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The area that is today called Israel has a history that is older than the Bible or the Koran by millennia. In Wikipedia, there is a chart showing the foreign occupations of Jerusalem reaching back almost 4000 years. There are twenty-five of them. It is the epicenter of ancient and modern agendas for differentiation through conflict. After a 1999 visit to Israel, I made a project of assembling a chronology of the Holy Land as seen in the movies. There were many religions that moved across this landscape, but it will likely come as no surprise that the Hollywood view has been overwhelmingly Judeo-Christian.

Returning to this subject in the second decade of the 21st-century, my efforts were aided by an exponential increase of information available on the Internet. Two exceptionally useful sites that I found almost immediately were, “Bible Films Blog – Matt Page” and “BIBLE MOVIES in order as in the Bible” (YouTube). Both of them provide clickable lists of virtually every movie based on stories from the Bible, many of them linked to full viewing. I also found a creationist site with dates for the beginning of the world (3,950 BC), Noah’s Flood (2,294 BC), the birth of Abraham (2001 BC), and others through the Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD.

There are YouTube videos taken from Bruce Feiler’s Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses (2005), in three one-hour segments. The author/narrator takes a scattered and highly personal approach to his narrative, but the visuals are stunning, with views of Mesopotamia, Ararat and Haran in Turkey, scenes along the Nile in Egypt, the Sinai Desert, and Jerusalem. He stops as Moses arrives on the edges of the Promised Land and dies. Often traveling in Islamic areas, Feiler takes care to incorporate Koranic descriptions of the people and places of the Books of Moses. He walks a fine line between biblical archaeology on the one hand, and unquestioning faith that the stories in the Bible happened exactly as written.

In 2014, a movie called Patterns of Evidence: Exodus appeared. It makes a strong case for the historical accuracy of the Bible and advocates a significant alteration of the relevant archaeological chronology. Needless to say, there is ongoing debate.

The discovery of these websites impressed on me the lack of need for my services in relating the narratives of the Bible or providing detailed reports on the movies they have inspired. I narrowed my attention instead to travel experiences in biblical lands, and my own most vivid recollections of related movies. First, I had to map the Old Testament, something I was not prepared to do from memory. The Koranic view will be found in the next segment, The Realm of Islam.

From the Caravan Journals: Our guide in Israel was a local man named David. He never said where he was born, but it was clear that English was not his first language. He knew the way to all the important sites and to a few out-of-the-way spots where we were made to feel we were among the few who were privileged to visit. It’s an old tour guide trick. Often, matters of religion would arise from his commentaries. When someone in the group would ask for a theological clarification, he always gave the same answer, “It depends on what domination you belong.”


Israel: Old Testament Related Posts:

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