Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reading Material for Our Trip

Dear Turkey Traveling Friends,

While we are still several months away from our departure, I thought I would give you a little "preview" reading material for those who are interested. As you know, the trip itself will be an introduction to the historical, social, political, and cultic context of the world out of which the New Testament and early Christianity emerged in Asia Minor. We'll immerse ourselves in archaeological ruins from the first through sixth centuries ce, and think together about how our  experience of ancient spaces and images will shape our readings of New Testament texts.

Below are a few highly recommended books for your perusal. You can see if your local public library has them (sometimes public libraries have great guidebook sections). You can also order them books from your locally owned bookstore or even directly from the publisher. All of these titles are also available through mass online book distributors (read: Amazon, Barnes&Noble).

Everyone should look at Joerg Rieger's Traveling: Christian Explorations of Daily Living. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011). This short volume will help us think theologically about our travels, early Christians' travels, and our own spiritual journeys.

If you would like a guidebook or two in which to look up different spots on our itinerary, Mark Wilson and Ege Yayinlari, Biblical Turkey: A Guide to the Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor. (Istanbul: Umraniye, 2010) is one option.This book is not a traditional guidebook, but rather contains photos, maps, excerpts from ancient texts, and descriptions of many of the sites we will see on our trip. It is a good, accessible reference. Some participants will find this book sufficient for referencing ancient history. Others will find Bernard McDonagh, Blue Guide Turkey (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995) more helpful. It is a "nerd's" travel-guide to Turkey and focuses on the ancient history of the sites we will see and much, much more. Copies of the Blue Guide are easily shared among fellow travelers. I will have one with me if you'd like to borrow it on the trip.

Be in touch with questions, discoveries, or inquiries about further reading. I've got a whole library to share and we've got the whole wide-world of western Turkey to explore!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Visit to Patriarchate by Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate

Exciting new developments on the religious front include the news today that Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarch in Istanbul to discuss, amongst other things the  re-opening of the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary.

During the meeting, Mehmet Görmez gave his full support to the issue of reopening Halki Seminary on Istanbul’s Heybeliada Island, while Patriarch Bartholomew said the Patriarchate is ready to open the school. Görmez said the fact that a religious community in Turkey currently needs to recruit and train their religious staff in another country was not appropriate.
“In this country, a religious community’s need for other countries to raise their own ecclesiastics does not comply with the greatness of this country. The continuation of their [religious communities’] existence in the framework of law and legislation is more suitable to this greatness, as it has always continued throughout history,” Görmez said in a statement made after the visit.