Sacred Land: Common Ground? A YDS-sponsored travel seminar to the Holy Land

Yale Divinity School is hosting a 14-day travel seminar to the Holy Land March 4-17, led by Dean Harold Attridge, an expert in Hellenistic Judaism and the history of the early church.  Space is limited, and registration is now open.

TravelThe trip begins in Bethlehem with a visit to Manager Square and the Church of the Nativity and ends with a festive dinner in Jaffa’s Old City.  In between, travelers will explore numerous historic sites and meet with Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders. The trip includes a study curriculum that will address both ancient history and contemporary issues in the Holy Land.

“Participants in the seminar, ‘Sacred Land: Common Ground?’ will both visit the places associated with tradition and scripture, as well as discover contemporary realities by meeting with the people/faith communities now living there,” said Attridge.

“Unique to this seminar is a program that blends study of the ancient sites and contemporary struggles for a richer understanding of both realities and how they intertwine.”

A centerpiece of the 14-day seminar will be three days in Jerusalem during which participants will explore the city’s rich history as well as contemporary realities for Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  Highlights of the Jerusalem segment include:

JEWISH A visit to the Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book to explore the history of the Jewish people followed by a visit to the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem and a look at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Meetings with Jewish religious as well as Israeli academic and political leaders to learn about Israel’s diverse religious and political life and to hear them describe their aspirations for the future.

MUSLIM A visit to the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. Meetings with leading Muslim religious and academic leaders to better understand the diversity of Muslim life as well as to hear their understandings and hopes for the future.

CHRISTIAN Worship in historic churches and a tour of the Church of All Nations commemorating the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives. A visit to ministries and outreach programs of churches and ecumenical organizations including projects of Catholic Relief Services and the Lutheran World Federation.  Meetings with leaders for mission efforts in education, healthcare and development in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Meetings with Palestinian leaders, Christian and Muslim, to learn about the nation-building that is under way and hopes for the future.

Among the other cities and sites the travel seminar will visit are:

  • Tomb of the Patriarchs (Hebron)
  • Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall (Jerusalem)
  • Judean Desert
  • Dead Sea
  • Caves at Qumran
  • Hisham’s Palace (Jericho)
  • St. Peter’s House (Capernaum)
  • Golan Heights
  • Haifa
  • Caesarea Maritima

The trip begins and ends at Newark Airport in New Jersey.  In Israel, participants arrive and depart from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.

A full brochure for the trip, and online registration, are available at, with reference to G# 120309.  The seminar is limited to 30 participants. 

Posted: 10/03/2011

Revised: 10/04/2011