5. A History of Ancient Israels
Philip R. Davies† [+]
University of Sheffield, (Emeritus)
The land of the Old Testament runs from the Mediterranean Sea eastwards to the Jordan Valley, and from the borders of modern Syria and Lebanon as far as Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. Ancient writers called this land many names, including part of Syria, Canaan, Retenu and Palestine. It has four geographical zones: (from west to east) the coastal plain, lowlands, highlands and the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley, including the Dead Sea and the lake of Galilee, is part of the Great African Rift and forms the lowest point on the earth’s surface. On a map, it may seem a major barrier but the river can in fact be crossed at may points quite easily on foot. Beyond it lies the Jordanian plateau.