Geneva College students, alumni and friends are invited to join a study tour of Israel during the 2011-12 Christmas break from December 27, 2011 to January 7, 2012. Led by Geneva College Bible Department professors Dr. Byron Curtis, Dr. Scott Shidemantle and Dr. Jonathan Watt, participants will travel to the Holy Land, see first-hand some of the places where Jesus walked and taught, and explore important geographic and archeological sites.
The trip to Israel is the culmination of the fall 2011 Archaeology and Geography of Israel course, BIB 341/HUM 304. The on-campus class will meet on Monday evenings and discuss the art and science of archaeology and the geography of Israel; however, current students may attend the trip without enrolling in the course. Alumni and friends who register for the trip to Israel and place a deposit prior to September 1, 2011 are invited to audit the Archeology and Geography of Israel course at no charge.
"We'll learn about how archaeology is done, how archaeology intersects with the story of the Bible and look at some cases studies that will relate to some archaeological sites that we will visit in Israel," explains Dr. Shidemantle. "We'll also look at the diverse regions of Israel and learn how the geographic realities of Israel relate to the story of the Bible."
And the trip to Israel truly connects classroom curriculum and biblical knowledge with experiential learning. "Not only will we read about the location of some of the stories of the Bible, but we'll actually visit them - so we'll see and feel these stories," says Dr. Shidemantle. "Travelers have told me more than once, âI'll never read the Bible the same way again.′"
The archeological sites of Tel Hazor, Belvoir Castle and Tel Dan are among the places that the group will visit. Participants will travel to the ruins of the ancient port of Caesarea Maritima and view a Roman Aqueduct, swim in the Dead Sea, and spend time in Jerusalem. They will also journey to Bethlehem, walk into Kidron Valley to the Garden of Gethsemane, see the Western Wall and much more.
According to Dr. Shidemantle, the trip provides so many unique and spiritual experiences that it is difficult to identify a singular highlight for travelers: "Some are impressed by the ancient churches such as the Church of the Nativity, commemorating where Jesus was born, or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus. Others appreciate the cultural interchange - interacting with Jews, Muslims and Middle Eastern Christians. Still others enjoy putting the biblical locations visually in their minds, as we take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee or stand where David slew Goliath in the Elah Valley."
Click here to view the trip itinerary.