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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 626 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FROM A. D. 70] There is no evidence that the earliest Christians' were imbued with the archaeological spirit that interested itself in sites which the Risen Lord had vacated. The site of Golgotha and of the the Holy Sepulchre, of the manger or of the home at Bethany, were to them of no special moment in comparison with the one all-important fact that " Christ was risen." It was not till the clear-cut impress of the events of Christ's life, death and resurrection had with the lapse of years faded from human recollection, that there arose a desire to " seek the living among the dead." The story begins with Helena, mother of Constan- tine the Great, who became fired with zeal to fix definitely the spots where the great events of Christianity had taken place, and in A.D. 326 visited Palestine for the purpose. Helena's pilgrimage was, as might be expected, The Holy attended with complete success. The True Cross Sepulchre. was discovered; and by excavation conducted under Constantine's auspices, the Holy Sepulchre, " contrary to all expectation " as Eusebius naively says, was discovered also (see JERUSALEM; and SEPULCHRE, THE HOLY). The seed thus sown rapidly germinated and multiplied. The stream of pilgrimage to the Holy Land began immediately, and has been flowing ever since. Onwards from A.D. 333, when an anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux visited the " holy places " and left a succinct account of his route and of the sights which came under his notice, we possess a continuous chain of testimony written by pilgrims relating what they beard and saw. It is a pathetic record. No site, no legend, is too impossible for the unquestioning faith of these simple-minded men and women. And by comparing one record with another, we can follow the multiplication of " holy places," and sometimes can even see them being shifted from one spot to another, as the centuries pass. Not one of these devout souls had any shadow of suspicion that, except natural features (such as the Mount of Olives, the Jordan, Ebal, Gerizim, &c.) and possibly a very few individual sites (such as Jacob's well at Shechem), there was not a single spot in the whole elaborate system that could show even the flimsiest evidence of authenticity! The growth and development of " holy sites " can best be illustrated, in an article like the present, by a few figures. The account of the " holy places " seen in Palestine by the Bordeaux pilgrim, just mentioned, occupies twelve pages in the translation of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society (in whose publications the records of these early travellers can most conveniently be studied) : and those twelve pages may be reduced to seven or eight as they are printed with wide margins, and have many footnotes added by the editor. On the other hand the experiences and observations of Felix Fabri, a Dominican monk who came to Palestine about A.D. 1480, occupies in the same series two large volumes of over 60o pages each! 1 This process of development has been illustrated in our own time—a single instance will suffice. In the so-called " Via Dolorosa " is a cave which was opened and planned about 1870. It subsequently became closed and forgotten, houses covering its entrance. In Igo6 it was re-opened, the houses being cleared away, and a hospice for Greek pilgrims erected in place of them. During these works some local archaeologists attempted to penetrate the cave but were driven away by the labourers with curses. At last the hospice was finished and the cave opened for inspection. A pair of stocks was then shown beautifully cut in the rock, where no stocks appeared in the plan of 1870; with a crude painting suspended on the wall above, blasphemously representing the Messiah confined in them! 2 The Franciscans were nominated custodians of the " holy places " by Pope Gregory IX. in 1230. Certain sites have, however, always been held by the Oriental sects, and since 1808, when the Holy Sepulchre church was destroyed by fire, the number of these has greatly increased. Indeed the 19th 1 This comparison is made in full realization of the fact that the Bordeaux record is a dry catalogue, and that Fabri's work is swelled by the miscellaneous gossip and " padding " which makes it one of the most delightful books ever written in the middle ages. 2 See the exposure in the Revue Biblique (the organ of the Dominican school of St Stephen at Jerusalem) for 1907.625 century was disgraced, in Palestine, by a feverish " scramble " for sacred sites, in which the most rudimentary ethics of Christianity were forgotten in the all-mastering desire to oust rival sects and orders. Bribery, fraud, even violence, have in turn been employed to serve the end in view: and churches, chapels and monasteries, most of -them in the worst architectural taste, have sprung up like mushrooms over the surface of the country, and are perpetuating the memory of pseudo-sanctuaries which from every point of view were best relegated to oblivion. The zeal and self-sacrificing devotion which some of these establishments, and their inmates, display, and their noble labours on behalf of the country, its people and its history throw into yet more painful relief the actions and attitudes of some of their fellow-Christians. The authenticity of the " holy places " was first attacked seriously in the 18th century by a bookseller of Altona named Korte; and since he led the way, a steady fire of criticism has been poured at this huge mass of invention. The process of manufacturing new sites, however, continues unchecked. Even the Protestant churches are not exempt from blame in the matter; a small tomb near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem has been fixed upon by a number of English enthusiasts as the true " Holy Sepulchre," an identification for which there is nothing to be said. The monasteries of the Roman communion and their residents were under French protection until the disturbance between Greek and Franciscan monks in the Holy Sepulchre church (Nov. 4, 1901), which arose over the question as to the right to sweep a certain flight of stairs. Stones and other weapons were freely used, and several of the combatants and bystanders were seriously injured. As one result of the subsequent investigations, Latin monks of other countries were assigned to the protection of the consuls of those countries. 3. Colonization.—Down to the time of Mehemet Ali the only foreigners permanently resident in the country were the members of various monastic orders, and a few traders, such as the French merchants of Acre. The first protestant missionaries (those under the London Society for the Promotion of Christianity among the Jews), settled in Jerusalem in 1823; to them is due the inception of the trade in olive-wood articles, invented for the support of their converts. In 1846–1848 a remarkable religious brotherhood (the Britderhaus, founded by Spittler of Basel) settled in Jerusalem: it was originally intended to be a settlement of celibate mechanics that would form a nucleus of mission work to evangelize the world. One of this community was Dr C. Schick, who lived over 5o years in Jerusalem, and made many valuable contributions to its archaeology. In 1849 came the first of several examples that have appeared in Palestine from time to time of that curious product of American religious life—a community of dupes or visionaries led by a prophet or prophetess with claims to divine guidance. The leader in this case was one Mrs Minor, who, came to prepare the land for the expected Second Advent. Her followers quarrelled and separated in 1853. This event is of importance, as it had much to do with the remarkable development of Jewish colonization which is a special feature of the latter part of the history of the 19th century in Palestine. For Mrs Minor, having an interest in the Jewish people, was befriended by Sir Moses Montefiore; after her death her property was placed in charge of a Jew, and later passed into the hands of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. This body in 187o established an agricultural colony for Jews on the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem (" Mikweh Israel "). Another visionary American colony, led by a certain Adams, came in 1866. They brought with them framed houses from America, which are still standing at Jaffa. But the Adamsites suffered from disease and poverty, and lost heart in a couple of years: returning to America, they sold their property to a German community, the Tempelgemeinde, a Unitarian sect led by Messrs Hoffmann and Hardegg who established themselves in Jaffa in 1868. Unlike the ill-fated American communities, these hardy Wurttemberg peasants have flourished in Palestine, and their three colonies—at Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem—are the most important European communities now in the country Since 187o there has been a steady development of Jewish immigration, consisting principally of refugees from countries where anti-Semitism is an important element in politics. Baron de Rothschild has invested large sums in Jewish colonies, but at the commencement of the present century he handed over their administration to the Jewish Colonization Association. Time alone can show how far these colonies are likely to be permanently successful, or how the subtly enervating influence of the climate will affect later generations. 4. Exploration.—Previous to the 19th century the turbulent condition of the country made exploration difficult, and, off the beaten track, impossible. There are many books written by early pilgrims and by more secular travellers who visited the country, which—when they are not devoted to the setting forth of valueless traditions, as is too often the case—give very useful and interesting pictures of the conditions of life and of travel in the country. Scientific exploration does not begin before Edward Robinson, an American clergyman, who, after devoting many years to study to fit himself for the work, made a series of journeys through the country, and under the title of Biblical Researches in Palestine (1841-1856) published his itineraries and observations. His work is marred by the hastiness of his visits and consequent superficiality of his descriptions of sites, and by some rash and untenable identifications: but it is at once a standard and the foundation of all subsequent topographical work in the country. He was worthily followed by Titus Tobler, who in 1853 and later years published volumes abounding in exact observation; and by V. Guerin, whose Description geographique, historique, et archeologique de la Palestine, in 7 vols. (1868-188o), contains an extraordinary mass of material collected in personal travel through the country. In 1864 was founded the Palestine Exploration Fund, under the auspices of which an ordnance survey map of the country was completed (published 1881), and accompanied by volumes containing memoirs on the topography, orography, hydrography, archaeology, fauna and flora, and other details. A similar work east of the Jordan was begun but (1882) stopped by the Ottoman government. The same society initiated the scientific exploration of the mounds of Palestine. In 1891 it excavated Tell el-Hesi (Lachish) ; in 1896-1898 the south wail of Jerusalem; in 1898-r9oo Tell es-Safi (Gath) and some smaller mounds in the Shephelah; all under the direction of Dr F. J. Bliss. In 1902 it began the excavation of Gezer under the direction of R. A. S. Macalister (see GEZER). The example thus set has been followed by French, German and American explorers. The Deutscher Faidstina-Verein was founded in 1878, and under its auspices important surveys have been carried out, especially those of G. Schumacher east of the Jordan; Tell el-Muteseffim (Megiddo) has also been excavated. The Austrian Dr E. Sellin, working independently, has excavated Tell Ta'nuk (Taanach), and in 1907 began work upon the mount of Jericho. An admirable biblical and archaeological school, under the control of the Dominican order, exists at Jerusalem; and German and American archaeological institutions, educational in purpose, are also there established. Valuable work in exploration is annually done by the directors of these schools and by their pupils. Under this head we must not omit to mention A. Musil's investigations of some remote parts of Eastern Palestine, and R. E. Brunnow's great survey of Petra, with part of Moab and Edom.
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