Culture & Literature
The Story Of The Holyland

The Story Of The Holyland

The Story Of The Holyland

This new collector's edition from BBC History Magazine explores the history of the Holy Land from ancient times until the modern era. Discover how three global faiths have battled for control of Jerusalem over several centuries and find out about the brief, but hugely significant, period of British rule in Palestine. Inside you will find: An informative timeline of the Holy Land's history The latest archaeological discoveries relating to the biblical era Stunning photographs of historical treasures Fresh insights into the modern histories of Israel and Palestine

United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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in this issue

1 min.

Central to three major faiths, the land that is now Israel and the Palestinian territories has a global significance that far exceeds its small size. It is, of course, bitterly contested today, with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute seemingly one of the world’s most intractable problems. That dispute owes a great deal to history and a series of conquests that includes the Babylonians, Romans, crusaders, Ottomans and the British, whose three decades of occupation in the 20th century have left a complex legacy. In this collector’s edition from BBC History Magazine, we have brought together a number of historical experts to chart the long history of the Holy Land. Over the pages that follow you will discover the stories of some of the most dramatic and telling events of the past 3,000 years…

12 min.
the holy land

c2000 BC According to the Book of Genesis, God calls Abraham to leave Mesopotamia and journey to new lands to found a new nation. Having received promises from God that his sons would inherit the land, Abraham travels to Canaan, where he produced Ishmael and Isaac, the first of his eight son 8000 BC c8000 BC An agricultural community exists at Jericho in a region known as Canaan, near the Jordan river in what is now the West Bank. Archaeological excavations subsequently show that there was a large stone wall around the settlement. c970–931 BC Solomon reigns over the kingdom of Israel for 40 years, according to the Book of Kings. His extensive building programme includes a city wall around Jerusalem and the temple, which becomes the central shrine for the Israelites. 721–701 BC According to the Bible…

9 min.
canaan and the canaanites

Even those with the most casual acquaintance of the Bible are likely to have encountered the Canaanites, depicted as the inhabitants of the Land of Canaan against whom the Israelites fought for ultimate possession. The picture of the Canaanites and their land that emerges from the biblical literature is, however, very vague at best. This is hardly surprising as Canaan as a meaningful geographical entity had long since disappeared by the time these stories were composed and compiled, probably some time in the sixth century BC. The identity of the Canaanites, too, was only preserved as an archaic term by their direct descendents, the Phoenicians. The ancient textual sources are equally unhelpful in providing any further definition. Of the very few ancient texts referring to ‘Canaanites’ and the ‘Land of Canaan’,…

13 min.
digging for the bible

1 The Merneptah Stele The stone inscription that offers the earliest reference to Israel The Merneptah Stele is an incised stone inscription that was erected under the order of Merneptah, king of the 19th Egyptian Dynasty, who reigned between approximately 1213 and 1203 BC. In this stele, there is the earliest clear mention of the entity ‘Israel’, in the context of a description of the king’s campaign to ancient Canaan. In the description of the enemies who were defeated in this campaign, the statement “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not” appears. As such, this is of central importance for the study of history of early Israel, as this mention can serve as the well-accepted “Archimedean point” for the earliest recognition of a cultural/ethnic entity called Israel. This late 13th-century BC mention…

10 min.
the land of jesus

Sometime in the year AD 26, a galley bearing Pontius Pilate, the fourth or fifth praefectus (or prefect) of Judea, made its way slowly past the two great breakwaters that protected the inner harbour of the city of Caesarea. If he had an eye for engineering, Pilate will have noticed that the most recent Roman technology had been used to provide a concrete base for the booms extending hundreds of feet into the sea. As his ship passed the port’s lighthouse, Pilate will have looked up to see a shimmering temple to Rome and Augustus overlooking his arrival. Disembarking, he will have made his way the short distance to his official residence, a magnificently appointed house on a promontory projecting out into the eastern Mediterranean, laid out around a large…

2 min.
mapping it out

1 Caesarea The administrative capital of Judea and an overwhelmingly gentile city with the civic amenities — circus, theatre and marketplace – that made it congenial to the Romans as the seat of government. 2 Jerusalem The site of Herod’s temple, an imposing building set in the centre of a vast paved precinct lined with porticoes. Through the thousands of priests serving there, Jews offered sacrifices to their god in the temple in fulfillment of the law. At the annual pilgrimage festivals of Judaism, the ‘Temple Mount’ was visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors. 3 Talpiot Three miles south of Jerusalem’s old city, this was the site of the apparently sensational discovery in 1980 of 10 ossuaries (containers of human remains) from a family tomb, within one of which were identified the remains of…