Last week we began this new series to highlight some new features in the Photo Companion to the Bible. We think this series will benefit both those considering purchasing the collection as well as those who already own it but have not yet seen its full potential.

One of the most useful features, we believe, is the labeling of images to identify significant landmarks on the images. Our practice with labeled slides is to include the image without labels as well so that no details are hidden. (All labels may also be individually modified or deleted.)

The slide above shows the area of Herod’s palace overlaid on top of an aerial view of Jerusalem from the west. I would guess that few visitors realize that Herod’s palace covered a large portion of the modern Armenian Quarter. Though little of his palace is visible today, the “Phasael tower” still stands on the northern side as a testimony to its former greatness.

We particularly love to label panoramas, for we know well how difficult it is for our students to see all that is out there, especially on a day that is hazy or when the sun is in your eyes. The above image was taken from Mount Gerizim overlooking the area where Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. This perspective, with its labels, helps us to see the relationship of the woman’s hometown (Sychar) with the well and other nearby sites of significance.

Tourist buses can be so harmful to understanding the Bible. I wonder how many Christian pilgrims have failed to realize just how close the Mount of Beatitudes is to Heptapegon (Tabgha) and Capernaum. The acoustical wonder known as the “Cove of the Sower” sits right in the midst of all of these!

Our new collection of the Gospels provides a number of illustrations of the Pools of Bethesda, but I’ve chosen to skip the aerial views here and feature one that every visitor sees. Yet the scene is such an archaeological mishmash of ancient, less ancient (Byzantine), and almost modern (Crusader) that most people simply give up and head for the singing in the nearby St. Anne’s Church. The labeled slide above distinguishes the location of the southern pool and central portico (of the New Testament times) from the Byzantine church built on top.
Our last one today is very simple, but quite helpful. You can read the account of Jesus watching the widow drop her mite into the offering (Mark 12:41), but a slide like this makes it clear where all of this activity was going on. The photo above shows the Temple Mount on the first-century model at the Israel Museum, and the Court of the Women is labeled as the location of the temple treasury. (In the notes we credit the Ritmeyers’ guidebook for this identification.)

We have labeled photographs in our Pictorial Library of Bible Lands and Historic Views of the Holy Land collections, but we think they are particularly useful in the context of biblical verses as presented in the Photo Companion to the Bible.