Those Holy Fields: Palestine
Library of Alexandria, 28 בספט׳ 2020 - 223 עמודים
A REEF of sharp jagged rocks, over which the surf breaks fiercely, runs parallel with the shore, forming a natural breakwater. Inside the reef the water is smooth enough, but too shallow to admit anything except fishing-boats and small coasting-craft. The harbour has silted up by the sand-drift from Arabian and African deserts, so that steamers and sea-going vessels must anchor outside. Jaffa, a town of four thousand inhabitants, picturesque at a distance, as all Eastern towns are, stands on the slope of a hill and comes close down to the beach. It is encircled by a broad belt of gardens and orange groves. A rich fertile plain stretches for ten or twelve miles inland. Then a range of hills bounds the view. The journey of which a brief account is given in the following pages was undertaken in the early part of 1873. The object of the writer was to compare the Land and the Book, and by an examination of the topography of Palestine to illustrate the histories of Scripture. Had any doubt existed in his own mind as to the veracity of those histories, it must have been dispelled by the minute agreement which he traced between the indications of the narrative and the physical geography of the country. No “fable,” however “cunningly devised,” no myth or legend coming into existence at a later age, could have adapted itself so precisely to the topographical details of the scene. The main design of the present volume has been to trace these coincidences, and thus to elucidate and confirm the biblical narrative. Whilst he has availed himself of all the help he could gain from the writings of former travellers, he has in no case depended upon them, but endeavoured, by a personal and careful inspection of the sites, to arrive at an independent and accurate conclusion.
In the Illustrations, which form so large a part of the present volume, fidelity rather than artistic effect has been aimed at. Many of the engravings are from drawings made on the spot, but a greater number are from photographs. Those of Messrs. Bergheim and Nicodemus of Jerusalem, and Madame Bonfils of Beyrout, have been largely used for this purpose; and the writer desires to express his gratitude for the liberality with which the Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund have placed their admirable series at his disposal.
The Maps are enlarged by permission of Messrs. W. and A. Keith Johnston, from their Royal Atlas Map of Syria, which for correctness and fulness of detail is worthy of the high reputation they have long enjoyed as chartographers.