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Holy Land Revealed

Holy Land Revealed

Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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Holy Land Revealed

Course No. 6220
Professor Jodi Magness, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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4.6 out of 5
104 Reviews
90% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 6220
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What Will You Learn?

  • Survey the typography and layouts of ancient Jerusalem.
  • Learn what scholars know about Qumran: the site adjacent to the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
  • Visit Herod's winter palace at Jericho and explore the divided kingdom he left his three sons.
  • Investigate recent archaeological finds that shed new light on the second major Jewish uprising.

Course Overview

As the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity, the Holy Land (the area in and around modern-day Israel) is one of the most important regions in the world. With a rich history stretching back over 3,000 years, this area is a sacred land for three major faiths and the setting for defining events in religious history, including

  • the life, ministry, and death of Jesus;
  • the construction and destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples;
  • the composition of the Old and New Testaments, and parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls;
  • the dramatic siege of Masada; and
  • the journey of the prophet Muhammad to Jerusalem.

The majority of our knowledge about these and other captivating events comes from a wealth of written sources, including the Old and New Testaments, non-canonical works such as the Apocrypha, and works by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

But the Holy Land is also filled with physical evidence that attests to these events—evidence that has only been revealed during the last 200 years. With the information uncovered at various sites—from the rubble of an ancient citadel in the City of David to the contents of rock-cut tombs in the Kidron Valley to individual pieces of correspondence from caves in the Judaean Desert—archaeologists have shed intriguing new light on our understanding of the history of this area. In some cases, their findings have clarified what we already knew. In other cases, they've radically reshaped our views.

Now, comb through these and other remains for yourself with The Holy Land Revealed, an unforgettable experience that will add new dimensions to your understanding of the millennia-long narrative of this dynamic place. Delivered by archaeologist and award-winning Professor Jodi Magness of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has spent her career excavating at sites in and around Israel, these 36 lectures give you an insider's look at how archaeology helps us relive and encounter firsthand life during this formative period of human civilization. And it's a chance to get up close and personal with ruins, artifacts, murals, documents, and other long-buried objects that will take you deep beneath the pages of the Bible.

Travel to a Mysterious Land Rich with History

How does one begin to approach this region, with a history stretching from the arrival of the Canaanites around 3000 B.C.E. up through the Muslim conquest around 640 C.E.? While it's easy to get lost in the whirlwind of political and religious groups in places like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Megiddo, Jericho, and Petra, if you have the right guide, the tumultuous story of the Holy Land is easy to understand.

That's why Professor Magness's chronological approach makes The Holy Land Revealed such an invaluable guide to grasping this period of ancient history. She gives you an expert's look at this winding story, but makes it all the more accessible by organizing the course around three major periods:

  • Old Testament and Post-Exilic period (c. 3000–1st century B.C.E.): This period served as the backdrop for some of the most fascinating stories in the Hebrew Bible and early Jewish history.Gain a greater understanding of events such as the reign of King Solomon, the destruction of the First Temple, the Babylonian exile, the birth of sects such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the rise and fall of the Hasmonean Kingdom.
  • New Testament period (1st century B.C.E.– 1st century C.E.): Spanning the rule of King Herod to the life of Jesus through the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple in 70 C.E., this era forms the core of the New Testament. Delve into everything from life in Herod's impressive palaces to archaeological finds from the villages around Galilee.
  • Post–Second Temple period (70–640 C.E.): After the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple by the Romans, the Holy Land was the site of political and spiritual turmoil. Examine the two major Jewish revolts against Roman rule, Jewish and Christian life under the early Byzantine Empire, the conquest of the region by the emerging Islamic empire, and more.

You'll also see how other great civilizations and empires played key roles in the story of the Holy Land. These include the

  • Babylonians: The Babylonian Empire conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. A large number of the Judean population went into exile in Babylon, where the authoritative texts of the Hebrew Bible were edited, and where the concept of synagogues possibly originated.
  • Greeks: In 332 B.C.E., Alexander the Great first passed through the Holy Land on his way into Egypt; after his death, the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms each ruled the region. The stamp of Hellenistic culture can be seen in the remains of defensive towers at Samaria and the layout of the Idumaean town of Marisa.
  • Romans: After Pompey's siege of Jerusalem in 63 B.C.E., the cities of the Holy Land fell under the authority of the Roman Empire. Following this came centuries of conflict between the Romans and Jews (including the famous Bar-Kokhba Revolt), but also a cultural imprint that was reflected in many early synagogues and churches.

Explore a Wealth of Archaeological Wonders

The Holy Land Revealed is packed with detailed analyses of architectural wonders that provide a physical context for stories from this region. It's a three-dimensional impression that recreates this long-lost world, adding richer layers to stories and events you may be familiar with and providing powerful introductions to those that might be new to you.

You'll walk through ancient water systems and tombs, comb through the ruins of early synagogues and sacred temples, and tour the remains of stables, scriptoriums, and cave dwellings. Along the way, you'll visit some astounding places, including

  • the Temple Mount, the veritable center of Jerusalem and a sacred site of powerful importance for the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths;
  • Caesarea Maritima, a marvel of ancient architecture and engineering, and also the Roman harbor where Paul was imprisoned, as recounted in the book of Acts; and
  • Masada, one of the most famous fortresses in the Holy Land and the site of a dramatic last stand by Jewish rebels against the Roman Empire.

Every lecture is also enlivened by archaeological discoveries frequently tied to related depictions in religious and historical texts. You'll encounter

  • the Merneptah Stele, an ancient Egyptian stone slab from 1209 B.C.E. inscribed with history's earliest mention of Israel;
  • the Cyrus Cylinder, a cuneiform edict from the 6th century B.C.E. Persian king announcing the repatriation of exiled peoples; and
  • the James Ossuary, a controversial burial container with the mysterious inscription that identifies the remains as belonging to "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus."

Provocative and Intriguing Questions

A deft blend of religion, archaeology, history, and culture, The Holy Land Revealed creates a narrative tapestry of life in the ancient Holy Land. The region is one that Professor Magness has devoted her entire career to studying and understanding; as such, every lecture is suffused with a passion for the subject that is nothing short of contagious.

What's more, her approach of comparing archaeological and documentary descriptions with those in canonical texts raises a host of intriguing questions.

  • Did Herod's infamous "slaughter of the innocents"happen the way it is described in the New Testament? Or was it instead inspired by the ruler's murder of his own sons?
  • How does Jesus's Passion along the Via Dolorosa compare with how the route actually existed during that period in Jerusalem's history?
  • Was there really a mass suicide at the fall of Masada? If so, did it truly happen the way Josephus describes it in his historical narratives?

Prepare yourself for a provocative, engaging, and unforgettable journey back in time with The Holy Land Revealed.

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36 lectures
 |  31 minutes each
  • 1
    The Land of Canaan
    What do we mean by “holy land”? What is the difference between archaeology and history? How reliable is the Hebrew Bible as a window into life in ancient Israel? Discover answers to these and other questions in this introductory lecture, and take a peek at the region's earliest recorded inhabitants, the Canaanites. x
  • 2
    The Arrival of the Israelites
    Explore what archaeologists have uncovered about the arrival of the Israelites into Canaan. Among the many intriguing artifacts you examine are an ancient Egyptian stele featuring the earliest reference to Israel, the remains of Jericho's walls, and a Philistine temple similar to the one Samson destroyed in the book of Judges. x
  • 3
    Jerusalem—An Introduction to the City
    Here, survey the topography and layout of Jerusalem—perhaps the most important city in religious history. Then, review biblical accounts of Jerusalem from the arrival of David around 1000 B.C.E. to the start of the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C.E. (including the remains of a dramatic Assyrian siege on the city of Lachish). x
  • 4
    The Jerusalem of David and Solomon
    In this first lecture on the remains of the biblical City of David, comb through the fascinating remains of a scribe's house located behind a city wall; grasp the development of biblical Hebrew script; and examine rare examples of this script in a clay sealing, a piece of pottery, and a victory stele. x
  • 5
    Biblical Jerusalem's Ancient Water Systems
    Continue your archaeological exploration of the City of David by focusing on its ancient water system, centered on the Gihon Spring. Learn about the three different water systems that were created—Warren's Shaft, Siloam Channel, and the impressive engineering feat of Hezekiah's Tunnel—due to the spring's location outside the city walls. x
  • 6
    Samaria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel
    Turn now to Israel as it was ruled under the Omride dynasty between Solomon's death and the Assyrian invasion in 722 B.C.E. Here, explore important ruins, including the High Place at Dan (where the cult statue of a golden calf once resided) and the acropolis at Samaria (which holds the remains of King Ahab's palace). x
  • 7
    Fortifications and Cult Practices
    Delve into aspects of everyday life in the kingdoms of ancient Israel. Focus on how elaborately recessed gates were designed to protect cities like Gezer from enemies, and how altars, amulets, painted figures, and inscribed pottery vessels reflect the religious beliefs and practices at Kuntillet Ajrud and other sites. x
  • 8
    Babylonian Exile and the Persian Restoration
    In 539 B.C.E., after the Babylonians were subsumed by the Persian Empire, the exiled Judeans were allowed to return to Jerusalem. So what happened next? Find out with this penetrating look at the Persian administration of the Holy Land, the influence of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the birth of early Judaism. x
  • 9
    Alexander the Great and His Successors
    Alexander the Great's conquests of the Near East introduced Greek culture to the Holy Land. Professor Magness uses archaeological findings— including the personal belongings of murdered Samaritans and the remains of towers at an ancient fortification—to illustrate the profound influences of Alexander and his successors. x
  • 10
    The Hellenization of Palestine
    Continue examining the Hellenistic influence on the Holy Land—this time on non-Jewish populations in the area. Focus on three distinct cities: Iraq el-Amir (with the remains of an impressive temple or pleasure palace); Marisa (with its fascinating series of caves); and Tel Dor (with its distinctly Hellenistic architectural style). x
  • 11
    The Maccabean Revolt
    Turn now to the impact of the Greeks on the Jewish population of Judea. Tour the tumultuous years between 167 and 103 B.C.E., which saw Antiochus IV's imposition of Greek beliefs on the population; the subsequent revolt under Judah Maccabee; the reigns of the Hasmoneans; and more. x
  • 12
    The Hasmonean Kingdom
    In this investigation of the Hasmoneans, meet individuals including the cruel king Alexander Jannaeus and his accomplished queen and widow, and examine the civil war between their successors. Then, meet their neighbors to the south: the Nabataeans, a desert people best known for the tombs cut into the cliff faces of their capital city at Petra (in modern-day Jordan). x
  • 13
    Pharisees and Sadducees
    By the mid-2nd century B.C.E., various Jewish sects had established themselves. Here, compare and contrast two of the most dominant of these sects: the Pharisees and the Sadducees. What parts of society did they represent? What were their views on religious innovation and free will? With which group did Jesus probably debate? x
  • 14
    Discovery and Site of the Dead Sea Scrolls
    Travel to Qumran, the archaeological site located adjacent to the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered in the late 1940s. As you tour the caves and the site itself (including an ancient scriptorium and dining room), you'll learn what scholars know about the mysterious community that once lived there. x
  • 15
    The Sectarian Settlement at Qumran
    Continue touring the site at Qumran, with a focus on three distinctive features of the settlement. These are animal bones found in pots; an elaborate water system that channeled flash floods into pools used for ritual bathing; and a vast cemetery containing more than 1,000 graves. x
  • 16
    The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenes
    Scholars believe the Qumran community, commonly identified with the Essenes, was a sect that lived in anticipation of the End of Days. What was it like to be a member of this ascetic community? What strict codes of purity did it live by? What is Jesus's relationship to this apocalyptic group? x
  • 17
    The Life of the Essenes
    In this final lecture on the Qumran sect, investigate the ancient latrines and hygienic practices of the community. Your three sources for insights into this little-explored aspect of everyday life: passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls, observations by the historian Josephus, and remains unearthed from the archaeological site itself. x
  • 18
    From Roman Annexation to Herod the Great
    Witness the rise of Herod the Great—the ruthless king who governed Judea between 40 and 4 B.C.E. and who is most infamous for ordering the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem. It's an engrossing tale filled with court intrigue, jealousy, warfare, betrayal, and murder. x
  • 19
    Herod as Builder—Jerusalem's Temple Mount
    In the first of several lectures on Herod's great buildings, many of which served as the backdrop to Jesus's life and ministry, walk through the reconstructed Second Temple and Temple Mount. You'll visit the remains of magnificent structures, including Solomon's Stables, Robinson's Arch, the Western Wall, and the Hulda Gates. x
  • 20
    Caesarea Maritima—Harbor and Showcase City
    During his reign, Herod also built Greco-Roman style cities in his non-Jewish territories. Here, Professor Magness guides you through the most famous of these: the port city of Caesarea Maritima (where Paul was imprisoned, according to Acts 23–24). Comb through the ruins of the city's harbor, hippodrome, aqueducts, and more. x
  • 21
    From Herod's Last Years to Pontius Pilate
    Visit Herod's winter palace at Jericho, where he spent his final years, and his fortified palace at Herodium, where—in 2007—archaeologists discovered his tomb. Then, explore the divided kingdom he left to his three sons, with a special focus on the rule of Herod Antipas (who would play a critical role in Jesus's story). x
  • 22
    Galilee—Setting of Jesus's Life and Ministry
    Tour the remains of Galilean towns and villages that date back to the time of Jesus, including Sepphoris (with its theater) and Capernaum (with its neighborhood of private houses). Then, conclude with a look at the recent discovery of a house at Nazareth that may shed light on Jesus's boyhood. x
  • 23
    Synagogues in the Time of Jesus
    What do we know about the synagogues that served as the setting for the teachings of Jesus and Paul? After surveying the history of this religious institution, explore some of history's earliest synagogues at sites such as Masada, Gamla, and the most recent one uncovered in 2009 at Migdal. x
  • 24
    Sites of the Trial and Final Hours of Jesus
    Explore the Antonia Fortress, the Church of the Sisters of Zion, three successive lines of fortification walls, the ruins of a burnt Jewish villa, and other archaeological finds in Jerusalem intricately linked with both the final days of Jesus's life and the city's destruction in 70 C.E. by the Romans. x
  • 25
    Early Jewish Tombs in Jerusalem
    Chart the development of ancient Jewish rock-cut tombs and burial customs. First, peer inside an Iron-Age cemetery at Ketef Hinnom and view the scant remains of the epic Mausoleum at Halicarnassos. Then, ponder the undiscovered Tomb of the Maccabees, and crawl through the burial chambers of Jason's Tomb in Jerusalem. x
  • 26
    Monumental Tombs in the Time of Jesus
    Turn now to burial customs spanning the Second Temple period, with a particular emphasis on the use of stone ossuaries to store the bones of the deceased. You'll also examine stunning examples of the more than 900 rock-cut tombs that have been discovered around Jerusalem, including the Tomb of Bene Hezir and Nicanor's Tomb. x
  • 27
    The Burials of Jesus and James
    Place the Gospel accounts of the death and burial of Jesus within an archaeological context. The highlight of this lecture is the discussion of two recent—and highly controversial—discoveries: the Talpiyot Tomb (the supposed tomb of Jesus and his family) and the James Ossuary (connected to Jesus's brother). x
  • 28
    The First Jewish Revolt; Jerusalem Destroyed
    Relive the first Jewish revolt against Rome between 66 and 70 C.E. You'll follow the infighting among Jewish rebel groups, explore the sites of fierce battles between rebels and Roman soldiers, and follow the tactics of Roman generals such as Vespasian and Titus as they besiege Jerusalem. x
  • 29
    Masada—Herod's Desert Palace and the Siege
    After the end of the first Jewish revolt, three Herodian fortresses remained occupied by Jewish rebels. The most famous of these: Masada. Here, discover what archaeological evidence reveals about how an estimated 8,000 Roman soldiers encircled the mountain, built camps, and laid siege to the fortress and its 967 rebels. x
  • 30
    Flavius Josephus and the Mass Suicide
    Pore over the remains of a ramp that was instrumental in the Roman victory at Masada. Then, take a closer look at controversies over the mass suicide of the Jewish rebels and the views of the historian Josephus—whose writings are our most important source of information about this event. x
  • 31
    The Second Jewish Revolt against the Romans
    Investigate archaeological finds from the last 50 years that have shed unprecedented new light on the second major Jewish uprising: the Bar-Kokhba Revolt. Central to this lecture are two mysterious caves—the Cave of Letters and the Cave of Horror—whose contents tell us much about the Jewish families who hid there. x
  • 32
    Roman Jerusalem—Hadrian's Aelia Capitolina
    The Roman emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as the pagan city Aelia Capitolina. Witness the results of his rule, including the iconic Damascus Gate, a towering statue of Hadrian, and two public forums built at the northern and western ends of the city. x
  • 33
    Christian Emperors and Pilgrimage Sites
    The legalization of Christianity under Constantine radically transformed the landscape of ancient Israel. In the first of two lectures on the Holy Land under the Byzantine Empire, tour two major churches built during this period: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the once-lost Nea Church devoted to Mary. x
  • 34
    Judaism and Synagogues under Christian Rule
    As Christianity spread across the Holy Land, synagogues became increasingly larger and more elaborate in an attempt to bolster Judaism. See how this was done by peering closely at the remains of the synagogues at Capernaum, Hammath Tiberias, and Beth Alpha—as well as their (sometimes surprising) decorations. x
  • 35
    Islam's Transformation of Jerusalem
    The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are the two most potent examples of the spread of Islam into the Holy Land beginning in the mid-7th century C.E. Discover what archaeologists have learned about these two spectacular buildings and their importance to the Muslim faith. x
  • 36
    What and How Archaeology Reveals
    What is it like to work alongside an archaeologist in the field? In Professor Magness's final lecture, experience how archaeologists reconstruct their delicate pictures of the past—from deciding where to start digging to reassembling broken artifacts uncovered from the earth to publishing their eye-opening findings and conclusions. x

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Your professor

Jodi Magness

About Your Professor

Jodi Magness, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Dr. Jodi Magness is the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her B.A. in Archaeology and History from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania. For her engaging teaching, Professor Magness won the Archaeological Institute of...
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Holy Land Revealed is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 104.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jodi is a great lecturer she really knows her material
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am enjoying the audio only version I purchase these to listen to in the car. I have covered about four or five lectures so far and am really enjoying them. Among my favorite of the dozens of Teaching Company courses I have listened to.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Objective, firsthand information I took this course to prepare for an upcoming trip to the Holy Land. I was looking for plenty of visual images and maps presented in a manner based upon data. Professor Jodi Magness has worked extensively in the region, so her lectures are founded upon direct experience. I was so fascinated, I watched the entire course in a few days!
Date published: 2017-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fills in All the Missing Pieces I came across this course about 2 weeks before my trip to Israel. I binged watched all 36 courses and am so glad I did! I do a lot of research before my trips and already knew a lot of what I was going to see, but this course connected all the dots. The instructor, Dr. Jodi Magness, clearly loves what she does and it comes through in the courses. Who know learning about water systems could be so fascinating??? I felt that she also did a good job of identifying where the holy texts match the archaeological evidence and where they don't. Where they don't, she respectfully attempts to explain why. I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in that part of the world.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and well presented ... Two thirds of the way through Dr Magness's Great Course, 'Jesus and his Jewish Influences,' I decided that I wanted to also view this course: 'The Holy Land Revealed.' I have to say that this course thoroughly captivated me and helped to improve my understanding of both the Bible and Jewish history. I read the Bible (King James Version ... still my favorite version) cover to cover, when I was a very young man. Even those of us who grow up reading the Bible over and over still have trouble understanding some of the things that we are reading, because they were written 2,000 - 2,500 years ago. What this course did for me was to put some of those Bible passages into the context of the time in which they were written. This course is not about the Bible though; it is the story of "The Holy Land" from ~ 1650 BCE or ~ 450 CE, as told through Archeology and Ancient texts. The main focus is on the history of the Jewish people, so Jewish scripture (analogous to the Christian Old Testament) is frequently sited. Dr Magness relies on many other sources (Assyrian cuneiform, Rabbinic writings, Dead Sea Scrolls, Stone engravings, Josephus, Philo, and various archeologists, etc) to tell this long and fascinating story. Compared to 'Jesus and his Jewish Influences,' this course has many more photographs, maps and illustrations in it's video version, and I found them very helpful. Dr Magness follows essentially a chronological narrative and uses a lot of maps to show who occupied what parts of the Holy Land throughout the 2,000 years that she is describing. Her presentation is thoughtful, smooth and well paced. I urge the prospective viewer to remember that this is not a religious or theological course, rather it is an academic (sectarian) course. As a lover of history, I found nothing offensive in this course and felt that Dr Magness treated sensitive issues respectfully. If you are likely to be offended by a perspective that considers the Bible as a historical document and not a religious one then this course may not be for you. Whether you are a person of faith, looking to gain further insights into the origins of the Jewish people and the lands that they have occupied, a lover of history or have an interest in what we currently refer to as the middle east, then I would suggest that this course has much to offer. Dr Magness's other course: 'Jesus, and his Jewish Influences' does cover the time period of the first two centuries BCE in greater detail; however, this course covers a much broader range of time and has much more visual material for those who are watching DVD or video streaming. Personally, I loved this course and will look forward to watching it again in the future. Cheers.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lots of history to comprehend! We are only about 30% thru the lecture series. Appreciate the level of detailed knowledge demonstrated by the author. Looking forward to completing the series as time permits.
Date published: 2017-04-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good and informative The course is informative and in depth as one who looks for a course on archeology would expect, and the teacher as knowledgeable as possible.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Interesting This might be my favorite Great Course yet, a d I've loved many of the courses. It was engaging, informative, and never dull. The professor is extremely knowledgeable, and the material covered is fascinating. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is considering it.
Date published: 2017-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting This is the most interesting course I have watched so far. There were a lot of slides presented and she has actually been to many of the digs presented. The last lecture was particularly interesting because she explained the whole process of excavating a site.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Informative I bought this to augment a trip my wife and I are taking to Israel. The lecturer is very informed on the subject of archaeology and has broken up her lectures into distinct categories of thought. She tell the listener when she has her own opinion and is quite articulate and easy to understand.
Date published: 2017-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Holy Land Revealed This course is the second I have featuring Professor Magness. This course was fascinating, filled with interesting insights into the material, delivered in an engaging and understandable way. My congratulations and thanks to Professor Magness and the Teaching Company.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Holy Land Revealed This is very informative and adds to understanding when reading the Bible. The professor is very knowledgeable and is a good presenter.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This course is excellent and it is a must for everyone who is or will visit Israel (Eretz Ysrael). You learn in details about the important points that make sense and bring a better understanding of the life and the culture of Yeshua Jesus.
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating overview by enthusiastic lecturer Detailed, informative, interesting overview of what we know about Palestine from the very early stages of life there until the time of Constantine.
Date published: 2017-02-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent professor with good use of visuals This was the best series ( of six ) I have ordered from Great Courses. She speaks extemporaneously and is never dull.
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative I purchased this for a friend, but watched it myself. I've made a couple trips to Israel, and this course made the places I had seen open up even more. Professor Magness's expertise on the field of Holy Land archeology is excellent. She makes the course interesting with her insight. My only regret is that the course does not cover more places. Of course, with Israel, there is so much history to cover! The course definitely reveals the many layers of history of the Holy Land.
Date published: 2017-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love having questions answered I love studying the history of Christianity. When science or philosophy supports scripture it provides me with evidence of what I believe. Watch these DVD's and lay your ESV Bible Atlas in front of you. Pure Joy!!
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Preparation for a trip to Israel We have been to Israel many times and this course puts many places we visited into historical and religious context.
Date published: 2016-12-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sooo Interesting Along with great descriptions and photos of archaeological sites in the Middle East, Dr. Magness' descriptions of Middle East history, including names of individuals and sects, gave me a greater understanding of the biblical references to these people and groups. She takes biblical passages and clearly explains who and what those verses are referring to, and supports those passages with the archaeological finds in the middle east during the time of early Jewish Kings and events. For those people interested in the Old Testament people and places, this is a must view! And New Testament readers will find this course very valuable as well. I actually looked forward to each subsequent lecture in the series and only wished I had taken notes as I viewed these educational gems! I will definitely go back and view the series again with my pen and notebook in hand to save this valuable information! Thank you Dr. Magness!!!
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent course. excellent professor. prof jodi magness makes the course. she speaks well and explains everything with clarify. she lays out the course material very well. there is a lot of history and material to cover and she does a very good job presenting everything. i love this course
Date published: 2016-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fills in a lot of details for other GCs There is not much I can add to other reviews. I think it has very high value. I agree the Professor repeats herself too much; but that is way over shadowed by the value of the course. If this course were done again I recommend that "rulers" be placed on the photos so you can get a better idea of the size of things; such as the size of a "tel" or building. The best value of this course is that it fills in details that the more theological GCs don't cover.
Date published: 2016-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course - really! I enjoyed this course a lot. Professor Magness has an infectious enthusiasm as well as extensive knowledge of the subject. I learned a lot about the holy land (one of my favorite subjects along with archeology) and enjoyed the journey. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone because of the excellence of the presentation.
Date published: 2016-08-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Holy Land Revealed The venue is too big and empty. Why not use the lectern and keep the professor stable rather than deliberately moving from side to side. My fault for assuming it would be more on the history of The Holy Land instead of the emphasis on archeology .Suggest you change the name. Unless you are a student of the subject it is far to detailed. Too many names that few would ever remember. In summary it is far below the other courses I have, both of which are on art.
Date published: 2016-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Holy Land Really informative and fascinating how the bible is connected to and backed up by archeology in the holy land. We can honestly say doing this course will make you a better Christian.
Date published: 2016-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Holy Land Revealed I have not finished it yet, but I will. I'm getting a little confused as the Romans enter the picture into the Holy Land. Requires much concentration. But I'll get through it. It is making clear already the history behind the Holy Land. *************************************** I don't think I received a questionnaire on the course on Greece and Turkey. It was fantastic. Especially because there were so many archaeological ruins, and my husband is an archaeologist.
Date published: 2016-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good, No Outstanding I purchased this course after viewing one or two of the lectures on the new Great Courses site where you can view courses for 30 days for a fee. Based on my sample lectures I thought it was an archeology lecture series and at first was a bit disappointed. However, Professor Magness stitched together archeology / religion / history and archeology theory to provide a very very enjoyable learning experience. Professor Magness is a very knowledgeable well spoken enthusiastic professor. Well done Professor Magness. The thing I was most down about in the end was; the series ended. I hope Great Courses and Professor Magness will team up in the future and produce another series.
Date published: 2016-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! Exactly What I was Looking For I thoroughly enjoyed this outstanding course! It was exactly what I was looking for and I learned a lot. Not only did I get the history of the Israelites but I got the archaeology, too. I found it fascinating. I also thought that Professor Magness was a great teacher. She was not boring or monotonous. I would recommend the dvd course because of the photographs, artifacts, maps and other images that she used. They were extremely helpful in learning. The fact that she was personally involved and on site at some of the archaeological digs in the middle east was a bonus! I think Prof. Magness was very objective and balanced in her presentation regarding both the Israelites (Jews) and Christianity. She also was well versed in the Greek and Roman cultures and history and well as the pagan cultures of the eras involved. I am enthusiastically looking forward to watching her subsequent and latest course entitled "Jesus and His Jewish Influences."
Date published: 2016-04-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from extending my faith Goog course, gave me a great overview of the Holy Land, with great archeological information that enriched and expanded my bible studies.
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great once it gets going in my view this course is at least partially a victim of archaeological happenstance—specifically, the fact that the further back you go, the less there is to be found. from the description i expected a thorough study of the various archaeological sites in the holy land, with site plans, lots of photos, and perhaps even graphics. and by the time we reach the roman period about half-way through the course that is indeed what we get. the problem is that in order to put these sites into context the professor is obliged to retell the whole biblical story, and not all of this easily lends itself to an archaeological focus. for a good chunk of the course in fact the historical background serves less as connective tissue and more as the main subject. there are quite a few early lectures which feature essentially no site studies and very few graphics, and this occurred to such an extent that i spent at least half the course wondering why it needed to be video-only. some early lectures do have essential visuals, such as the excellent 3D graphics of the topography of jerusalem, but others, like that on the babylonian captivity, used hardly any at all. indeed, much of the first half of the course is simply a matter of watching the professor talk. now in the later lectures, once we reach the period from which most of our surviving evidence dates, the course does indeed fulfill its promise. once the professor starts talking about qumran, or herod’s cities and palaces, or the tombs of jerusalem, or masada, there are plenty of helpful visuals. the lectures on jerusalem are particularly great, and provide you with an intimate understanding of how the city grew—and shrank—over its long, turbulent history. it’s true that the visuals are usually still photographs and not the sort of enhanced graphics we might be used to from tv, but they get the job done. in short, once we reach this point the course is great; i just didn’t expect it to take quite so long to get going. the professor herself is excellent. she clearly has an exhaustive knowledge of the subject, and it was particularly interesting to hear about her own excavations and how they contributed to the material she was presenting. there are also plenty of fascinating discussions about what archaeology can and cannot tell us about a variety of contentious questions, and prof. magness is always careful to point out when there is no scholarly consensus and she is simply giving her own view. i found her commentary on some of the sensational finds of recent years, such as the james ossuary and the “tomb of jesus,” especially useful. if, like i did, you’re expecting the course to be roughly half jewish and half christian, think again. presumably just because of the nature of the evidence—christians don’t start to seriously impact the archaeological record until constantine—this is much more of a jewish course than a christian one, even after we reach the time of jesus. i personally find it interesting either way, but some potential viewers may find this helpful to know. in its current form the guidebook for this course is one of the weakest i’ve ever seen. all you get per lecture is a mere 5-6 short paragraphs, and of these the first is little more than, “in this lecture we’ll discuss…” while the last is a similar tag about the next lecture. as such the guidebook is hardly more than a few highlights, and so if you want to remind yourself of anything expect to have to watch the lecture again. hopefully the teaching company will produce a revision which will bring it up to the excellent standards of some of the newer courses.
Date published: 2015-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Essential Viewing before Traveling Prof. Magness's passion for archaeology is extraordinary. The last lecture (#36), in which she describes the complicated nature of that inexact science, is a superb example of that passion. This course is indispensable preparation for the serious traveler to the Holy Land.
Date published: 2015-07-06
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