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Review: The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide

The Holy Land is one of the most disputed areas in the modern world. Three major religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—all claim Jerusalem as a place of spiritual significance. For those traveling to the Holy Land and uneducated on the Israel-Palestine conflict, it may seem overwhelming or daunting to travel to such a contested area. Popular travel guides may be colorful and useful, but they often neglect significant context. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor’s The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide provides a travel guide to Jerusalem and nearby sites which combines both scholarly research and practical tourist advice.

The book is divided into two parts: 1) the city of Jerusalem (divided into its major separations) and 2) major sites in the Holy Land. Each site contains a detailed explanation of its history and offers suggestions on travel (i.e. hours of operation, best times to visit, nearby attractions). The book also contains a detailed index, over 150 maps, diagrams, and photographs, and a brief introduction to the history of the Holy Land. With an overwhelming list of attractions, Murphy-O’Connor uses star ratings to help the traveler decide which areas are most noteworthy.

Murphy-O’Connor’s travel guide is an indispensable resource for those traveling to the Holy Land and desiring to understand the historical significance of the region. Murphy-O’Connor, a respected New Testament scholar, writes from an objective standpoint which should appeal to religious and non-religious audiences alike. Truly, the insights of the book should enhance one’s visit to the area. The book is slightly large (about 1¼” thick), so make room for it in your suitcase! However, this may be the only travel guide you need before your expedition to the Holy Land.

(My thanks is given to the publisher for providing a complimentary review copy in exchange for an honest review.)


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