Led by Rev Dr Michael Trainor, this two-week program offered the opportunity to reflect on the Gospel of Mark in the land of Jesus and its people. Participants studied the Gospel of Mark within the very setting envisaged by the evangelist; evaluated the contribution of archaeology to an appreciation and understanding of the Bible, especially the gospels; explored the geographical, socio-historical and cultural roots of Judaism and Christianity; and sought to appreciate the different faith communities in the Middle East today, especially Judaism and Islam.
The opportunity for gospel study was complemented by:
Excursions to places associated with Jesus during his ministry in Jerusalem.
A three-day tour in Galilee.
Jerusalem: Kotel (the Western Wall), Mount Scopus, Mount of Olives, Kidron Valley, Mount Sion, the church of the Holy Sepulchre – the site of Jesus' death and resurrection – Gethsemane, Four Quarters of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Ein Karem, and Via Dolorosa – Stations of the Cross.
Bethlehem: Qumran and Ein Gedi
Nazareth: Church of the Annunciation, Mary’s Well, and Sepphoris.
Galilee: Capernaum, Tabgha, Mount of Beatitudes, Kibbutz Ginossar, Lake of Galilee, Golan Heights, Banyas, and Tel Dan.
Regular formal reflections, designed to develop and enhance participants’ reflective praxis
A month long study tour in the Middle East, assisted by trained and accredited local archaeological guides, and led by Rev Dr Michael Trainor.
The in situ experience enabled participants a greater appreciation of the cultural, social, historical and geographical milieu of the Bible and early Christianity, and the Abrahamic monotheistic religious traditions of Islam and Judaism.
Visiting the following religious sites: Jordan (Amman, Pella, Petra, Mt Nebo, Macchareus and Jerash), Israel (Jerusalem, Negeb, Qumran and Galilee) and Turkey (Byzantium, Bursa and Nicea), participants deepened their understanding of the cultural and religious environment for reading the Bible, Paul’s influence on the development of early Christianity, and the complexity today of inter-religious dialogue and traditions.
Led by Professor Dermot Nestor and Dr Emmanuel Nathan, this three week study tour took participants to Petra, Jordan – described as “one of the most precious cultural properties of our cultural heritage” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – and to various sites throughout Israel.