Thursday, 24 April 2008

Tyndale Tech Email: Maps and Geography in Biblical Studies

David Instone-Brewer of Tyndale House does it again! In his latest TynTech Email, he provides us with links to map and geography in biblical studies. Thanks, David, for these excellent resources, which I will be using in my teaching.

Maps & Geography in Biblical Studies

Satellites surround the earth, and Google Earth can zoom in to individual houses. Bible maps have now been adapted to take advantage of this amazing facility, especially the Bible Geocoding project which links 800 places and 10,000 photos.

Traditional maps are still very important, especially for explaining specific events. And photographs bring the places alive, especially when linked to a map. You can even download the BibleMapper and create your own, though to make professional looking maps, I recommend the Accordance Bible Atlas.

There is now no excuse to teach or preach without pictures and maps.

1) Interactive maps & GoogleEarth

If you haven't tried GoogleEarth, download it and expand your horizons. The satellite images are often good enough to identify the car outside your house, but remember, these images are several months old, so don't jump to conclusions.GoogleMaps look similar, but needs no download and there is not so much control.

Two projects have made very good use of these facilities (and more are coming)

Satelite Maps - NExT Bible
12 3D-looking satellite maps with 250 Bible places linked to dictionary entries and to GoogleMaps

GoogleMap links and ready-made satellite photos of all the places named in the Bible maps for each Bible chapter and and 800 place names linked to 10,000 photos and Bible refs

Tip: In GoogleMaps, hover over "Satellite" and tick "show labels", then click on the "MyMaps" tab and tick "Photos from Panoramio"

Even more amazing is the mixing of traditional maps and GoogleEarth at Ancient Jerusalem map overlays for Google Earth -

To use this you need to install GoogleEarth (the "preview" doesn't work well)
Tip: After installing GoogleEarth, here and click on "Open".
In "Places" click on "+" next to "Ancient" or "Modern" and tick one map.
Zoom in (hover over top right of map for the controls) and vary the transparency (the slider in "Places")

Software with templates to create maps with your own annotations. Free registration.

Movie Maps - 90sec flash movies from

MapsOfWar.comImperial History of the Middle East - empires changing since 3000 BC

History of Religions - birth and growth of religions since 3000 BC

A downloadable program linking a photo and description to about 150 places on a satellite map(useful if you have an intermittent web connection)

2) Traditional maps & powerpoint maps

50 simple but good-looking maps with large text for OT, NT

300 historical maps and charts from atlases and the Yale University Map Collection

Historical & Cultural Atlas - Oregon University
30 clear maps for historical background of surrounding countries

Basic information is displayed at the top when you click on a place-name.

50 maps collected by the producers of the wonderful Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman world (which, unfortunately, is not available on the web, even as a subscription site. A great pity!).

600 places with links to articles or websites. It is also worth checking their Pleiades ancient place names project, which is slowly growing, and will be a wonderful resource.

Historical Maps of the Middle East - Univisity of Texas60 high resolution scans of mostly early 20th C maps (plus modern CIA maps of the Middle East)

Maps of the Roman Empire - LacusCurtiusDetailed older maps with Roman place names linked to Pliny's Natural History. Not finished yet, but it will be a wonderful resource when it is.

Ancient Maps of Jerusalem - University of Southern Maine30 mostly 12th C - 19th C, as high-resolution scans with useful commentary.

Jerusalem in Old Maps - Israel Ministry 14 maps in a chronological survery with useful commentary. Small images.

Lists of individual maps or small collections on various websites

3) Photos of places & archaeology

2900 photos listed by site, with very useful descriptions

6000 photos well organised with very helpful descriptions. Free 400px previews.

Archaeological sites in the Middle East - Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
1200 photos of archaeological sites labelled merely with a place name.

500 photos of archaeological remains, labelled by place and objects.

200 locations with photographic essays. Good preparation for a visit.

7 sites each with many photos and some videos. Hint.

If you aren't using many pictures, wait till the latter half of your teaching, and then wake them up with a map and some photos.

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