In the Footsteps of Abraham: The Holy Land in Hand-Painted Photographs

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The Holy Land is unrivalled as a region combining breathtaking beauty with historical and religious significance. Its position as the birthplace of the three major Abrahamic faiths—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—gives it a special place in the hearts of millions. Rarely does a book come along that captures this extraordinary land in a fresh light. In the Footsteps of Abraham does just that, presenting a unique opportunity to experience the Holy Land as it was at the turn of the last century, before the region ...

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2008 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 364 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. New and unmarked copy. These ... black-and-white photos were first taken by a community of American Christian expatriates living in Jerusalem. In the 1920s Ari Speelman, a devout Dutch believer, commissioned the hand-coloring of 1, 200 of the photos on glass plates for lantern slide lectures. Now 175 of the best have been reproduced here. 385 pages, 11" x 11" hardcover. Overlook. Helps support Christian Homeschooling family. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The Holy Land is unrivalled as a region combining breathtaking beauty with historical and religious significance. Its position as the birthplace of the three major Abrahamic faiths—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—gives it a special place in the hearts of millions. Rarely does a book come along that captures this extraordinary land in a fresh light. In the Footsteps of Abraham does just that, presenting a unique opportunity to experience the Holy Land as it was at the turn of the last century, before the region underwent the radical changes of modernization.

These vivid images evoke the Holy Land of centuries ago, as Moses or Jesus might have seen it. The photos were taken before the advent of color photography by the Matson Photo Agency, part of Jerusalem's American Colony, a community of Christian expatriates. In the 1920s, Ari Speelman, a devout Dutch Christian, commissioned the hand-coloring of 1200 photos on glass plates, a massive undertaking that sometimes involved painting with a single human hair. In this era before mass tourism, he traveled through Holland giving popular lantern slide lectures. His remarkable collection was bequeathed to the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam; the photos in this book were selected from that legacy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Library Journal
Looking at these 180 mesmerizing photographs is a time-transcending experience. They succeed in evoking the Holy Land of centuries ago. Only occasional images (like the stylish attire of Jewish women and children at the Wailing Wall) bring the viewer back from the poverty and daily toil associated with traditional ways of living. The photographers of the Matson Photo Agency of Jerusalem's American Colony took these pictures in the early 20th century, and Ari Speelman, a Dutch Christian enthralled with the Holy Land after visiting, ordered 1200 lantern slides (on glass plates) to be hand painted for shows throughout Holland before World War II. Authors Hardiman (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and Speelman, an artist and granddaughter of Ari Speelman, relate the engrossing story of the Christian expatriate American colony. The book focuses on landscape views of geographical areas related to biblical verses (e.g., the Jordan River and the Dead Sea) and on the people, including Muslims and Bedouins. Because it documents a part of the world to which people of different faiths relate, this is recommended for all public libraries, to be shelved in the religion, travel, or photography sections.
Steven Heller
Each image takes up a full page. Most are incredibly sharp, some are painterly, and many are so finely detailed—colored with single-hair brushes, even—that they're hard to distinguish from actual color photographs…Although not intended as sociological studies, the photographs do offer a vivid record of change. But most extraordinary is the way some seem to reveal a land where nothing ever changes.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

Looking at these 180 mesmerizing photographs is a time-transcending experience. They succeed in evoking the Holy Land of centuries ago. Only occasional images (like the stylish attire of Jewish women and children at the Wailing Wall) bring the viewer back from the poverty and daily toil associated with traditional ways of living. The photographers of the Matson Photo Agency of Jerusalem's American Colony took these pictures in the early 20th century, and Ari Speelman, a Dutch Christian enthralled with the Holy Land after visiting, ordered 1200 lantern slides (on glass plates) to be hand painted for shows throughout Holland before World War II. Authors Hardiman (Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) and Speelman, an artist and granddaughter of Ari Speelman, relate the engrossing story of the Christian expatriate American colony. The book focuses on landscape views of geographical areas related to biblical verses (e.g., the Jordan River and the Dead Sea) and on the people, including Muslims and Bedouins. Because it documents a part of the world to which people of different faiths relate, this is recommended for all public libraries, to be shelved in the religion, travel, or photography sections.
—Anne Marie Lane

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590201077
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2008
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 11.48 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Joel J. Cahen Cahen, Joel J.

Introduction Helen Speelman on Arie Speelman

The Matson Collection: A Half Century of Photography in the Middle East George Hobart Hobart, George

The American Colony: A Family, a Colony, a Life of Good Works in the Holy City Jonathan Broder Broder, Jonathan

The Photographs

1 Jaffa and the Coast 24

2 Jerusalem 46

3 Village Life 110

4 Bethlehem 188

5 The Bedouin 224

6 The Jordan River, the Ghar, and the Dead Sea 260

7 The North: Galilee, Nazareth, Safed, Mt. Tabor, Mt. Hermon 290

8 The Lebanon 350

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