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Holy Land Pilgrimage Reading List

The Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (read at least one)

It is said that the land of Israel-Palestine is the “Fifth Gospel” because it allows us to connect so strongly and intimately with the stories of Jesus’ life and the parables he told. We encourage you to read at least one gospel prior to the trip so that you get in mind the arc of Jesus’ life. We laughingly say sometimes that a Holy Land pilgrimage is to “run where Jesus walked” and it may feel like that at times! Nevertheless, we will visit many places that will make the gospels literally come alive for you.

Chosen?, by Walter Brueggermann

Explores the questions that modern day Israel raises for Christians when they read biblical accounts of God’s saving actions with the Israelites. It provides great wisdom on how we can read the Bible in light of the current situation.

The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tolan

In 1967, Bashir Khairi, a twenty-five-year-old Palestinian, journeyed to Israel with the goal of seeing the beloved stone house with the lemon tree behind it that he and his family had fled nineteen years earlier. To his surprise, when he found the house he was greeted by Dalia Eshkenazi Landau, a nineteen-year-old Israeli college student, whose family left fled Europe for Israel following the Holocaust. On the stoop of their shared home, Dalia and Bashir began a rare friendship, forged in the aftermath of war and tested over the next half century in ways that neither could imagine on that summer day in 1967. Sandy Tolan brings the Israeli-Palestinian conflict down to its most human level, demonstrating that even amid the bleakest political realities there exist stories of hope and transformation.

Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour

As a child, Elias Chacour lived in a small Palestinian village in Galilee. When tens of thousands of Palestinians were killed and nearly one million forced into refugee camps in 1948, Elias began a long struggle with how to respond. In Blood Brothers, he blends his riveting life story with historical research to reveal a little-known side of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Source, by James Michener

Historical fiction, giving an excellent overview of the sweep of Holy Land history. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world.