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Herald Press Rethinking Holy Land: A Study in Salvation Geography

"The control of land and the use of land are among the most contentious political topics of our time. Marlin Jeschke observes that land questions permeate the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Jeschke's fresh phrase 'salvation geography' makes land issues central to living the gospel, past and present." --John A. Lapp, Executive Secretary Emeritus, Mennonite Central Committee

One of the most primary needs of human beings is a place to live in peace and security. But too much of human history has been marked by ruthless conquest and territorial conflict. From the call of Abraham to the present hour God has therefore been trying to point humanity toward a new way to possess territory other than the way of conquest and violence.

A careful reading of the whole biblical story shows that God designed the promise of the land to Abraham to include the whole world. Holy Land is thus not intended to remain just the name of one corner of the world between the Mediterranean and Jordan River and from Dan to Beer Sheba, but to become the actual quality of life in that land. And God's design in salvation history is for this quality of life to result in the sanctification of the whole earth. We can call God's purpose in salvation history "salvation geography."

The biblical view of land gives us new lenses to assess the Israeli/Palestinian problem. More importantly, it equips us to work at sanctifying the land in which we live.

"In these pages Marliln Jeschke offers an important, compelling personal reflection on the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. Using insights from a lengthy stay in Jerusalem, as well as a careful reading of the Bible and history, Jeschke argues for a fresh understanding of 'salvation geography,' in which land is seen as divine gift and not the subject of conquest. Jews, Muslims, and Christians have all been guilty of such conquests (as he demonstrates richly) and it is abhorrent to the heart of what Jesus came to announce." --Gary Burge, Wheaton College

About the Author: Marlin Jeschke is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, where he taught from 1961 to 1994. He received his BA from Tabor College, his Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary (now Garrett-Evangelical), and his PhD from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He has been a postdoctoral visiting scholar at Harvard Divinit School and at Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1996 he and h wife spent four months at Tantur, the Ecumenical Center for Theological Study in Jerusalem. He is currently President of the Mennonite Historical Society in Goshen and a member of College Mennonite Church.

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