Old Testament Map - The study of Ancient Israel
Raised-relief Old Testament map: an essential didactic tool for learning and teaching Ancient Israel.
The study of Ancient Israel, weather in a scientific orientation or from a religious point of view, cannot do without historical maps of the region. However, it is often not enough to know the map of Ancient Israel or to refer to atlases. In ancient times, people were living and traveling while taking into account geographical and climatic characteristics much more than today. This data usually doesn't appear in regular maps, or appear in a symbolic way. For example, mountains are represented with altimetric lines. This requires a special mental ability and imaginative effort from the map reader in order to create a mental three-dimensional image of the of the country.
The 3D Old Testament map is an example of how map understanding can be made much easier and attractive. In fact, Bible history makes much more sense when one understand the topography of the country. If one refers to the raised-relief Old Testament map, one can easily see that most of major biblical events were directly related to the landscapes and the various climate of the region: the major places referred to in the Pentateuch are situated in the Central Mountain Range: Shehem (Nablus), Beit El, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron. These places were the seat of major Biblical accounts, such as the peregrination of the Forefathers, Jacob's Dream, the Sacrifice of Isaac, and so on. By looking at the 3D Old Testament map one can easily understand why events and population were concentrated in this central part of the country: the central highlands have a temperate climate and a rather high amount of rain which allow for the development of agriculture. Then it's also possible to understand why there is a Desert right next to the Central Mountain Range: all the rain coming from the west has been poured on the mountain so that there is no more humidity in the air when the landscape gets low towards the Jordan Valley. This explains the very dry climate of the Judean Desert and its extreme aridity. This desert at the southern end of Jerusalem has had a strategic importance: it was the fleeing route in the event attacks on Jerusalem coming from the north. All this is obvious in the raised-relief Old Testament map.
Today most people learn with the help of internet. There is indeed a huge amount of information that can be gain form internet, including 3D maps. But all this appears on a screen. There is nothing like a real tangible map, to learn and to teach geography in general, and biblical geography in particular. The raised-relief Old Testament map is therefore an essential didactic tool, that although is not a high tech tool, has the advantages of interactive web maps.
This Old Testament map fits also on the wall in classrooms, in lobbies of school or community centers. The three dimensions as well of its beautiful design makes it attractive to the eyes, hands and heart.