Historical Geography of the Bible

Tyndale University College and Seminary, in co-operation with the University of the Holy Land, offers BIBL 0603 (Seminary) / RLGS 3073 (UC). The course will take place at various locations in Israel from May 12 to June 3, 2013. In addition, four preparatory courses will occur in at Tyndale during the Winter 2013 semester.


  • Tyndale Seminary: Dr. Rebecca Idestrom
  • Tyndale University College: Dr. Daniel Driver
  • University of the Holy Land: Dr. Ginger Caessens

Please note that this course can count as either a New Testament elective or an Old Testament elective. There are no prerequisites.

Course Description

This course is a study tour which combines travel with lectures and readings to provide students with a rich, on-site learning experience. Students will spend three full weeks in Israel visiting sites throughout the country that formed the stage on which so many biblical events were played out. Our tour will move region-by-region, spending time in Jerusalem and Judea, Benjamin, the Coastal Plain, the Negeb, the Dead Sea area, the Jordan Valley, the Galilee and the Golan Heights. In each area students will learn about its geography and archaeology, exploring how the features of each area shaped the history of its people. Attention will also be given to the imagery and symbolism connected with each region in both the Old and New Testaments.

Please be aware that this is a physically demanding course, which will involve significant amounts of walking in a hot climate.


  • Monday, May 13, Arrival. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Tuesday, May 14, Old Testament Jerusalem Walking Trip: Eastern Hill/original Mount Zion (Israelite “palace,” Area G, Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Pool of Siloam), overview of the Hinnom Valley/Gehenna from present-day Mount Zion, overview of Eastern Hill from St. Peter in Gallicantu, and the “Broad Wall” on the Western Hill. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Wednesday, May 15, Lectures. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Thursday, May 16, New Testament Jerusalem Field Trip: Overview of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, traditional Garden of Gethsemane, Pools of Bethesda, Overview of Second Temple Period Tombs in the Kidron Valley, Southern Wall Excavations and model of New Testament Jerusalem and Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Friday, May 17, Morning lectures; afternoon visit to Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb.
  • Saturday, May 18, Benjamin Field Trip: Qasr el-Yehud (a traditional location of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist), Jericho (Tell es-Sultan, Tulul Abu el-`Alayiq, Tell es-Samarat), Mizpeh Danny (overview of Wilderness of Judea), Nebi Samwil (overview of important towns in Benjamin) and Tel Gezer/Tell Jezer. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Sunday, May 19, Free Day. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Monday, May 20, Morning quiz followed by visit to Bethlehem; afternoon lectures. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Tuesday, May 21, Hill Country and Shephelah of Judah Field Trip: Herodium, Tel Azekah/Tell Zakariyeh (overview of the Elah Valley where David confronted Goliath), Tel Beth-shemesh/Tell er- Rumeileh, Tel Maresha/Tell Sandahanna/Marissa/Beth-guvrin, and Tel Lachish/Tell ed-Duweir. Overnight in Ashkelon.
  • Wednesday, May 22, Philistine Plain and Biblical Negeb Field Trip: Ashkelon excavations, Tel Haror/Tell Abu Hureireh (Gerar?), Tel Beer-sheba/Tell es-Seba, and Tel Arad/Tell Arad. Overnight in modern town of Arad.
  • Thursday, May 23, Greater Negeb Field Trip: Swimming in the Dead Sea, Hazeva/Tamar, Maaleh Aqrabbim (an ancient trade route), Mamshit/Kurnub/Mampsis (a Nabatean town), Makhtesh Gadol, H. Haluqim and overview of Nahal Zin and the Wilderness of Zin from Kibbutz Sede Boker. Overnight in Arad.
  • Friday, May 24, Dead Sea Area Field Trip: Masada, En-gedi, and Qumran. Special evening lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Dr. Stephen Pfann. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Saturday, May 25, Free Day. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Sunday, May 26, Morning quiz followed by free time; afternoon lectures. Overnight in Jerusalem.

  • Monday, May 27, Ephraim, Samaria and Mount Carmel Field Trip: Kh. Seilun/Shiloh, Tell Balatah/Shechem, Samaria/Sebaste/Sebastia and Mukhraka (traditional site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel). Overnight on Mt. Carmel.
  • Tuesday, May 28, Sharon Plain and Jezreel Valley Field Trip: Caesarea, Tel Megiddo/ Tell el- Mutesellim and overview of the Arbel cliffs. Overnight by the Sea of Galilee.
  • Wednesday, May 29, Sea of Galilee Area Field Trip: Boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, Museum of First Century Boat (at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar), Magdala, Chorazim, Capernaum, et-Tell (Bethsaida?), overview of el-Kursi (Gergesa), and Tel Sussita/Qalat el-Husn (Hippos). Overnight by the Sea of Galilee.
  • Thursday, May 30, Northern Jordan Valley and Golan Field Trip: Tel Hazor, Hula Nature Reserve, overview of Tel Abel-beth-maacah from Upper Galilee, Tel Dan/Tell el-Qadi and Dan Nature Reserve, Banias (Caesarea-philippi), and Golan Heights. Overnight by the Sea of Galilee.
  • Friday, May 31, Lower Galilee, Harod Valley, Beth-shean Valley, and Jordan Valley Field Trip: Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Nazareth Village (reproduction of a typical Galilean village in Jesus’ time [special presentation by Mrs. Claire Pfann]), Tel Yizre’el/Zer’in/Jezreel, En-harod (where Gideon’s warriors were selected), and Tel Beth-shean/Tell el-Husn/Scythopolis. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Saturday, June 1, Free day. Overnight in Jerusalem.
  • Sunday, June 2, Final Exam.
  • Monday, June 3, Departure.

Note: Every reasonable effort will be made to include all sites in the itinerary, but some flexibility may be required to accommodate unexpected circumstances, including security issues.