The modern image of the Holy Land through the manuscripts of some Christian missionaries

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This article aims to analyse the modern image of the Holy Land as it emerges from the accounts of several missionaries who visited this territory during the 19th century. The article will specifically examine the biography of William Lethaby (1910), who, with his wife, was affiliated with The Wesleyan Methodists, and the manuscripts of Father Jaussen (1908, 1927), a Catholic missionary from France. The experiences of these people, crystallised in the historical texts that portray their lives, tell us about the encounter between two different cultural worlds. The missionaries or travellers immersed themselves in the local field, took possession of it and rebuilt it according to their personal cultural sensibility, making it accessible to a wider Western audience. Thanks to this very act of force based on the written word, they reconstructed the image of the Holy Land, of its heart, Jerusalem, of its inhabitants and of the rights of the three monotheistic religions. They rewrote the local history and suggested the future of this land. The Holy Land and Jerusalem do not exist per se, but they are constructed according to the personal perception of these people through the conviction of their moral and cultural superiority. Firstly, regarding the view of the Holy Land by Orientalists, the analysis of these sources gives an insight into the historical meaning and scope of the cultural acquisition process of the Holy Land and Jerusalem by the West. Secondly, the study of these sources helps to reconfigure some modernist interpretations of the socio-political evolution of this land.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-23
Numero di pagine23
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • Holy Land
  • Ottoman Palestine
  • culture and power
  • orientalism


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