It is easy to find Palestine... But how to find the Holy Land -- ah, that is another matter' (Out-of Doors in the Holy Land, 1908)Geographies of the Holy Land are almost as old as Christianity itself. In the ancient world works such as the Onomasticon of Eusebius were intended primarily as aids to biblical understanding but by the early nineteenth century books about the Holy Land had become entangled in concerns over the relationship between the scriptural and scientific uses of this sacred landscape. The Holy Land was not just a physical region on the surface of the Earth - it was an idea, an intellectual and moral space charged with the heat of religious debate and with the noisy engagements of those trying to understand the religious, social and scientific upheavals of the time. EdwinJames Aiken explores the various ways in which geographical knowledge was used in the management of this celestial landscape and the production of its geography. In particular he shows how religious writers called upon geographical knowledge in different ways at different times to the benefit of their readers. He pays particular attention to the political, social and religious currents at play and to the dissonance between religion, theology and science. The result is an original and stimulating work of scholarship that demonstrates the significance of the geography of the Holy Land in Western thought and argument and makes important contributions to the history of geography, the nature of Orientalism, and to the evolving relationship between religion and science.
Portraying the Holy Land