History of the Holy Land

Join the University of Chicago for an interactive and in-depth exploration of the historical geography of the land of the Bible from prehistory to the establishment of the modern State of Israel and the conflict over the Palestinian territories.

The city of Jerusalem viewed from Mount Scopus.

Explore the History

While the history of this land varies from one era to the next, the land remains the same. Across this land traveled figures of faith like Abraham, David, Jesus, Muhammad, and the countless pilgrims following in their paths. As the land bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, this land has also been a strategic possession to the empires that surround it.

The map of the Holy Land by Marino Sanudo, drawn in 1320.

Examine Five Thousand Years of Change

Over the past 5000 years, this land has been controlled by Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Turks, Arabs and Jews. While rulers have changed from one era to another, the land remains the same. Together, we will explore the land of the Bible over time and the geo-politics that have made it significant for history and culture.

A collage of two images. On the left: a headshot of Stephen Hall. On the right: Assises and the Tower of Antonia in Jerusalem.

Learn from Eminent Minds

Study the history with Stephen Hall, who has been teaching at the University of Chicago since 1992, and participate in interactive dialogue in an intimate classroom with peers who are committed to open exchange and to better understanding complex issues.


A group of students in conversation.

Complete the Sequence

The History of the Holy Land is a three-course sequence that examines 5,000 years over three quarter-long courses. Each course costs $500 and is taught in a small group format to ensure deep engagement and interactivity.

The first quarter focuses on the historical geography of the land of the Bible from prehistory to the Roman Empire.