Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Department ofClassics and Ancient
Mediterranean Studies

JST 12N: Lands of the Bible

JST 12N: Lands of the Bible

Utilizing the textual and archaeological evidence, this course introduces students to the lands, cultures, and peoples associated with the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur’an. Geographically, the lands of the Bible encompass what is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization or Fertile Crescent – an arc-shaped region defined by the Nile, Jordan, Tigris and Euphrates river valleys. Today this crescent includes the modern countries and regions of Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Iraq. Spanning ten millennia of history (ca. 9000 BCE-750 CE), this course explores a series of landmarks in the history of human development, which are considered together with Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. These include the birth of religion and the agricultural revolution (Garden of Eden), the first cities and the invention of writing (Tower of Babel; Patriarchal/Matriarch traditions), Egyptian imperial rule in Canaan (Exodus), the collapse of the Bronze Age (Emergence of Israel), impact of empire (united and divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah), Alexander the Great and the Roman imperial expansion to the east (world of Jesus and development of rabbinic Judaism), Byzantine Palestine (expansion of Christianity), and the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land. Through an integration of numerous disciplines, including historical geography, archaeology, ancient history, biblical studies, epigraphy, and anthropology, students will investigate the interaction between the cultures of the ancient Near East and the religious traditions that developed in the lands associated with the Bible, a relationship that continues to shape the region and the world until today.


Ann Killebrew
Professor, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, and Anthropology
Pronouns: She/Her