History Faculty Publications

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publication Source

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).

Inclusive pages




Document Version



The document available for download is the author's accepted manuscript, provided in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving. Permission documentation is on file. To read the version of record, use the provided DOI.

Citation information about the book:

Stephanie Stidham Rogers. American Protestant Pilgrimage to Palestine, 1865–1941. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011. ISBN: 9780739148426.


Oxford University Press





Link to published version

Included in

History Commons