“Students of the Bible desire to see a background and to feel an atmosphere; to discover from ‘the lie of the land’ why the history took certain lines and the prophecy and gospel were expressed in certain styles.” So says the preface to the first edition of George Adam Smith’s The Historical Geography of the Holy Land (see later). These and other aspects of geography and topography, and some issues relating to their significance for biblical interpretation, will be the focus of this article. Matters such as climate and flora and fauna are, of course, important, but for reasons of space what follows will concentrate on the physical geography. Only brief mention can be made of the significance of the availability of water; settlement was possible close to water sources or in areas where water storage and irrigation were possible. Travel routes were governed by the contours of the land and the presence of valleys. Towns might develop where there was good access to roads, or to guard strategic points such as crossroads or passes; for example the significance of Megiddo owed much to its location (2 Kgs 23:29; Rev 16:16).

The attempt to understand the Bible better by relating its contents to their geographical setting in the southern Levant in particular, and in the wider ancient Near Eastern and East Mediterranean milieu, is no recent phenomenon. It was for this reason that Jerome, at the end of the fourth or early fifth century C.E., translated into Latin (under the title Liber de situ et nominibus locorum hebraicorum) the Greek Onomasticon, compiled by the historian Eusebius early in the fourth century C.E. The rather different needs of early pilgrims, wishing to walk “in the footsteps of Jesus,” and Crusaders, wishing to free holy places, kept alive an interest in such locations, and accounts of their travels have been preserved.

The nineteenth century witnessed a notable expansion of interest. A significant contribution was made by Edward Robinson’s publication of the accounts of his travels in Palestine and neighboring regions in 1838 and in 1852. The establishment of the Palestine Exploration Fund in 1865 enabled a major development in the study of the topography of the southern Levant. In 1871, under its auspices, Captains Kitchener and Conder of the Royal Engineers were sent to survey the land, and gather geographical, archaeological, and natural-historical data relevant to the Bible. They surveyed the region to the west of the Jordan and recorded the names of many ancient sites, describing such physical remains as were visible, and attempting to identify them with sites mentioned in the Bible. Then, in 1894, came the landmark (in more senses than one) publication of George Adam Smith’s classic The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. In subsequent years other works on geography, and numerous atlases of the Bible have appeared, and it has become common-place for Bibles to include a set of maps to aid the reader.

The Settings of Stories, Songs, and Speeches.

Stories are often set in a particular location. In some works of fiction, where the setting too is entirely imaginary, a map is provided to help the readers to follow the story. Those who write “historical” novels conduct research in order to provide an accurate geographical setting, again perhaps with a map, even if the actual contents are primarily fictional. Many legends are given geographical settings, although their precise locations are the subject of argument: Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, King Arthur at Camelot. Historiographers who recount the stories of those they understand as real people, and the events associated with them, often do so with reference to the geographical settings of the activities described. Therefore it is important for the readers of stories to have an awareness of their geographical setting. Even in the context of myth, where the term “geographical” may not be strictly accurate, gods live on mountains, in the sea, in the underworld, and so forth, and their activities take them from place to place. If this is true of stories in general, it is certainly true of those in the Bible, and it is important to stress that the provision of a geographical setting, or even a map, is not in itself an indication of historicity. But they provide a context in which a story is to be read, and it is likely that the writers provided such information to help the reader or hearer to understand. The point also needs to be made that not all sites can be identified with certainty, as the number of question marks on the maps in some atlases indicates, for example in charting the supposed route of the Exodus.

The setting of stories in particular locations is not simply to enable the reader to follow the movement of the characters, though this can certainly aid interpretation. However, it can also be fraught with difficulties. Any attempt to follow the route of the Exodus soon runs into problems, such as where Moses and his followers were envisaged as having crossed the “sea,” and which sea it was (the “Red Sea” as was traditionally understood, or the “Reed Sea,” a more accurate translation of the Hebrew phrase), and the fact that most of the places mentioned on their journey (including Mount Sinai) cannot be located with certainty. (The identification of biblical Mount Sinai with Jebel Musa, in the southern part of what is now known as the Sinai Peninsula, can only be traced back with certainty to the fourth century C.E. Some have suggested alternative locations, for example on the basis of the assumption that the phenomena described in Exodus 19:16–19 imply that the mountain was a volcano and so must have been in a region of volcanic activity. But it is more likely that the phenomena are those related to a theophany and hence need not be associated with an active volcano. Perhaps those who passed on the story of the Exodus and the journey through the wilderness were not so much concerned to provide an itinerary as to underline the length and tortuous nature of the wanderings and the importance for later generations of an encounter with God in such circumstances. It may be more straightforward (though not entirely without problems) to trace the approximate routes of Paul’s missionary journeys on the basis of information in Acts and the Epistles, and thereby gain a better understanding of aspects of the early spread of Christianity.

It is not simply a matter of routes. A frequently cited instance is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37), where knowledge of the terrain through which the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes adds significantly to the appreciation of the story. And this does not only apply to narratives. The beginning of the Book of Amos (Amos 1—2) becomes much more meaningful when read with an awareness of the geographical locations of the places mentioned. The prophet’s declaration of God’s judgment begins with places some distance away―Damascus, Gaza, and Tyre—moves closer with its references to the Transjordanian kingdoms of Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and then closer still to the southern neighbor Judah. Eventually, and inexorably, the judgment reaches Israel itself. To stay with the Book of Amos, the question, “Do two walk together unless they have made an appointment?” (Amos 3:2) implies the perspective of someone used to the countryside; in towns, people would often meet without appointment. And Amos’s encounter with the priest Amaziah at Bethel takes on additional meaning when it is remembered that a southerner from Judah has crossed the border into the northern kingdom, Israel, and this Judahite sheep-breeder is daring to challenge the Israelite royal court and royal sanctuary.

Moving to poetry, to the person who knows Jerusalem with its temple, royal buildings, and fortifications, the psalmists’ songs of Zion become a vehicle of praise to the God who dwells there. No wonder those geographically removed, “by the rivers of Babylon” (Ps 137:1), wept when required to sing such a song. Understanding their setting helps the reader to appreciate their grief. One of the interpretative issues arising from Psalms 42—43 is the nature of the psalmist’s distress and how the apparent geographical allusions are to be understood. Does Psalm 42:6 refer to the region of Mount Hermon and the sources of the Jordan, suggesting that the psalmist is physically far removed from Jerusalem and its longed-for temple worship and great festivals? Or is it perhaps that the impossibility of attendance at worship (perhaps because of uncleanness through sickness or some crime having been committed) is being likened to being geographically cut off? Either way, a geographical awareness aids interpretation.

Scriptural Settings.

It is not necessary to read many pages of the Bible before geography is encountered. After the great opening account of God’s creative activity at the very beginning of Genesis there is a rather more down-to-earth creation story that is provided with what can appropriately be called a geographical setting. The writer locates the story in a type of place (a garden), in a region that has a name (Eden), and which, from the perspective of the storyteller, is in the east (Gen 2:8). Nowadays very few would seek to locate Eden on a world map, but it is clear that the story does reflect a geographical interest, even if that is not its main concern, though it has been suggested that the writer may be indicating an awareness of the development of civilization further to the east. There is also a geographical interest in the description of the river that flowed out of Eden, its four “branches,” and where they flowed (Gen 2:10–14). To this day, commentators on Genesis will use the clues provided to try to identify the actual rivers they believe the writer has in mind. At the other end of the Christian Bible, the Book of Revelation, after a brief introduction, witnesses a geographical interest in addressing the seven churches of Asia, with their named locations (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea). This helps the reader to appreciate the extent of the area being addressed and so also the spread of the church in Asia Minor. But details are also potentially important. The description of the church at Laodicea as being lukewarm, and neither cold not hot (Rev 3:15–16) is thought to allude to the fact that neighboring cities had hot springs (Hierapolis to the north) and cold springs (Colossae to the south). Later there is a description of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:1022:5)—a place which could not be located on a map, but an awareness of what Jerusalem was actually like would enhance the realization of how different the New Jerusalem would be.

In between these biblical “bookends” is material of a great variety of genres and types of setting. Soon after the account of the garden of Eden, the stories are given a geographical setting, which can more easily be related to what is known of the ancient world, for example Abraham’s epic journey from Ur to Canaan. That those who passed on the story of Abraham saw geography as relevant to their purpose is indicated in a number of ways. Abraham’s home, and the starting point of his journey, is identified as Ur “of the Chaldeans” (Gen 11:31), an anachronistic designation, which was probably intended to convey geographical rather than ethnic information, making it clear to later readers that this city of Ur was located in southern Mesopotamia. The passing reference to the fact that the journey was via Haran, where they settled for a while, tells the reader with a knowledge of geography that they followed the River Euphrates in a north-westerly direction before heading south, as would have been necessary for those with flocks and herds, travelling round much of what was to become known as the Fertile Crescent. But when the story becomes more focussed on Abraham’s travels within Canaan, the writer is at pains to tell the reader that Abraham “journeyed on by stages towards the Negeb” (Gen 3:9) and to mention several of the stopping places where he built altars.

This prompts the question of the extent to which stories such as this are in any sense “historical” in that they describe actual events and real people. The issue has been and continues to be much debated. Of course the answer will vary depending on the particular story. But it may be less important or appropriate to ask whether something happened, than to consider whether a story is given a real geographical setting and, if so, whether it is possible to use a knowledge of geography and topography to illuminate the story and understand more about why it was told. The detailing of Abraham’s altar-building activities may be important for bringing certain sites into the ambit of Israel and its sanctuaries (see later on Aetiology and Etymology). The story of Abraham’s apparent willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1–14) is often held up as an example of obedience. But what greater example of obedience could there be than that of an Abraham who was willing to travel the length of the known world in response to God’s call! Here we are perhaps beginning to think of theological geography, something to be considered further later.

It has been suggested that, if a story has preserved accurate information about the geographical context in which it is set, surely it may have preserved accurately the details of the people about whom and the events about which the stories are told. Given that that is sometimes the case, then surely the Bible can be seen as a reliable historical source. This is to overlook the fact that different types of material can be given geographical settings. Nevertheless it can be helpful for the reader to have an awareness of the world in which the biblical narratives are set—the context against which the text is to be read.

Ancient Mapping.

A number of factors need to be taken into account when considering apparently geographical statements in the Bible, not least that of the geographical awareness of those who made the statements and the extent to which the intention was to pass on information which was purely geographical. So it will be appropriate to look for evidence of geographical awareness and to note some issues which arise from such evidence as there is.

Unlike some modern story tellers, the biblical writers did not supply maps to accompany or illustrate the stories they told. But two extra-biblical examples can appropriately be noted. There is in the British Museum an intriguing little clay tablet, dating from about 600 B.C.E., which contains a diagram which might be termed a “map,” purporting to depict the world as then known. At the center is the city of Babylon on the River Euphrates; the Persian Gulf is shown as a river encircling the land, and beyond it are mysterious places far distant from Babylon. The “map” was intended to illustrate an account of the military campaigns of king Sargon of Akkad in the latter half of the third millennium B.C.E. Dating from significantly later, but still relatively early, is the Madaba Map, so called because it was discovered toward the end of the nineteenth century, in a Byzantine Church at Madaba in Transjordan, probably dating from the sixth century C.E. The mosaic floor of this church represents a relatively early attempt to map the lands of the Bible. Of particular interest is the fact that the map includes a representation of the city of Jerusalem, and shows several details of the city as it was at the time, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other churches, streets lined with columns, and the city’s walls and gates. The “map” includes a number of biblical quotations, and it has made a significant contribution to our knowledge of the topography of the region. Such early maps are a rarity, but they do point to a geographical awareness that perhaps goes beyond a concern merely to locate places, in that they indicate the special status of Babylon and Jerusalem.

The Madaba Map also alerts us to the issue of the geographical perspective of ancient sources, in that it has an east-west orientation. It is all too easy for the modern reader to assume the customary north-south perspective. The significance of this can be illustrated with reference to discussions as to whether Qumran, the site associated with the Dead Sea Scrolls, was an Essene community. Pliny the Elder (23/24–79 C.E.), in Book V of his work Natural History, says that “below the Essenes was the town of Engedi.” A modern reader, assuming a north-south orientation, might naturally read this statement as implying that Engedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea, lay to the south of the Essene settlement. This would be true if the reference is to Qumran. But Pliny’s words could be understood as locating the Essene settlement in the hills above Engedi.

Maps in Words.

Although the biblical writers have not left us maps in the sense of plans or diagrams, there are a number of passages which might be said to present verbal maps. The so-called “Table of the Nations” in Genesis 10 purports to be a list of the descendants of the sons of Noah after the flood. But what soon emerges is that many of the individuals named are actually nations or peoples, for example the immediate descendants of Ham are listed as Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan (Gen 10:6). There is sometimes an indication of where they lived (for example in vv. 19 and 30), and the chapter ends with the statement: “These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood” (Gen 10:32). The whole chapter represents an attempt to “map” the ancient world, thereby providing the context in which the stories of Abraham and his descendants are about to be set.

A rather different type of verbal map is to be found in the book of Joshua, whose opening chapters recount stories such as that of the battle of Jericho but much of whose latter part, prior to Joshua’s farewell discourses, comprises lists, particularly of towns and of boundaries. These are presented as the allocations of land to the various tribes after the land had been captured. The origins of these lists are uncertain, but it is likely that they reflect some ancient attempt to define boundaries and territorial possessions. They also show that the biblical narrators, or those responsible for the sources upon which they may have been drawing, were aware of how parts of the land related to others geographically. But here again the significance goes beyond the delineation of territories and the location of towns. Above all, in their canonical context, they now serve a theological function in that they show how God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants (that they would have a land in which to dwell) was fulfilled. Here were the details of the land whose original possession proved that God’s promises had been fulfilled. And perhaps they served as a word of hope to later generations who had lost the land; this was what they might regain if only they were obedient like Abraham (and Joshua).

Very different again is the verbal map presented at the end of the book of Ezekiel. Chapter 48 envisages a future land of Israel, restored to its maximum extent after the successive destructions of the northern kingdom (Israel) by the Assyrians and the southern kingdom (Judah) by the Babylonians, and the subsequent exile in Babylon. The sections of the land are arranged in a highly schematic fashion. The tribes are allocated successive latitudinal (“from the east side to the west”) swathes of land, from Dan in the north to Gad in the south. Between the territories allotted to Judah and Benjamin there is to be a “sacred” or “holy” portion, set apart from the rest of the land. And at the very heart of this would lie the Temple. The previous chapter has made a remarkable claim about the future Temple (Ezek 47:1–12). From its threshold there would flow a river whose waters would gradually get deeper and deeper as they flowed eastwards until they reached the Dead Sea, where they would give life to its waters, enabling fish to live there and plant life to flourish around its shores. An awareness of the actual geography, in particular the nature of the Dead Sea, enables the reader to understand the significance of the bold theological claim being made in these chapters. God’s temple in Jerusalem will be at the heart of God’s land and be a source of life in the most remarkable way, made possible by the sort of God who can bring to life a whole valley of dry bones (Ezek 37:1–14).

Theological Geography.

The clear theological significance of Ezekiel’s presentation of a restored Israel raises the fact that there are many biblical statements and descriptions that purport to be geographical or topographical but whose primary purpose is in fact theological. Mention has already been made of God’s promise to Abraham. The wording of that promise, which included the statement that to his descendants would be given territory stretching from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen 15:18) should be read as a piece of hyperbole, an expression of the idea of a “Promised Land” akin to the type of picture presented by Ezekiel.

In the shaping of the accounts of the life of Jesus in the Gospel narratives, some apparently geographical indications may have a greater theological significance. In Mark, all of Jesus’s early ministry is set in Galilee. The pivotal point, halfway through Mark’s account, is Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 8:27–30). This incident is located in Caesarea Philippi, in the far northernmost part of the land. Thereafter Jesus begins his journey from the remotest point to the religious heart of the land, Jerusalem, and to his death. Luke’s Gospel too presents the life of Jesus as a journey on which the disciples follow their master, an idea, which accords with the Lucan description of Christianity as “the Way,” mentioned a number of times in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 24:14, 22).

An awareness of the actual geography and topography enables some apparently geographical statements about Jerusalem, and Mount Zion in particular, to be appreciated as theological. Although Psalm 46 does not actually name Jerusalem, it is probably implied by “city of God” in verse 4. Here the city is associated with a river with streams. The small stream emerging from the Gihon spring hardly fits this description. This raises the possibility that the depiction may owe something to the tradition of the river, which flowed out of the Garden of Eden and split into four branches, one of which is actually named as Gihon (Gen 2:10–14). Jerusalem is perhaps being likened in some way to Eden. In Psalm 48:1–3, reference is made to Zion, but appears to suggest (though translations vary) that Zion was located “in the far north” (so NRSV). But this does not make sense geographically. The Hebrew word for “north” (ṣāpôn) may derive from the name of Mount Zaphon (modern Jebel el-Aqra in Syria) which, according the texts from Ras Shamra, (ancient Ugarit, a city on the coast of modern Syria, whose Late Bronze Age texts provide perhaps the best source of evidence we have of the religious beliefs of the Canaanites), was the dwelling place of the gods and where Baal had his palace. The psalmist is probably not giving us geographical information about the location of Mount Zion, but claiming it as, or likening it to, the divine abode. The oracle preserved in Isaiah 2:2 and Micah 4:1, albeit speaking about the future, envisages “the mountain of the LORD’s house” (i.e., Zion) as becoming “the highest of the mountains” and “raised above the hills.” Those familiar with the topography of Jerusalem will realize that Zion is in fact overlooked by higher hills such as Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives. But what is envisaged is not a geographical upheaval but a theological transformation.

Another possible, though rather more speculative, example of a type of theological geography is perhaps to be found in the way some of the Gospel writers, Matthew in particular, tell the story of the life of Jesus in such a way as to demonstrate that what had come to be regarded as messianic prophecies had been fulfilled. So Jesus’s birth had to be presented as, or else stressed as being, in Bethlehem (rather than Nazareth) so that the prophecy of Micah could be seen to have been fulfilled (Mic 5:2; compare Matt 2:6). It was necessary for Matthew to present Jesus as having been taken to Egypt. “This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son’” (Matt 2:15; compare Hos 11:1 where the allusion is reasonably certainly to Israel and the Exodus tradition). Such statements become claims about Jesus’s messiahship.

The Navel of the Earth?

In the context of theological geography, mention should also be made of the possibility that, within the Bible, there are a few hints at a belief that Israel, or some location in Israel―perhaps Jerusalem―was the “navel” or very center of the world. In the Book of Ezekiel, the Israelites are described as those “who live at the center of the earth” (Ezek 38:12). The Hebrew word translated “center” here is ṭabbûr, and in the Greek translation, the Septuagint, the word used is omphalos, i.e., “navel.” Elsewhere in the book of Ezekiel, Jerusalem is claimed to have been placed “in the center of the nations” (Ezek 5:5), and this idea is preserved in some later sources (for example, in the book of Jubilees 8:19). The Jewish historian Josephus (first century C.E.) says of Jerusalem in his Jewish War Book III, that “some have quite appropriately called her the navel of the country.” (It is noteworthy that the placing of Jerusalem at the center persisted in later mapmaking; see for example the famous medieval Mappa Mundi in Hereford Cathedral, thought to date from about 1300 C.E.)

Geographical Aetiology and Etymology.

Reference was made earlier to the fact that, in the account of Abraham’s travels in Genesis 12, the text notes several of the stopping places where he built altars, including Shechem. Archaeology suggests that the sanctuary at Shechem dates back to the Middle Bronze Age and that it was a feature of the Late Bronze Age city. But Genesis 12:6–7 relates that God appeared there to Abraham, who marked the theophany by erecting an altar. This raises another probable feature of a number of biblical stories, not unrelated to the idea of theological geography. They seem to have been preserved principally to explain why a particular place was a holy place, and (in some instances) why it was given its particular name. A good example of a story, which combines both of those elements, and perhaps adds another, is that of Jacob at Bethel (Gen 28:10–22). It accounts for why Bethel was an Israelite holy place, by explaining that God had revealed himself there to the ancestor Jacob/Israel. It explains the place’s name as originating from Jacob’s realization that it was “none other than the house of God;” in Hebrew, Bethel means “house of God,” but it is likely that the name actually reflects the fact that originally it was a temple of El, the head of the Canaanite pantheon. The story may also explain a feature of the sanctuary at Bethel, a standing stone—Jacob’s so-called pillow. So the example of Bethel suggests that in part the purpose may be to bring much older sanctuaries into the sphere of Israelite worship. But above all the place was holy because God had appeared there. Such stories come into the category of aetiology.

Aetiologies are stories that explain how something came to be as it was, or (in the case of etymological aetiologies) why someone, somewhere, or something was given a particular name. There are many such in the Bible, though not all have any geographical or topographical association. However a number do relate to places or features. It used to be argued that the presence of an aetiological element almost automatically rendered a story unhistorical, but this not a necessary corollary. The story of how there came to be a temple in Jerusalem is of a somewhat different order from that of how there came to be a tower in Babel. But with many such stories the interpretation will see them primarily as attempts to provide an explanation for a feature of the landscape or a structure, and/or its name, and relate it to an incident or person of the sacred (or not-so-sacred) past.

The first half of the book of Joshua contains several such stories and it is not always clear whether they refer to some natural feature of the landscape or to a human-made structure. Joshua is said to have set up twelve stones at Gilgal, to mark the crossing of the Jordan (Josh 4:1–9). Here the story seems to be intended to explain two things: the presence of a stone circle, and why the place was so-called (Gilgal may mean “circle;” though there is a different explanation of the name in Joshua 5:9, connecting it with a verb meaning “to roll.”) But what about the “great heap of stones” mentioned in Joshua 7:25—6, purporting to be those with which Achan was stoned? Are these natural or the result of human activity? Both accounts end with the type of phrase found in many aetiological stories, that the feature remains “to this day”―presumably an invitation to the reader to check the veracity of what has been claimed. In Joshua 5:2–7, the place name Gibeath-haaraloth (“hill of the foreskins”) is explained by recalling how there Joshua had circumcised the sons of the generation that had come out of Egypt. A significant example of a double explanation of a place name is to be found in the story of the digging of the wells at Beersheba (Gen 21:22–34). To mark an agreement between Abraham and Abimelech confirming that Abraham had dug the wells, Abraham set aside seven lambs, and they swore an oath. The name Beersheba could mean “well of seven” or “well of an oath.” The preservation of this story may have had another important aetiological function―that of establishing the ownership rights over an important oasis on the edge of the wilderness. A geographical awareness of the location of Beersheba helps to underline the significance of these traditions.

Geographical Perspectives.

Much of the material in the Bible purports to give accounts of past events, of people, of what things they had said or what deeds they had done, and very often where they had said or done these things. This is particularly true of narrative material, but many other types of literature, such as prophetic oracles against foreign nations, or epistles written to new churches, may actually allude to or presuppose geographical settings and topographical knowledge. To appreciate the geographical and topographical perspectives of the ancient authors and the settings into which they placed their material is to give the interpreter a deeper understanding of the message these writers and thinkers sought to convey.

[ See also DEAD SEA SCROLLS; DIACHRONIC INTERPRETATION; GRECO-ROMAN CONTEXT; HISTORICAL CRITICISM, subentry HEBREW BIBLE; and HISTORICAL CRITICISM, subentry NEW TESTAMENT.]

Bibliography

  • Aharoni, Yohanan. The Land of the Bible: a Historical Geography. London: Burns and Oates, 1967. Translated by A. F. Rainey from the Hebrew original, published 1962.
  • Baly, Denis. Geography of the Bible. Rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1974 (first edition published in 1957). A compact version, Basic Biblical Geography, Philadelphia: Fortress was published in 1987.
  • Borowski, Oded. Daily Life in Biblical Times. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.
  • Braybrooke, Marcus (Old Testament author) and James Harpur (New Testament author). The Essential Atlas of the Bible. London: SPCK, 1999.
  • Curtis, Adrian. Oxford Bible Atlas. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007 (hardback); 2009 (slightly revised paperback edition).
  • King, Philip J., and Lawrence E. Stager. Life in Biblical Israel. Louisville, Ky., and London: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
  • Pritchard, James B., ed. The Times Atlas of the Bible. London: Times Books, 1987.
  • Rogerson, John. Atlas of the Bible. Oxford: Phaidon, 1989.
  • Smith, George Adam. The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. London: Hodder and Stoughton, first published in 1891. This work was subsequently provided with supplementary notes, revised, and reprinted in numerous editions.
  • Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn. Sinai and Palestine in Connection with their History. London: John Murray, 1883. George Adam Smith makes a number of references to this earlier work.
  • Tishby, Ariel, ed. Holy Land in Maps. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 2001. A fascinating collection of maps through the ages, from the Madaba Map to satellite images.

Adrian Curtis