The Impact of ‘Biblical Orientalism’ in Late Nineteeth- and Early Twentieth-Century Palestine

Lorenzo Kamel

Abstract: ‘Biblical Orientalism’ can be defined as a phenomenon based on the combination of a selective use of religion and a simplifying way to approach its natural habitat: the ‘Holy Land’. Between the 1830s and the beginning of the 20th century this attitude triggered a flood of mainly British books, private diaries and maps. Over time this enormous production, accompanied by a wide range of phenomena such as evangelical tourism, did instill the idea of a ‘meta-Palestine’, an imaginary place devoid of any history except that of Biblical magnificence. This has had various relevant consequences. The present article aims to deconstruct this perception by observing the process through which a local complex reality has been simplified and denied in its continuity.

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