I have made 64 trips to the Holy Land since 1990. I find the number astounding looking back. By far most of these trips have been for research, whether working at six different archaeological sites (Sepphoris, Wadi el-Yabis, Suba, Qumran, Talpiot tombs, and Mt Zion) or filming for various documentaries. I have led only five tours in those 27 years! There are dozens of “Holy Land Tours” out there and if you have ever contemplated taking one you have probably been overwhelmed by the choice of which one you should sign up for. Most by far are led by Christian Pastors and have a decidedly theological orientation. Many of the Jewish tours are oriented toward Jewish and Zionist history–as one would expect.
Prices also vary wildly on these tours–from bottom basement prices that cut corners and end up herding people around the country in large buses with sub-standard hotels, to expensive luxury tours that seem geared more for amenities than education or learning. You don’t want to choose the former, believe me, and many can not afford the latter. Also, most visiting the Holy Land are looking for education and spiritual insights, not entertainment and luxury accommodations.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced, high quality tour, with expert leadership, decades of experience, and an emphasis on solid historical and archaeological sites and content related to the entire Bible–read on.
I will be leading just such a tour with my colleague Ross Nichols the first week of March, 2018. We want to take a relatively small group of around 35 at the most–to allow maximum dialogue and interchange between leaders and participants. Our hotels have been carefully selected personally by me–they are all great places to stay–Four Star rated. The itinerary of this tour is a composite of all I have experienced in my decades of research and discovery in the Holy Land. Even if you have traveled to Israel before, or specifically traveled with Tabor or Nichols, this is the tour for you.
Our emphasis on this tour will be on New Discoveries in the Holy Land. We will take you behind the scenes, exploring new archaeological and textual discoveries as they are related to the key Biblical sites we will visit. No tour can cover everything but we will take you, quite literally, from “Dan to Beersheba” (1 Samuel 3:20). Our special theme in choosing our sites for this particular tour is that of “Hearing the Voice.” We refer here to the particular experiences of key figures of the Bible who have responded to a special spiritual calling: Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul. Participants will be given a detailed syllabus with maps and further reading so you can really prepare for what you are to experience, as well as review it when you get back.
Two special highlights of this tour: We will stay in the Arava/Negev desert for two nights at Biblical Tamar–one of the best preserved archeological sites in Israel with ruins dating from the Iron Age to the present. The site was recently featured in Popular Archaeology magazine. Ross and I will be excavating there this November and we will share with our participants all the latest regarding this fascinating site. We will also visit the Talpiot “Jesus Family” tombs just south of Jerusalem and discuss the very latest unpublished research and findings related to their history and that of the controversial James ossuary.
Anyone interested in biblical history and literature will find this tour refreshing and educational from beginning to end. We have no expectations regarding belief systems, politics, or faith orientations. All that is required to go on this tour is a strong orientation toward learning more about the Bible and its history and archaeology.
Video Promo for New Discoveries in the Holy Land Tour