Walking the Bible with Bruce Feiler: Book and Documentary Film Review

by DerdriuMarriner

Bruce Feiler provides a riveting introduction and welcome review of what ancient sites and modern cultures have for readers and viewers Walking the Bible.

Walking the Bible connects ancient sites, modern cultures

The title Walking the Bible assumes a necessary, versatile place on all shelves as the moniker of:
• a journey by land through the five books of Moses;
• a photographic journey;
• a two-disc audio-visual; and
• an illustrated journey for kids through the greatest stories ever told.

The audio-visual and the land and photographic journeys bring together the same content and perspective from voice-over, textual, and still-image angles.

All four titles nevertheless converge to complement the author/host/photographer Bruce Feiler’s publications on:
• Abraham: A Journey into the Heart of the Three Faiths; and
• Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion.

As a result, readers and viewers disembark as wonder-filled participants in wondrous Bible-walking experiences.

*****

Website: http://www.brucefeiler.com/books/walking.html

*****

Bruce Feiler documented in book and film formats his exploratory journey of 10,000 miles through the real places of the first five books of the Old Testament:

Bruce as speaker at Library of Congress' National Book Festival 2006
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.

Walking the Bible describes Eurafrasian events and peoples

 

Itineraries emphasize places actually or apparently linked with events in the lives of:

  • Abraham (21st century B.C.E.); and
  • Moses (13th century B.C.E.).

They also follow other earlier and intervening bio-geographies. The trek indeed goes from Adam’s and Eve’s mysterious Garden of Eden out of whose river flow the still-known Euphrates and Tigris Rivers and the unknown Gihon River of Cush and Pishon River of gold-, jewel-, and perfume-rich Havilah.

The biblical stroll heads on to the Northern Kurdistan cultural sub-region of modern-day southeastern Turkey. It thereby accesses Mount Ararat, final resting-place of Noah’s animal-sheltering, family-filled, flood-proof, football field-sized ark. It then jumps forward spatially and temporally to the geo-historical address of Abraham, descendant of Noah’s son Shem. 

 

 

Bruce Feiler visits Mount Ararat to explore reference in Book of Genesis to Mountains of Ararat as resting place of Noah's Ark:

NASA-generated image of Mount Ararat
3-D view from southwest: simulated natural color image over ASTER-derived digital topography model
3-D view from southwest: simulated natural color image over ASTER-derived digital topography model

Walking the Bible encourages looking inward, outward, upward

 

Villagers keep alive traditional beliefs in Abraham as a native son of Sanlıurfa in Turkey, not Ur in ancient Iraq. Either way, biblical peregrinations lead to:

  • Aramea, where Abraham’s father Terah dies in Harran; and
  • Canaan, where Abraham and his half-sister and wife make northward and southward stops in Shechem and then Bethel and Negev;
  • Egypt; and
  • southern Canaan, where Abraham and Sarah die in Hebron, Abraham’s child Isaac escapes sacrifice on Moriah (at modern-day Jerusalem’s Temple Mount), and Abraham’s nephew Lot’s wife expires outside Gomorrah and Sodom (near the present Dead Sea).

Before considering the events and places in Moses’ bio-geography, they memorialize Abraham’s son Isaac, grandson Jacob, and great-grandson Joseph of the 18th century B.C.E. 

 

Saint Catherine's Monastery, built in 6th century to enclose site of burning bush seen by Moses:

Historic monastery, with old, unique books and living burning bush, was inscribed in 2002 as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sinai Peninsula: Mediterranean Sea to north, Red Sea to south
Sinai Peninsula: Mediterranean Sea to north, Red Sea to south

Walking the Bible favors repeat reads and views

 

Isaac’s biography necessitates sojourns within the Negev at:

  • Gerar;
  • Hebron; and
  • Kadesh.

Jacob contrastingly opts to relocate to Egypt. Goshen to the northeast of modern-day Cairo indeed protects Joseph, Joseph’s brother and half-brothers, and their descendants from the 18th century onward.

But well before Moses’ adoption into the royal household, Egyptians question continued thanks to Jacob’s people for Joseph’s problem-solving famine and plague. Collective amnesia results in Moses’ exodus of Jacob’s descendants through the Reed Sea (at modern-day Lake Timsah) to the Sinai wilderness. Bible walks with Moses then stop at:

  • Jebel Musa, near St. Catherine’s burning bush monastery;
  • Kadesh; and
  • Mount Nebo’s view of Canaan.

But their representation by Bruce Feiler touches readers and viewers forever. 

 

Bruce Feiler and his guide, archaeologist Avner Goren, consider the possibility of Lake Timsah, one of the Bitter Lakes, as the sea of reeds (erroneously written as "red") which enabled Moses and the Israelites to escape their Egyptian pursuers:

dhow (traditional sailing vessel of Red Sea and Indian Ocean) on Lake Timsah
Lake Timsah on Lower, or northern, Egypt's Nile Delta spans isthmus between Red Sea and Mediterranean.
Lake Timsah on Lower, or northern, Egypt's Nile Delta spans isthmus between Red Sea and Mediterranean.

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Bruce Feiler's journey of 10,000 miles follows Moses' footsteps to Mount Nebo, where clear panorama afforded view of Promised Land to the determined patriarch responsible for drawing the Israelites out of Egypt.

Sea of Galilee from Mount Nebo, northwestern Jordan
Sea of Galilee from Mount Nebo, northwestern Jordan

Sources Consulted

 

Feiler, Bruce. Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of the Three Faiths. New York, NY: William Morrow imprint, HarperCollins Publishers, 2002. 

Feiler, Bruce. Walking the Bible. KQED presents a production of TMC Entertainment executive produced by Drew S. Levin, produced by Rebecca Dobbs, directed by David Wallace. Telescript by Alex Gregory & Joan Meyerson edited by Ash Hasen. Boston, MA: WGBH Video, 2006.

Feiler, Bruce. Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land through the Five Books of Moses. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001. 

Feiler, Bruce. Walking the Bible: A Photographic Journey. New York, NY: William Morrow imprint, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. 

Feiler, Bruce. Walking the Bible:  An Illustrated Journey for Kids through the Greatest Stories Ever Told. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004. 

Feiler, Bruce. Where God Was Born: A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion. New York, NY: William Morrow imprint, HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. 

 

Walking the Bible with Bruce Feiler Part 1

Published on YouTube on February 10, 2013 by Foxy in Middlesbrough ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu5Pb1QS4t8

Walking the Bible with Bruce Feiler Part 2

Published on YouTube on February 10, 2013 by Foxy in Middlesbrough ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvdO1evY06Q

Walking the Bible with Bruce Feiler Part 3

Published on YouTube on February 10, 2013 by Foxy in Middlesbrough ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgal0eye_rc
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses ~ DVD format ~ Available now via Amazon

Walking the Bible

Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses by Bruce Feiler ~ In Book and Kindle formats ~ Available now via Amazon

Walking the Bible

Walking the Bible: A Photographic Journey by Bruce Feiler ~ In Hardcover format ~ Available now via Amazon

Over several years, Bruce Feiler traveled nearly 10,000 miles through the deserts of the Middle East, which led first to his runaway national bestseller. Features Bruce's own photos as well as his selections from professional collections.
Walking the Bible

Walking the Bible CD: An Illustrated Journey for Kids Through the Greatest Stories Ever Told - Written and Read by Bruce Feiler ~ in CD format ~ Available now via Amazon

Walking the Bible

Jeremyville: 10000 Miles Starts With One Footstep ~ Product format: Art Print, Giclée Print, Premium Giclée Print ~ Available now via AllPosters

Jeremyville: 10000 Miles Starts With One Footstep

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 06/26/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 07/01/2015

sheilamarie, It's impressive that the monks have such a commitment to preserving ancient collections and spiritual exercises. Is the traveling exhibit something that you can share on Wizzley as an article? It's quite an experience to be in the same place as awe-inspiring icons.

sheilamarie on 07/01/2015

St Catherines Monastery has some wonderful icons. I've seen some of them in a traveling exhibit.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/29/2015

Mira, Fortunately for me (and for Wizzley readers like you), Bruce Feiler's books and DVD were recommended to me ! ;-]

Mira on 06/29/2015

How did you learn of Bruce Feiler? Sometimes it's hard to find a good author/book amid all the clamor.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/29/2015

Mira, Bruce Feiler is a captivating, intelligent host and writer. His books are difficult to put down, and he has such a respect for reader/viewer interest. (The same may be said of Avner Goran.)
One of my favorite moments in the documentary is where he's observing the early services at St Catherine's burning bush monastery, looks so astutely at the camera, and confides so engagingly that "I've done the math" about the total number of services ever held there.

Mira on 06/28/2015

I watched 38 minutes of it and it's quite enthralling. It's really well done as a documentary, moves along really nicely. I'll watch the rest as well.

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