Through the Eyes of the Beholder

The Holy Land, 1517-1713

Series:

The collection examines the view of holiness in the “Holy Land” through the writings of pilgrims, travelers, and missionaries. The period extends from 1517, the Ottoman conquest of Syria and Palestine, to the Franco-British treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and the consolidation of European hegemony over the Mediterranean. The writers in the collection include Christians (Orthodox, Protestant, and Catholic), Muslims, and Jews, who originate from countries such as Sweden, England, France, Holland, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Syria. This book is the first to juxtapose writers of different backgrounds and languages, to emphasize the holiness of the land in a number of traditions, and to ask whether holiness was inherent in geography or a product of the piety of the writers.

Contributors are: Mohammad Asfour, Hasan Baktir, Richard Coyle, Judy A. Hayden, Nabil I. Matar, Joachim Östlund, Michael Rotenberg-Schwartz, Julia Schleck, Mazin Tadros and Galina Yermolenko.
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Biographical Note

Judy A. Hayden, Ph.D. (2000), Professor of English at the University of Tampa, writes on the English seventeenth-century. She has recently published Of Love and War: The Political Voice in the Early Plays of Aphra Behn (Rodopi, 2010) and edited two collections on the intersection of science and literary discourse.

Nabil I. Matar. Ph.D. (1976), University of Cambridge, is Presidential Professor in the English Department at the University of Minnesota. He has published a trilogy on Islam and Britain in the early modern period, and his next publication is an annotated edition of a treatise by Henry Stubbe (Columbia UP, 2012).

Review Quote

"The book's value lies in the inclusion of the impressions of people coming from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, while the conclusions that can be drawn [...] can prove precious to the fields of politics, history, religion and literature." Stavros Nikolaidis in JOAS 22 (2013), 337-339.

“Edited collections tend to lack both coherence in content and consistency in quality. Not this book. Under the able direction of Judy Hayden and Nabil Matar,…, nine original chapters in addition to a novel translation of a manuscript (with critical introduction), as well as a framing introduction and a short conclusion, hone in on the multiple connections between the two terms involved in the space called the Holy Land… Each contribution presents a fascinating facet of the question of sacred geographies, while the multiplicity of perspectives on the Holy Land offers a great added value of comparative assessment… The volume is capped by a brief though important conclusion by Nabil Matar that restates the notable difference between the European accounts and their Ottoman counterparts…” Alexis Wick in Al-Abhath 60-61 (2012-2013), p. 183-185.

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Pilgrims and Travelers: In Search of the ‘Holy’ in Holy Land, Judy A. Hayden and Nabil I. Matar
2. An Arabic Orthodox Account of the Holy Land, c. 1590s, Nabil I. Matar and Mohammad Asfour
3. Early Modern Russian Pilgrims in the Holy Land, Galina Yermolenko
4. Textual Truths and Lived Experience. George Sandys’ A Relation of a Journey begun an: domini 1610 and William Biddulph’s The Travels of certain Englishmen, Julia Schleck
5. Rescuing the Holy Land in Friar Jean Boucher’s Bouquet sacré composé des plus belles fleurs de la Terre sainte, Richard Coyle
6. Evliya Çelebi’s Seyahatname and the Holiness of Jerusalem, Hasan Baktir
7. Joseph Besson, French Nationalism, and Biblical Heroism in Defense of the Jesuit Missionary Enterprise in Greater Syria, 1625-1660, Mazin Tadros
8. Cornelis de Bruyn: Painter, Traveler, Curiosity Collector—Spy?”, Judy A. Hayden
9. The Sufi and the Chaplain: ‘Abl al-Ghani al-Nabulsi and Henry Maundrell, Nabil I. Matar
10. Early Modern Jewish Prayer in and for Israel, Michael Rotenberg-Schwartz
11. A Lutheran in the Holy Land: Michael Eneman’s Journey, 1711–12, Joachim Östlund
12. Conclusion, Nabil I. Matar

Readership

Readers include historians of the early modern European invovlement in the Middle East and students of comparative religion and of travel literature.