Biblical Archaeology Review 37:4, July/August 2011

Strata: Exhibit Watch

Through September 12, 2011
J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa
Malibu, California

In Search of Biblical Lands: From Jerusalem to Jordan in 19th-Century Photography takes visitors on a journey back through time to explore some of the earliest photographs of the Holy Land.

Taken between the 1840s and 1900s, the exhibit’s photographs feature many of the Biblical sites that captured the imagination of 19th-century travelers to the Holy Land, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Petra and, of course, the storied monuments and holy places of Jerusalem. The exhibit, however, also showcases photographs that portrayed the humble reality of contemporary life in Palestine and gradually altered the idealized landscape of the Bible that was imagined by many Westerners.

The early photographs illustrate just how much Jerusalem and other sites have changed in the past century and a half. In this 1870s photograph of the so-called “Pools of Hezekiah,” an ancient Herodian-era reservoir located just south of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the church’s large gray dome is seen in the background), the pool is filled with water. Today the area is an empty lot surrounded by modern buildings.

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