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The Holy Land Hebrew: ארץ הקודש Erets HaQodesh; (Ancient Aramaic: ארעא קדישא Ar'a Qaddisha;Greek: Άγιοι Τόποι Agioi Topoi; Latin: Terrae Sanctae; Arabic: الأرض المقدسة, al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah), generally refers to the geographical region of the Levant called Land of Canaan or Land of Israel in the Bible, and constitutes the Promised land. This area, or sites within it, hold significant religious importance to at least four monotheistic Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Part of its sanctity stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, the holiest city to Judaism, the third-holiest to Islam, and part of the proposed Christian Pentarchy.

The holiness of this land was the ideological driving force behind the Crusaders' re-conquest from the Muslim rulers who controlled it since the Islamic conquests. Numerous pilgrims visited that land throughout history.

Although the Zionism movement, the current State of Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict are largely political, the dispute around the control of the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem is based on religious beliefs. Some have proposed the founding of a Federal Republic of the Holy Land as a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[1]

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Judaism

The Holy Land, or Palestine, showing the ancient kingdoms of Judah and Israel in which the 12 Tribes have been distinguished, and their placement in different periods. Tobias Conrad Lotter, Geographer. Augsburg, Germany, 1759

In the Torah (Tanakh or Old Testament), the term Holy Land is not used. Instead, this area is called Land of Canaan, Land of Israel and Promised land.

Judaism's holiest cities are, at least according to the list of "Four Holy Cities", Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias. Jerusalem has, since Abraham, been the spiritual focus of the Jews.[2]

Israelite kingdoms and states existed intermittently in the region for over a millennium, with Jerusalem as their capital. Following foreign conquests, Israelite presence in the Holy Land dwindled. In particular, the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Roman Empire resulted in widescale expulsion of Jerusalemites. The Romans renamed this land Syria Palaestina, the origin of the name Palestine. Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina. The Mishnah and Jerusalem Talmud, two of Judaism's most important religious texts, were written down in the region during this period.

Jerusalem appears 669 times in the Hebrew Bible. Zion, which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel, appears 154 times. In the first sections, the area of Jerusalem is called Mount Moriah, the location of the binding of Isaac, now called the Temple Mount.

In the Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem and the Holy Land are considered a divine gift, part of several covenants. Jerusalem has long been embedded into Jewish religious consciousness. Jews have studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs. Jerusalem is mentioned in many Jewish prayers; the Passover seder prayer ends with Next year in Jerusalem. Jews turn towards Jerusalem to pray. The Western Wall of the Temple Mount, nicknamed the "wailing wall", is the holiest site to Jews and a site of pilgrimage for centuries.

Christianity

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Christianity.

For Christians, the concept of a Holy Land is derived from the renaming of the Land of Canaan as the Land of Israel (e.g. Genesis 15:18-21).

"The uniqueness of the Land of Israel is thus 'geo-theological' and not merely climatic. This is the land which faces the entrance of the spiritual world, that sphere of existence that lies beyond the physical world known to us through our senses. This is the key to the land's unique status with regard to prophecy and prayer, and also with regard to the commandments." [3]

The concept of the land being holy is especially prominent in the Book of Numbers. Horst Seebass argues that the book is "indeed pervaded by the theme of the holy land."[4] The land is also considered holy in the Hebrew Bible because God's "holy people" settle there.[5]

The Holy Land is also significant in Christianity because of the lands association as the place of birth, ministry, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, who Christians regard as the Saviour or Messiah.

The holy cities for Christians of all denominations are:

  • Jerusalem is believed to be the site of some of Jesus's teaching, the Last Supper (believed to have occurred at the Cenacle), the subsequent institution of the Holy Eucharist as well as His entombment; Christians believe He was crucified on a nearby hill, Golgotha (sometimes called Calvary). It notably contains the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of All Nations, but many other Christian institutions as well.
  • Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus.
  • Nazareth is Jesus's hometown and the site of many holy places, including the Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation and Mary's Well.

During the Crusades, Christian pilgrims often sought out the Holy Places in the Outremer, especially in early 12th century immediately after the capture of Jerusalem.[6] Besides the sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Christian holy places also included:

Islam

See also: Religious significance of Jerusalem in Islam.
See also: Holiest sites in Islam.

Sharing similar religious beliefs with Jews and Christians, Muslims consider the land west of (but not limited to) the Jordan River to be sacred, as mentioned in the Qur'an.

" Moses said unto his people, 'O my people, enter the Holy Land, which Allah hath decreed you.' " - (Qur'an 5:21)

The first few months of Islamic history considered Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem to be the first Qibla (direction of prayer), as opposed to the Kaaba in Mecca. Both Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, are considered to be the third holiest places for all denominations of Islam. In Arabic, the city of Jerusalem is commonly known as "Al-Quds", meaning "the Holy".

Muslims believe that Muhammad journeyed from Masjidul Haram in Makkah, to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and back, all in a single night. It was at the Al-Aqsa Mosque that Muhammad performed Salah (the prayers) with all of the Prophets of Islam, and thereafter ascended to heaven, called Mi'raj.

Muslims also consider the depression below Mount Sinai, known as "Tuwa", to be sacred as mentioned in the Qur'an as the "Holy Valley" (الوادي المقدس):

" Has not there come to you the story of Moses? How his Lord called him in the the holy valley of Tuwa " - (Qur'an 79:15-16)

There are other mentions of "Holy" or "Blessed" land in the Qur'an, however there is much dispute amongst scholars as to the exact whereabouts of those places. For instance, the "Blessed Land" referred to in verse [21:71] has been interpreted very differently by various scholars: Abdullah Yusuf Ali likens it to a wide land range including, Syria, Palestine and the cities of Tyre and Sidon; Az-Zujaj describes it as, "Damascus, Palestine, and a bit of Jordan"; Qatada claims it to be, "the Levant"; Muadh ibn Jabal as, "the area between al-Arish and the Euphrates"; and Ibn Abbas as, "the land of Jericho".[7]

The term "Holy Land" is also often used by Muslims (although not in the Qur'an) in reference to the Hijaz - the land of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. Shi'a Muslims also include the land of Karbala under the high status of a "Holy Land" based on narrations from the archangel Gabriel to Muhammad[8].

See also

References

  1. ^ Al Gathafi, Muammar (2003). White Book (ISRATIN). http://www.algathafi.org/html-english/cat_03_03.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-16.  
  2. ^ Since the 10th century BCE:
    • "The centrality of Jerusalem to Judaism is so strong that even secular Jews express their devotion and attachment to the city and cannot conceive of a modern State of Israel without it... For Jews Jerusalem is sacred simply because it exists." Leslie J. Hoppe. The Holy City: Jerusalem in the theology of the Old Testament, Liturgical Press, 2000, p. 6. ISBN 0814650813
    • "For Jews the city has been the pre-eminent focus of their spiritual, cultural, and national life throughout three millennia." Yossi Feintuch, U.S. Policy on Jerusalem, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1987, p. 1. ISBN 0313257000
  3. ^ The Land of Israel: National Home Or Land of Destiny, By Eliezer Schweid, Translated by Deborah Greniman, Published 1985 Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, ISBN 0838632343, p.56.
  4. ^ Horst Seebass, "Holy Land in the Old Testament: Numbers and Joshua," VT 56 (2006), 95. One perspective represented in Numbers is that the land becomes holy if it is the result of holy war, or Cherem. Seebass postulates that land taken in holy war is always holy. (ibid.)
  5. ^ "At the end of Joshua, the land has been distributed among the tribes, the patriarchal promise is fulfilled and the land becomes the holy land." John Goldingay, Theological Diversity and the Authority of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 68.
  6. ^ Sean Martin, The Knights Templar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order, 2005. ISBN 1-56025-645-1
  7. ^ Ali (1991), p.934
  8. ^ al-Qummi, Ja'far ibn Qūlawayh (2008). Kāmil al-Ziyārāt. trans. Sayyid Mohsen al-Husaini al-Mīlāni. Shiabooks.ca Press. p. 545.  

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Holy Land
Jerusalem: the Old City and the Dome of the Rock
Jerusalem: the Old City and the Dome of the Rock

The Holy Land (Hebrew: ארץ הקודש Eretz HaKodesh; Latin: Terra Sancta, Arabic: الأرض المقدسة al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah;) or Holy Lands (plural) is a generic term that usually refers to one or more countries in the Middle East region of the world that witnessed the origins and early history of three of the world's great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As such, the Holy Land(s) has/have been the focus of travel and - indeed - pilgrimage - for centuries (and continue to attract visitors on the same basis even today...) Owing to their economic, religious and cultural importance - and an ironic ability to create division and hostility - the Holy Land(s) also represent(s) the landscape in which the Jewish Diaspora, the medieval Crusades and (most recently) the modern Arab-Israeli Conflict have been played out, making their own contribution to the strategic and military interest of the region.

In order of size (and probable importance) to the traveller / pilgrim, countries associated with the term "Holy Land" are as follows:

Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem
The holiest place in Islam is in Mecca
The holiest place in Islam is in Mecca

See also our article on the Hajj pilgrimage.


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Holy Land article)

From Wikisource

The Holy Land
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


The Holy Land may refer to:


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

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the Holy Land

  1. That part of Asia, consisting mostly of Israel and Palestine, in which most Biblical events are set.

Translations


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Palestine article)

From BibleWiki


originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan inhabited by the Philistines (Ex 15:14; Isa 14:29, 31; Joel 3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth (rendered "Philistia" in Ps 608; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in the Old Testament.

Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen 40:15). It is also called "the holy land" (Zech 2:12), the "land of Jehovah" (Hos. 9:3; Ps 851), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because promised to Abraham (Gen 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan" (Gen 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1Sam 13:19), and the "land of Judah" (Isa 19:17).

The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of Abraham (Gen 15:18-21; Num 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the "river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kg 4:1, 21). This vast empire was the Promised Land; but Palestine was only a part of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least of all lands." Western Palestine, on the south of Gaza, is only about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20 miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.

Palestine, "set in the midst" (Ezek 5:5) of all other lands, is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No single country of such an extent has so great a variety of climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut 8:7-9).

"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability, much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills, fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs, olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil. Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water. Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).

From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut 3:12-20; comp. Num 1:17-46; Josh 4:12-13). The remaining tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.

From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722, after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan nation (2Kg 17:24-29).

Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of Cyrus (Ez 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and restored the old Jewish commonwealth.

For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, and Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took possession of Palestine in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many privileges.

After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off the Syrian yoke.

In the year B.C. 68, Palestine was reduced by Pompey the Great to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed in it (comp. Jn 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus, who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6, when Palestine became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.

Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or districts. This division was recognized so long as Palestine was under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea, the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1) Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2) Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5) Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7) Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The whole territory of Palestine, including the portions alloted to the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent, the size of the principality of Wales.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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