News - Interterm in Israel Redefines "Classroom"

Interterm in Israel Redefines "Classroom"

By Carla Morris

“Classroom” assumed a whole new meaning for students who spent Interterm 2018 in Israel.

  • In Caesarea, they took seats in a seaside theater constructed by builder extraordinaire Herod theIsrael-Interterm-2018-Caesarea-2 Great, who created the deep sea harbor and city to honor his boss, Caesar Augustus.
  • In Old City Jerusalem, they took notes at the base of the temple, another Herod creation, wondering how builders in 15 B.C. moved 250-ton bricks over land and then high up onto the wall.
  • From a boat on the Sea of Galilee, they recalled the Biblical account of frantic disciples rousing Jesus from his sleep and his response after calming the wind and sea: “Why are you afraid?”

Seeing What Jesus Saw

On Capernaum’s shore, as waves lapped the black basalt rocks at the students’ feet, their instructor Dr. Paul Wright of Jerusalem University College pointed out Tiberius in the distance and the ancient site of Hippos, the probable “city on a hill” that Jesus referenced in the Sermon on the Mount.

Israel Interterm-2018 Wilderness“This is what Jesus saw,” said Wright. “The hills are the same. The cloud patterns are the same. The sound of the waves . . . listen, it’s the same.”

Earlier, the students had surveyed the barren wilderness just east of Jerusalem (pictured at left) and experienced the context for the gospel writer Matthew’s words, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Experiential Learning At Its Best

Interterm in Israel for Greenville University students occurs every other year. Professor of History Richard Huston coordinates the class in collaboration with Jerusalem University College Institute of Holy Land Studies.

The institute’s tagline “location makes all the difference” fuels an experience that aligns with Greenville University’s strategic initiative to offer international experiences that help students develop their minds, bodies and spirits.

This year’s participants scaled inclines like the Roman soldiers’ siege ramp at the desert stronghold Masada and waded through Hezikiah’s dark underground tunnel, the channel that kept Jerusalem supplied with fresh water in the event of siege.

Field studies included history and geography lessons blended with scripture. Students explored archeological excavation sites and holy places of remembrance within Old City Jerusalem and farther afield in Bethlehem, Jericho, Galilee, Mt. Gerizim and the wilderness in the Negev, among others.

More Than History

2018 Israel Interterm GroupThe students (pictured at left, with Professor Huston) also fostered a greater appreciation for the complex issues that impact today’s Holy Land, a country with a footprint about the size of New Jersey.

They saw innovative water management that has turned swamps and deserts into productive farmland and flourishing cities.

But they also learned about Bedouins—Israeli citizens—being placed in permanent encampments that resemble reservations. They learned that Israeli-owned homes dotting an otherwise Palestinian-occupied hillside give reason for an expanded military presence in those areas.

The roar of Israeli jets streaking toward neighboring Syria interrupted one lesson—another statement about presence, they learned.

Inspiration and Imagination

Jonathan-Israel Interterm MasadaStudy abroad is not just about destination, but also about adjusted perspective.

“I am so grateful that I have gotten to learn and experience this land firsthand,” said student Jonathan Bremer (at left) just before his return to the U.S.

“I have gained a lot of insight that will help me to consider the Biblical account and study it more faithfully through a lens of the land and a broader source of inspiration and imagination.”

For more information about future study opportunities in Israel, contact Richard Huston at 618-664-6824 or [email protected]

Learn More

Israel for Interterm: Bringing the Bible to Life
Young Alumnus Cultivates Critical Thinking in East Jerusalem
The World is Your Classroom

Give the gift of experiential learning today! Fund scholarships through the Greenville University Fund. Click here to give.

Photo of Jonathan at Masada, courtesy of Jonathan Bremer.

This story was published on January 26, 2018