Longe, Burke O: Imagining the Holy Land

March 31st, 2009

Burke O. Longe: Imagining the Holy Land.  Maps, Models, and Fantasy Travels

Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indianapolis University Press, 2003

ISBN: 0-253-34136-1

How the Holy Land became a site for American piety and sentimental religious imagining.
The photographs, maps, travelers’ accounts, and physical reconstructions that are the subject of this book once fired the popular imagination with fantasies of a place called “the Holy Land.” It was a singular space of religious imagining, multilayered and charged with symbolism. As Burke O. Long shows, there are many holy lands, and they have been visualized in many ways since the 19th century. At the Chautauqua Institute in New York, visitors could walk down Palestine Avenue to “Palestine” and a model of Jerusalem, or along North Avenue to a scale model of the “Jewish Tabernacle.” At the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904, a replica of Ottoman Jerusalem covered 11 acres, while 300 miles to the southeast a seven-story-high Christ of the Ozarks stood above a modern re-creation of the Holy Land set in the Arkansas hills. For home viewing, there were tours of the Holy Land via stereoscopic photographs, books such as Picturesque Palestine, and numerous accounts by travelers whose visions of the Holy Land shaped and were shaped by American forms of Christianity and Judaism.

It has been reviewed in:
Holy Land Studies, May 2004, 3/1: 113-117 (review article ‘Perceptions and Realities of the Holy Land’) by Michael Marten

Submission: Michael Marten (reviewer), 31.3.09

Comments (0)

Comments are closed.