BiblePlaces Newsletter
Vol 11, #1 - May 14, 2012

We promised a major announcement in our next newsletter. That effectively delayed the sending of this newsletter until such a time that we could fulfill our promise.

We are excited to announce the culmination of 9 years of work with the release of the Revised and Expanded edition of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. The previous edition, originally published by Kregel in 2003, comprised 6,000 photographs in 10 volumes. This new edition consists of 18 volumes with nearly 18,000 photographs, adding hundreds of new sites and re-visiting the old favorites.

The website has all the details, but see below for information specific to upgraders as well as several dozen free photos of the beautiful land of Judah.

Todd Bolen

Why Upgrade?

The Revised and Expanded Edition of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands is a major improvement over the previous (2003) edition. The new edition includes more than 13,000 new photos (the previous edition included 6,000 total!) and took nearly a decade to create (all previous editions combined took less than 4 years). We think you'll love it for many reasons:

New volumes: Eight new volumes cover new regions (Lebanon, Eastern and Central Turkey, The Greek Islands, and more) as well as new subjects (Cultural Images, Signs, and Trees, Plants, and Flowers). Our goal for the Pictorial Library has always been to be as comprehensive as possible and we are much closer to achieving that now!

New photos: Every volume has new photos, and some volumes have so many new photos that you'll hardly recognize them. For instance, we added more than 1,000 new images to Jerusalem, more than 1,000 images to Judah and the Dead Sea, and nearly 900 to Samaria and the Center. Of course, we have kept the best photos from the previous editions.

Great photos: The Pictorial Library includes all of the photos that we have used to illustrate the BiblePlaces Blog for the last seven years, all of the photos in the website, and all of the photos featured in ten years of BiblePlaces Newsletters. It also includes thousands of photographs that have been selected for publication in hundreds of resources, including the Archaeological Study Bible, the ESV Bible Atlas, and National Geographic's The Letters and the Scroll. With purchase of the Pictorial Library, you have all of these photos right at your fingertips.

New photographers: The new collection features images from more than 40 photographers, including Todd Bolen, A.D. Riddle, Gloria Suess, Barry Beitzel, Daniel Frese, Craig Dunning, Kim Guess, Enery Hsu, Matt Floreen, William Krewson, Gary Pratico, and David Dorsey.

New identifying labels: You can add your own in PowerPoint, but we've created many of them for you already, especially on aerial and panoramic photographs. You can keep, edit, or delete ours. We predict you will see many things that you would have otherwise missed!

New PowerPoint annotations: All of the new sites and subjects (thousands of them) have explanatory notes and Scripture verses to help you understand what you are looking at. If you took these annotations alone, the content would add up to more than 2,000 pages of text.

New maps: All new original maps have been created so that you can easily identify the location of nearly every site in the Pictorial Library.

New indexes: The Image Index lists every photograph for quick and easy searching. The Site Index provides the primary name for each site as well as alternate names and spellings so that you can quickly find the location of any site you are searching for.

Great value: The upgrade price of $179 gives you the best of the previous editions plus more than double the number of new photos. The upgrade version is exactly the same as the full version ($389) except for the price.

Really GREAT value: With 18 volumes for $179, the cost of a single volume (both the new and the significantly revised ones) comes out to about $10 each. For the new photos alone (13,663), you're paying about 1.3 cents per picture (not counting all of the previous photos, plus the new labels, maps, annotations, etc.!).Cultural Images of the Holy Land

Did we mention GREAT value?: Whether you purchased the collection 9 years or 9 weeks ago, the upgrade price gives you full credit for your previous purchase, no matter where or when you bought it.

Free shipping in the US: We treat you like we want to be treated. No hidden charges that you discover when you go to check out, no surprises when you open the package (well, only good ones!), and no hassles if you want to return or exchange the collection, even years later!

Generous usage allowances: These are the same as always, giving you tremendous freedom in using the images for countless personal and educational purposes.

Ready to upgrade? Click the button below. Have other questions about upgrading? See our Upgrading FAQ. A first-time buyer? Check out the new volumes and discounted prices here.

News from the BiblePlaces Blog...

Weekend Roundup - Excavations, lectures, greed, and vandalism...

Byzantine Quarry with Large Columns Discovered in Jerusalem - A large stone quarry was uncovered west of the Old City...

Cultic Objects Discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa - The artifacts are fascinating, but what they mean is less certain...

Why Bible Geography Matters - Wayne Stiles discusses a subject issue close to my heart...

Why No Esther in the Dead Sea Scrolls? - There are some good reasons for why Esther is the only biblical book not discovered in the writings of the Qumran community...

The Real Indiana Jones - This is not what you expect...

And more...

Featured BiblePlaces Photos:
The Land of Judah

The land of Judah is rich with history, from the lives of the patriarchs to the travels of the fugitive David to the birth of Jesus. Of the 18 volumes in the new Pictorial Library, if we had to choose one volume to represent our collection, we would select Judah and the Dead Sea because of the number of significant historical sites, the area's rich variety, and our personal acquaintance with the land that was home to us for so long.

Judah is not just hill country. Though this area constitutes the "heart" of the ancient tribal territory, Judah also was given the wilderness, the foothills ("Shephelah") and the coastal plain. The territory allotted Judah encompasses everything from Masada to Ashkelon and from Bethlehem to Lachish.

In previous editions of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, we were limited by the space available on a CD (700 MB). If we had continued with that format, the revised Judah and the Dead Sea would have been split into three individual volumes. By moving to the more spacious DVD format (4.7 GB), we are able to include everything in a single volume. The result is 1,540 photos collected in 24 PowerPoint presentations averaging 64 photos each. We feel that $15-20 is a fair price for any one of the presentations of Masada (128 images), En Gedi (82 images), or the Northern Judean Hill Country (108 images). But we are offering all 24 PowerPoints (and corresponding 1,540 jpg images) for $39.99 total. And even less if you are upgrading from a previous edition.

We urge you not to be satisfied with just the handful of images below. Instead, download a more extensive "The Land of Judah" PowerPoint presentation with 25 slides, including labels, annotations, and maps. A limited version is also available in pdf format.

Readers are welcome to use these images for personal study and teaching. Commercial use requires separate permission.  For more high-quality, high-resolution photographs and illustrations of biblical sites, purchase the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands or the Historic Views of the Holy Land collections.

The Lowest Place on Earth

Click photograph for higher-resolution version. Download the PowerPoint presentation for a labeled version of all of the photos.

At 416 meters (1,331 feet) below sea level, the shore of the Dead Sea is as low as you can go on dry land. Every year the water level decreases by an average of 1 meter (3 feet) because dams on the Jordan and Yarmuk Rivers divert water for human use. Elsewhere on the western shore of the Dead Sea, paved walkways into the water are now dozens of meters away from the water’s edge and piers are completely exposed on land.


Masada from the Air

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Even with steep cliffs on all sides, King Herod fortified Masada with a casemate wall along the mountain's perimeter. Ever paranoid of losing his throne to a competitor, Herod built and supplied the site early in his rule, constructing two palaces, enormous storehouses, and a lavish bathhouse. Masada's fame today comes from the Jewish rebels who were the last to withstand the fearsome Roman war machine in the First Jewish Revolt (AD 66-73). Remains of the Roman siege ramp are visible on the left side of the photograph. See "The Land of Judah" PowerPoint for a labeled version of this photograph.


Herod's Structure at Mamre (Hebron)

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Haram Ramet el-Khalil is located about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) north of Hebron, just off the ridge route that connects Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Some have identified this as the site of biblical Mamre. Here, King Herod built an enclosure wall that exhibits characteristic architectural features. The ashlars, with smooth central bosses and drafted margins, resemble those of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Machpelah of Hebron in “quality, cutting, and dressing” (Magen 1993: 941). Like the Temple Mount and Machpelah, the outer face of the enclosure has pilasters all the way around. The bottoms of the recesses between the pilasters slope outward and are at the level of the enclosure’s interior pavement.


Gezer Boundary Stone #8

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

The identification of Gezer was first proposed by Charles Clermont-Ganneau in 1871, and two years later his theory was confirmed when he discovered the first of the boundary inscriptions which mention Gezer by name. Ten of these inscriptions have been identified at locations 0.5-1.0 miles (0.8-1.6 km) from the tell. The inscriptions were cut crudely and deeply into the bedrock, and are written in Aramaic and Greek. Some of these inscriptions remain in their original location (like the one above), one is in Istanbul, and another is on display in the Rockefeller Museum.


Philistine Gath

Gath from north
Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Though allotted to the tribe of Judah, Gath was occupied by the Philistines and not by Israel through most of biblical history. Gath is noted as one of the stopping points of the ark of the covenant on its travels from Ashdod to Ekron (1 Sam 5). Later the city was the hometown of Goliath (1 Sam 17). When fleeing from Saul, David came to Gath though he ended up feigning insanity in order to escape (1 Sam 21:10-15). Later in his fugitive years, David returned to Gath and settled in the city, bringing with him his two wives and 600 men (1 Sam 27:1-5). The king of Gath later gave David his own city at Ziklag. When he was king, David conquered the city (1 Chr 18:1).



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All contents © 2012 Todd Bolen. Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use. Commercial use requires written permission.