Greeks learn in order to comprehend.
Hebrews learn in order to revere.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Monday, November 3, 2008

So What Have I Been Doing?

Over the last couple of months, Shallon has been doing a wonderful job of keeping you all updated on what’s going on. We kind of joke around saying that she is responsible for the written updates and I am responsible for all of the pictures (and their captions). For those of you who have been following the blog, you are aware that I have made a couple of “written update” contributions, but it has been some time since my last contribution. So I wanted to give you all an update on what’s been going on … and I am going to focus in on my Physical Settings of the Bible class. My other classes have been going exceptionally well, but it has been my Physical Settings class that has ushered me all around the country throughout this semester, and the class you may find the most interesting.

So what’s the class like? Well, we generally have two classroom periods in the course of the week. In these classes, we look at a particular area of the country and discuss all the various aspects of the area – such as history, archaeological evidence, climate (seasonal patterns), geological composition (rock type, associated soils, etc.), physical layout (mountains, valleys, wadis, water sources, natural passes, etc.), ancient routes, ancient and modern cities, and pertinent biblical stories. After we have become oriented to the particular region, we spend a couple of field study days in that particular region. We do these fields studies on the weekends. Thus far, we have had thirteen days of field studies and we have four days left for this class (in the country of Jordan). [I also have a total of thirteen additional field study days with my other classes, including an eight-day field study to Egypt at the end of the semester.] We average about four to five sites per field study day. So I have been to roughly 60 sites thus far with this class. As you can imagine, we (my class and I) have been all over the country! Nearly every major site or location you can think of, we have been there. Needless to say, I am gaining a good working knowledge of the biblical landscape here in Israel. It has been an incredible journey thus far. The Bible becomes more and more alive every day … and it is making so much more sense. I am daily reminded of the necessity of understanding the geography of the Bible in order to better understand the stories of the Bible … not to mention the brilliance of the writers and God’s intentionality with placing Israel in this land.

Anyhow, I just put together a picture slideshow entitled, “Brad’s Field Studies (Pics)” that captures a lot of the places I have been to this semester. I will be frequently adding more pics to the slideshow, so keep checking back. Enjoy!

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