American Historical Review
Stephanie Stidham Rogers examines American Protestant tourism in Palestine from 1865, when travel to the Middle East from the United States began to take off, until the onset of World War II. Using thirty-five pilgrimage narratives as the basis of her study—and it would have been helpful to have a separate and annotated bibliographical section for these narratives—Rogers discusses how American Protestant visitors were troubled by the poverty and filth, dismayed by the ubiquity of Catholic and Orthodox shrines, and outraged by the role of Muslims in administering Christian holy sites. In response, these pilgrims worked “to create a Holy Land that was more biblical, or more Protestant” (p. 4). By the end of the nineteenth century, this vision of biblical Palestine occupied an important place in American Protestantism, with the frequent inclusion of Holy Land maps and photographs of Palestine in Bibles (in contrast with Rogers’s book, which contains neither maps nor photographs), and with the emergence of biblical archaeology as a field of study. Most remarkably, American Protestants came to understand this “invented” Holy Land as a “fifth gospel” that gave Protestants “a way to skip centuries of ecclesiastical corruption and excess ... to return to the basic, original, and undeniable truths of the Gospel” (p. 32).
Copyright © 2012, William Vance Trollinger Jr. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association. All rights reserved.
Oxford University Press
Trollinger, William Vance, "Review: 'Inventing the Holy Land: American Protestant Pilgrimage to Palestine, 1865–1941'" (2012). History Faculty Publications. 39.