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Delve into the magnificent history of Jordan, a beautiful land with a rich connection to the Bible. The list below is not exhaustive and should be considered as a beginning point in your studies. These articles and books have been hand-picked to offer you an introduction to the mysteries and wonders of Jordan, a land rich in Biblical history.

Fully-Illustrated Feature Articles on Jordan

Solving the Enigma of Petra and the Nabataeans
by Joey Corbett

For every tourist who visits the ancient city of Petra in modern day Jordan, there is one breathtaking moment that captures all of the grandeur and mystery of this city carved in stone. After passing the final bend of the tortuous narrow canyon that leads into the site (the Siq), one is confronted by the awe-inspiring spectacle of a towering rock-cut façade, its sun-struck sandstone gleaming through the darkness of the canyon. Read more.

Where John Baptized: Bethany beyond the Jordan
BAR Jan/Feb 2005
by Rami Khouri

It may or may not be the spot in the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, but Byzantine Christians seemed to think it was. And it’s not on the western shore of the river, but on the eastern shore—in modern Jordan. When it comes to locating places mentioned in the Gospels, the Byzantine Christians are often worth taking seriously. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the supposed site of Jesus’ tomb only in the fourth century A.D., and for many years its identification was thought to be improbable, if not fanciful, because it was deep inside Jerusalem’s Old City walls. (In ancient times, graves were typically outside a city’s walls.) But the Byzantine identification has now been confirmed archaeologically. Read more.

Moab Comes to Life
BAR Jan/Feb 2002
by P. M. Michèle Daviau and Paul-Eugène Dion

We unexpectedly found a Moabite temple, the first of its kind ever discovered, during an excavation in 1999. The Moabites, a people living east of the Dead Sea, were neighbors of the ancient Israelites. Ruth is the most touching Moabite figure known to us from the Bible. She stood by her widowed Judahite mother-in-law, Naomi: “Anywhere you go, I will go...your people will be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). Read more.

Philadelphia of the Decapolis
Archaeology Odyssey Mar/Apr 2002
by Alastair Northedge

In the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (283–246 B.C.), Rabbath Ammon was renamed Philadelphia. Despite the name change, the city’s inhabitants remained largely Semitic and probably were never extensively Hellenized. When Arab Muslims conquered the region of present-day Jordan in 634, they called the city by the name local peoples used: Amman, the modern Arabic version of ancient Ammon. Thus the city became officially Semitic again. Read more.

Recommended DVDs

Honor and Shame

Honor and Shame: Core Values of the Biblical World

The concepts of honor and shame are both ancient and pervasive in the Middle East, and have had a profound effect on the shaping of human history, from the Biblical age up to the present. In this riveting lecture, Dr. Richard Rohrbaugh examines this ancient value system and how it influenced the culture of the Biblical world, and illuminates how it plays a crucial role in today's socio-political climate.

Recommended Books

Studies on Roman and Islamic Amman, Volume 1: History, Site and Architecture (British Academy Monographs in Archaeology)
by Alastair Northedge

Architecture of Petra
by Judith McKenzie

This is an enormous and impressive book not only full of facts, but also solving mysteries. It provides a detailed and lavishly illustrated catalogue of the main monuments of Petra. Then, in seeking the origins of Petra's particular architecture and its close relations with the architectural scenes on the walls of Pompeii, Judith McKenzie examines the rock cut tombs of Medain Saleh (Saudi Arabia) and then the little known architectural remains of Ptolemaic Alexandria. Here lies her solution, for the earliest of the Petra-style baroque architecture is in Alexandria from where it spread east to Petra and west to Pompeii and thus elsewhere in the Roman World. It is an impressive study with a significant and satisfying conclusion. This Oxbow reprint makes it available once more at an affordable price.

Petra: A Traveller's Guide
by Rosalyn Maqsood

A travel guide to the ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

The King's Highway
by Graeme Donnan

High Above Jordan
by Jane Taylor

by Jane Taylor

Petra, the "rose-red city" carved out of rock in the mountains of southern Jordan, is one of the most extraordinary survivors of the ancient world. Created by the Nabataeans, a people whose origins still remain mysterious, Petra boasts monuments to rival those of classical Greece and Rome.

The Arabs
by David Lamb

Negotiating for Peace in the Middle East
by Ismail Fahmy

A Concise History of the Middle East
by Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr.

The ninth edition of this widely acclaimed text by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. and Lawrence Davidson has been extensively revised to reflect the latest scholarship and the most recent events in the Middle East. As an introduction to the history of this turbulent region from the beginnings of Islam to the present day, the book is distinguished by its clear style, broad scope, and balanced treatment.

The Koran: a New Translation and Presentation
translation by Henry Mercier

Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World, Third Edition
by Thomas W. Lippman

Lippman's study of the Muslim world--from its earliest roots to today's global power politics--includes crucial new material on the Islamic community today. There are also updated descriptions of internal politics in Syria, Egypt, Pakistan and other Islamic nations. Essential reading for both students and all who seek greater understanding of the world in which we live.

Arab Personalities in Politics
by Majid Khadduri

Faith and Power, the Politics of Islam
by Edward Mortimer

Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey
by V.S. Naipaul

Naipaul's controversial account of his travels through the Islamic world was hailed by The New Republic as "the most notable work on contemporary Islam to have appeared in a very long time."

With Lawrence in Arabia (Classic Reprint)
by Lowell Thomas

by Iain Browning

Jerash and the Decapolis
by Iain Browning

History of the Arabs, Revised: 10th Edition
by Philip Hitti

Petra: A Guide to the Capital of the Nabataeans
by Rami G. Khouri

Jerash: A Frontier City of the Roman East
by Rami G. Khouri

The Antiquities of Jordan
by G. Lankester Harding

In his classic account of the antiquities of Jordan, Harding writes with an erudition based upon a lifetime's knowledge of the region, describing all the major sites of interest in the country.

Jordan Insight Guide (Insight Guides)
by APA Publications

This brand new edition Insight Guide to Jordan features fully-updated content expertly researched and written by local writers, ensuring this guide is an inspiring background read and invaluable on-the-spot companion. Superb full-colour photography throughout also makes it a wonderful, visual souvenir of a visit. Now featuring a 'Best of' section it highlights the most unique experiences Jordan has to offer, including the best archaeological sites to visit and best things to buy in Jordan's 'souks', along with the editor's personal recommendations and top tips.

Sandcastles: The Arabs in Search of the Modern World (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East)
by Milton Viorst and Alfred A. Knopf

My Memoirs Completed
by King Abdullah

Pioneers Over Jordan: The Frontier Settlement in Transjordan, 1850-1914
by Raoul Sa'd Abujaber

In the 19th century conditions of rural life in the Middle East were revolutionized. But the traditional preoccupation in Muslim societies with urban culture means that the study of rural life has been comparatively neglected. In this book, available in paperback for the first time, Raouf Sa'd Abujaber does much to redress the balance.

The Arab World: Society, Culture, and State
by Halim Barakat

In the Eye of the Storm: The Life of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti

A biography of the man who waged war in the cradle of civilization employs interviews with family and friends to describe Schwarzkopf's childhood, his role in the military, his values, and more.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
by T.E. Lawrence

Seven Pillars of Wisdom is the monumental work that assured T.E. Lawrence's place in history as "Lawrence of Arabia." Not only a consummate military history, but also a colorful epic and a lyrical exploration of the mind of a great man, this is one of the indisputable classics of 20th century English literature. Line drawings throughout.

The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
by Amin Maalouf

The author has combed the works of contemporary Arab chronicles of the Crusades, eyewitnesses and often participants. He retells their story and offers insights into the historical forces that shape Arab and Islamic consciousness today.