Progress Report


"Technology is, of course, a double edged sword. Fire can cook our food but also burn us."


--Jason Silva

Surviving the end of a semester is always a difficult thing. Students say it; teachers can say it too. Papers are due. Tests must be created, administered and graded. Administrative meetings multiply. Then the copy machine jams.

Complicating the end of this semester for me is the challenge of preparing a course for the next round. More than twenty sessions of Bible Lands and Lifeways have been smoking in my pipe for months. In the summer of 2015, Vicki and I spent six weeks in Israel-Palestine attempting to capture video and still images required to meet this challenge. Honestly, from the technology side, we had no idea what we were doing! (Ok, I shouldn't be so transparent. Those who know, already know.)

Now, all of this needs to be beat down into something useful. So much for a relaxing Christmas vacation. Any volunteers out there?

As a tease, here's the course description from the syllabus. Be careful with it. The ink is still drying.

"The purpose of this course is to introduce the natural environment of the biblical world (lands) and to explore human strategies of interaction with that environment (lifeways). To achieve this purpose, a cross-disciplinary approach is required. Literary, geographical, and anthropological tools are mustered to describe discrete realms and regions and to infer lifeway patterns Emphasis is given to the biblical Heartland (Israel, Palestine, Jordan) and to the Bible as a text embedded with environmental awareness. Ultimately, the course seeks to develop skills in biblical interpretation."

Yikes! That's a big promise. A big wordy promise. A big scary wordy promise.

To keep you entertained, here's an attempt at an introduction that we shot one evening in Nazareth. Special thanks goes to John Samples and the ministry team of the Christian HolyLand Foundation for logistical support in Nazareth. Beyond CHLF, we must also thank James Ridgway and the fine folks from the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies/Educational Opportunities. Without help from these friends, our work would wither and die. 

Let's go exploring . . . virtually!

Shot in Nazareth, the opening presentation to our online course introduces purpose, credits, and contacts.