Quotes About the Bible and History

 

Alfred Edersheim

"The Holy Land" in the Time of Christ

"Palestine was to the Rabbis simply "the land," all other countries being summed up under the designation of "outside the land." In the Talmud, even the expression "Holy Land," so common among later Jews and Christians, does not once occur. It needed not that addition, which might have suggested a comparison with other countries; for to the Rabbinist Palestine was not only holy, but the only holy ground, to the utter exclusion of all other countries, although they marked within its boundaries an ascending scale of ten degrees of sanctity, rising from the bare soil of Palestine to the most holy place in the Temple (Chel. i. 6-9). 

But "outside the land" everything was darkness and death. The very dust of a heathen country was unclean, and it defiled by contact. It was regarded like a grave, or like the putrescence of death. If a spot of heathen dust had touched an offering, it must at once be burnt. More than that, if by mischance any heathen dust had been brought into Palestine, it did not and could not mingle with that of "the land," but remained to the end what it had been--unclean, defiled, and defiling everything to which it adhered...

It was to the extreme boundary tracts of "the land," that Jesus had withdrawn from the Pharisees, when they were offended at His opposition to their "blind" traditionalism; and there He healed by the word of His power the daughter of the "woman of Canaan," the intensity of whose faith drew from His lips words of precious commendation (Matt 15:28; Mark 7:29). 

It was chiefly a heathen district where the Saviour spoke the word of healing, and where the woman would not let the Messiah of Israel go without an answer. She herself was a Gentile. Indeed, not only that district, but all around, and farther on, the territory of Philip, was almost entirely heathen. More than that, strange as it may sound, all around the districts inhabited by the Jews the country was, so to speak, fringed by foreign nationalities and by heathen worship, rites, and customs."

 
Alfred Edersheim. "Sketches of Jewish Social Life" (The Vicarage, Loders, Bridport: November, 1876). 

 


Bibliography on Ancient Customs

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
 

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