Friday, December 03, 2010

My Favorite (Old) Travel Resources

Last month I pointed readers to a potentially great deal on a Logos Bible Software collection of works of early explorers.  That offer is still available and accepting bids, but I commented at the time that an even better collection could be created.  What are the best resources by 19th-century explorers of Palestine?  Below is what I suggest would be a dream collection.

Burckhardt, John Lewis. 1822 Travels in Syria and the Holy Land. London: John Murray.

Clermont-Ganneau, Charles. 1896 Archaeological Researches in Palestine During the Years 1873-1874. 2 vols. London: Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund.

Conder, Claude R. 1878 Tent Work in Palestine. 2 vols. London: Richard Bentley & Son.

Conder, Claude R. 1889 Palestine. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company.

Dalman, Gustaf. 1935 Sacred Sites and Ways: Studies in the Topography of the Gospels, trans. Paul

P. Levertoff. New York: Macmillan. [This work is more recent than the others but uniquely valuable and out of copyright, I believe.]

Lynch, W. F. 1849 Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard.

MacGregor, John. 1870 The Rob Roy on the Jordan, Nile, Red Sea, & Gennesareth, Etc.: A Canoe Cruise in Palestine and Egypt, and the Waters of Damascus, 2nd ed. London: John Murray.

Porter, J. L. 1882 The Giant Cities of Bashan and Syria’s Holy Places. London: T. Nelson and Sons.

Robinson, Edward and Eli Smith. 1841 Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petrea: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838. 3 vols. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.  [This is probably the most important work in this list.]

Robinson, Edward and Eli Smith. 1871 Later Biblical Researches in Palestine, and in the Adjacent Regions: A Journal of Travels in the Year 1852, 2nd ed. Boston: Crocker & Brewster.

Rogers, Mary Eliza. 1867 Domestic Life in Palestine. Cincinnati: Poe & Hitchcock.  [Not as well known, but a fascinating read!  It has recently been reprinted.]

Smith, George Adam. 1909 The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. 26th ed. New York: A. C. Armstrong and Son. [This is a classic.]

Thomson, William M. 1880 The Land and the Book. Vol. 1: Southern Palestine and Jerusalem. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Thomson, William M. 1882 The Land and the Book. Vol. 2: Central Palestine and Phoenicia. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Thomson, William M. 1885 The Land and the Book. Vol. 3: Lebanon, Damascus, and Beyond Jordan. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Tristram, Henry Baker. 1868 The Natural History of the Bible: Being a Review of the Physical Geography, Geology, and Meteorology of the Holy Land, with a Description of Every Animal and 
Plant Mentioned in Holy Scripture, 2nd ed. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

1874 The Land of Moab. London: John Murray. [This is in the current Logos offering.]
Twain, Mark. 1869 The Innocents Abroad. Hartford: American Publishing.

Wilson, Charles, ed. 1881 Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt. 4 vols. London: J. S. Virtue & Co.

[This has been published in non-Logos format at]

I have excluded works specifically on Jerusalem from this list, as those would make up their own collection.  Also the size and challenge of digitizing another would surely necessitate a separate collection:

Conder, Claude R. and H. H. Kitchener. 1882 The Survey of Western Palestine, 11 volumes. London:

The Committee of the Palestine Exploration Fund. [For a list of volumes, see here.  A reprint edition now sells for about $4,000.  We have produced electronic editions of the maps and index.]

Two final comments: (1) All of the resources listed above were used extensively in the creation of the annotations in the American Colony and Eric Matson Collection.  (2) A Logos representative read my previous post and contacted me for this list.  I am hopeful that they will catch the vision and bring back these rare and valuable works for our and future generations.



  • Todd,

    Thanks for putting this list together. I have one question and one comment.
    Question: Is there significance to the editions/years you give for these volumes?, or is that what you happen to have on hand?
    Comment: For those of us who can’t make financial contributions to Logos (or any other vendor, for that matter), I did a quick check of most of the titles on your list, and all of them, or nearly all of them, can be downloaded from or Google Books. I did not always see the same year/edition that you give, however—hence my question.


    By Blogger A.D. Riddle, at Fri Dec 03, 07:54:00 AM  

  • I should correct what I said before--
    you can't get the SWP maps from Google Books.

    By Blogger A.D. Riddle, at Fri Dec 03, 08:01:00 AM  

  • A.D. - thanks for checking Google Books. The thought crossed my mind as I went to post this that I should check and add links, but I think that's a job for another week or another person.

    I don't think the years/editions are usually significant. G.A. Smith had 26 editions but I think any would work (with the exception of tracking down citations). Some years ago I was working on digitizing Edward Robinson's volumes and I saw that Google Books had some strange editions, with three volumes in two and the like. For reference purposes, I think it's much better to use his original 3-volume work (1841). As for his supplementary volume, I don't know the differences between the first and second edition. (BTW, the Robinson project died and will probably not be resurrected.)

    I find Logos editions to be significantly easier to use and thus worth some (reasonable) expense. Maybe some day when you are gainfully employed...

    By Blogger Todd Bolen, at Fri Dec 03, 08:15:00 PM  

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