Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia

Geography, Christian.

1. Christian geog. deals with geog., life, and hist. of Bible lands, esp. Palestine; furnishes the setting for Bible hist.; esp. its archaeol. aspect brings to life the domestic, soc., pol., and religious life of past ages.

2. Chronology of Christian geog. may be divided into 4 periods. The 1st begins with Constantine* I granting Christianity legal standing and imperial support and continues through the 18th c. To satisfy the stream of pilgrims visiting holy sites and places in Palestine, legends and traditions were developed.

3. In the 4th c. Eusebius* of Caesarea prepared a Gk. onomasticon* of Bible place names; Jerome* tr. it into Lat.

4. The 2d period, ca. 1800–ca. 1890, continued topographical interest. Journeys of E. Robinson* in 1838 and 1852 and his writings began the scientific approach. In the 2d half of the 19th c. the Palestine* Exploration Fund (inc. London, Eng., 1865) sponsored surveys and explorations of Palestine. Claude Reignier Condor (1848–1910) and Horatio Herbert Kitchener (1850–1916) were important participants. Achievements of Robinson and the Fund formed the basis of all later topographical work.

5. Various excavations were carried on in this period. Charles Warren (1840–1927; Brit. archaeol.), Selah Merrill (1837–1909; Am. Cong. clergyman; archaeol.), Charles Clermont-Ganneau (1846–1923; Fr. orientalist), and Hermann Guthe (1849–1936; Ger. geographer; archaeol.) were among those active in topographical and excavational exploration.

6. The 3d period covered ca. 1890–1914. It saw the beginning of the development of 2 basic principles of modern scientific archaeol.: stratigraphy and typology. The former is the study of the physical relationships of man-made objects in light of the strata in which they are found; the latter is classification of these objects based on comparative study of types. In the excavation of Tell el-Hesi (perhaps Eglon), F. Petrie* developed and applied these principles by setting up a chronological scheme for dating objects and strata. Among excavations of this period were those at Gezer (Robert Alexander Stewart Macalister [1870–1950; Irish archaeol.]) and Samaria (George Andrew Reisner [1867–1942; Am. Egyptologist] and Clarence Stanley Fisher [1876–1941; Am. hist. architect]). Frederick Jones Bliss (1859–1937; Am. archaeol.), Duncan Mackenzie (1859–1935; Scot. archaeol.), Charles Leonard Woolley (1880–1960; Eng. archaeol.), Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888–1935; Brit. archaeol.), E. F. M. Sellin,* Nathaniel Schmidt (1862–1939; Am. orientalist), Carl Watzinger (1877–1948; Ger. archaeol.), Warren Joseph Moulton (1865–1947; Am. archaeol.), and others explored and excavated in this period.

7. The 4th period began 1920. It has seen development of stratigraphy and typology. Aside from educ. institutions, the Am. and Brit. Schools of Oriental Research have contributed much to archaeol. development.

8. Important excavations were made at Megiddo, Beth-shan, Tell Beit Mirsim, Jericho, Lachish, Jerash (Gerasa), and Mounts Ophel and Zion. An increasing number of minor excavations were made. N. Glueck* made an extensive survey of Biblical sites in E Palestine. Other archaeologists of this period include Félix Marie Abel (1878–1953; Fr. Biblical scholar and Palestinian geog.), W. F. Albright,* J. Garstang,* Elihu Grant (1873–1942; Am. archaeol.), M. G. Kyle,* Louis Hugues Vincent (1872–1960; Fr. Biblical scholar and Palestinian archaeol.), and George Ernest Wright (b. 1919; Am. educator and archaeol.; Presb. clergyman). EHK

See also Archaeology, Biblical; Dead Sea Scrolls.

The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible, rev. ed. G. E. Wright and F. V. Filson (Philadelphia, 1956), pp. 9–14, 111–117; G. A. Barton, Archaeology and the Bible, 5th ed. (Philadelphia, 1927), pp. 89–117; W. F. Albright, “The Present State of Syro-Palestinian Archaeology,” The Haverford Symposium on Archaeology and the Bible, ed. E. Grant (New Haven, Connecticut, 1938), pp. 1–46; C. C. McCown, The Ladder of Progress in Palestine (New York, 1943); D. Baly, The Geography of the Bible (New York, 1957) and Geographical Companion to the Bible (New York, 1963).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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