical Researches. Robinson was a scholar of biblical languages who undertook a trip to Palestine in 1838 in order to identify sites associated with the Bible (if you need more background, here’s a short 3-page bio). In the assigned excerpt, Robinson lays out his method for investigating sites. Your question is related to his method:

How is Robinson’s method for identifying sites both “scientific” and “Protestant?”

In other words, to what extent does Robinson’s method reflect a critical approach to the identification of biblical sites, and to what extent does it reflect Protestant assumptions? To what extent are these two things intertwined?

If you need help figuring out how to define what is or isn’t “Protestant,” I’d consult the Soulen reading from last Friday.

Background for Monday’s Reading

Your reading for Monday is Richard Cogley’s “The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Restoration of Israel.” It looks at how some–but not all!–Protestant interpreters of the Bible developed an eschatology that anticipated the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of a Jewish kingdom in Palestine.

As you’ll realize, these Protestants were revisiting the discussions that early Christians had held over whether the millennial kingdom would be real or heavenly. Even more radically, some would question the fundamental Christian doctrine that the covenantal relationship between God and Israel had transferred to the Church. When reading, try to keep these contrasts in mind.

Also, just as a bit of background. Most of the figures that Cogley discusses are Puritans. Puritans were English Protestants who thought that the Church of England had not gone far enough in adopting Protestant teachings and practices. At times, they were persecuted for their dissent (often, they referred to as Dissenters). In the early 17th century, large numbers of Puritans would flee England for the Netherlands and…North America! They brought their interpretations of the Bible with them.

First Drafts

Your first drafts of your final paper will be due one week from Monday (4/4). What I want, basically, is for you to convert your five source write-ups into historical narrative form. If you did a good job on your write-ups (and most of you did), this means you won’t have too much work to do.

For basic guidelines, look here.

For an example draft, look here.

The draft will be worth 10% of your grade.

Guide for Friday’s Reading

For Friday, you’ll be reading R. Kendall Soulen’s article, “Protestantism and the Bible.” It’s a basic introduction to how Protestants approach the Bible–and how those approaches have changed over the centuries. It’s a very important article in terms of setting up what we’ll be discussing over the next two weeks, which is why I’m giving you a reading quiz…and warning you about it!

Here are some questions/concepts I want you to focus on while reading:

  • What is the “content and purpose of the Bible” for Protestants?
  • What is meant by the principle of sola scriptura?
  • What are some of the challenges this principle has created?
  • For Protestants, what is required to interpret scripture?
  • Get a basic idea of scholasticism, pietism, and millenarianism.
  • Why is Protestants who lead in the development of historical-critical methods of interpreting the Bible? What problems do these methods raise?
  • Get a basic idea of Soulen’s distinctions between “conservative,” “liberal,” and “postcritical” interpretations of the Bible.

Background for the Celebi Reading

We didn’t quite get to the Islamic reconquest of Palestine in 1187 CE in Monday’s class–but we’ll get there Wednesday. In the meantime, I thought I ought to give you a little bit of background on the reading for tomorrow, since it is a primary source that comes from centuries after where we left off Monday.

The reading is an account of Jerusalem from the Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi, who visited in the mid-17th century. Needless to say, a lot transpired in the five centuries between the Crusader era in the 12th century and Celebi’s arrival. In 1187 CE, Muslim forces under Salah ad-Din (Saladin, who was an associate of Nur ad-Din, who we discussed on Monday) retook Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din soon established a new dynasty, the Ayubbids, who would rule from Cairo until the 1250s, when they were pushed out of power by an elite slave military caste–the Mamluks. The Mamluks ruled the region until the early 16th century, when they were defeated by the rapidly-expanding Ottoman Empire, which had emerged out of central Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). The Ottomans would go on to rule Palestine until 1917.

Celebi, our traveler, came to Jerusalem over a century after the Ottoman conquest of the region. At times, you’ll see specific references to certain Ottoman rulers (sultans). The two most important are Selim, who conquered Jerusalem in 1517, and Suleiman (“the Magnificent”), who poured money into the city, building new walls and restoring the Dome of the Rock.

When reading, pay attention to how Celebi describes the holiness of the city. Does he emphasize its biblical heritage? Does he emphasize the traditions concerning Muhammad? Does he strike a balance? Pay attention, too, to his detailed description of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is always interesting to see how sources coming from members of a particular faith describe the traditions of other faiths. Does Celebi seem to be a reliable witness to Christian practices?

Those Source Write-Ups

Just a reminder, if you need guidance on the source write-ups that are due Monday, the page for the assignment is here. An example write-up is here.

I mentioned in class that encyclopedias can be good resources for gathering background information for the sources. Several of them are accessible online through the OU Libraries website. You have to log in using your 4×4 and search for them through “Discover local.” Here are a few that might be helpful:

Encyclopaedia Judaica
Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World
Encyclopedia of Islam
New Catholic Encyclopedia

And, of course, you can e-mail me with any questions!