Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 1984
  • Online publication date: March 2008

1 - The geography of Palestine and the Levant in relation to its history

This chapter focuses on two facts that are of fundamental importance: the centrality and the extraordinary smallness of Palestine. The most obvious feature of the Levant is its division into four longitudinal zones: the narrow lowlands along the coast, widening only in the south, the western highlands, the central rift valley, and the eastern plateau. The dominant alignment of the surface folds is roughly from south-west to north-east, clearly visible in the Lebanon and Anti- Lebanon mountains and those parallel folds which form the Negeb uplands of southern Cis-jordan. In the days of the Israelite monarchy the long Horns-Palmyra corridor was the limit of David's, and later Jeroboam II's, empire, and in the period with which we are concerned it constituted the northern boundary of the territories of Phoenicia and Coele-Syria, as it is today the boundary of Lebanon. The nature of the Palestinian climate helped to compartmentalize the country, which lies close to the southern limit of the Mediterranean climate belt.
Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of Judaism
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055116
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Abel, F. M.Histoire de la Palestine depuis la Conquête d'Alexandre jusqu'a l’Invasion Arabe. 2 vols. Paris, 1952.
Ackroyd, P. R.Exile and Restoration. Philadelphia, 1968.
Aharoni, Y.The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography. Trans, by Rainy, A. F. . Philadelphia, 1967. Rev. and enlarged edn. Philadelphia, 1979.
Aharoni, Y. and Avi-Yonah, M.The Macmillan Bible Atlas. New York, 1968. Rev. edn. New York, 1979.
al-Shalash, A. H.Rainfall Atlas of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Amman, 1964.
Ashbel, D.Bio-climatic Atlas of Israel. Jerusalem: Meteorological Department of the Hebrew University, 1950.
Atlas Climatique du Liban. 3 vols. Beirut: Service Météorologique du Liban, 1966.
Atlas of Israel. Jerusalem: Survey of Israel, Ministry of Labour; Amsterdam, 1970.
Avi-Yonah, M.Carta's Atlas of the Period of the Second Temple, the Mishnah and the Talmud (in Hebrew). Jerusalem, 1966.
Avi-Yonah, M.The Holy Land from the Persians to the Arab Conquest: A Historical Geography. Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1966.
Baly, D.Geographical Companion to the Bible. New York, 1963. The Geography of the Bible. Rev. edn. New York, 1974.
Baly, D. and Tushingham, A. D.Atlas of the Biblical World. New York, 1971.
Beaumont, P. , Blake, G. H. and Wagstaff, J. M.The Middle East: A Geographical Study. London, 1976.
Birot, P. and Dresch, J.La Méditerranée et le Moyen-Orient; vol. 2: La Méditerranée Orientale et le Moyen Orient. Paris, 1955.
Blake, G. S.The Stratigraphy of Palestine and Its Building Stones. Jerusalem: The Crown Agent for the Colonies, 1928.
Blake, G. S. and Goldschmidt, M. G.Geology and Water Resources of Palestine. Jerusalem: Government Printer, 1947.
Bordure Orientale de la Méditerranée: Carte Lithologique. 1:500,000. 2 sheets. Paris: Délégation Général au Levant de la France combattante, Service des Travaux Publics, 1942.
Brice, W. C.South-West Asia: A Systematic Regional Geography. London, 1966.
Burdon, D. J.Handbook of the Geology of Jordan. Amman: Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan, 1959.
Carte Géologique du Liban. 1:200,000. Prepared by Louis Dubertret. Beirut: Ministére des Travaux Publics, République du Liban, 1955.
Carte Géologique: Liban, Syrie, et Bordure des Pays Voisins. 1:1,000,000. Prepared by Louis Dubertret. Paris: Musée Nationale de l’Histoire Naturelle, 1962.
Carte Pluviométrique du Liban. 1:200,000. Prepared by Rey, J. , S.J., Observatoire de Ksara: Lebanon, 1954.
Clerget, M.Matériaux pour une etude climatologique de la Méditerranée orientale: types de temps. Cairo, 1934.
Cressey, G. G.Crossroads: Land and Life in Southwest Asia. Philadelphia, 1960.
Du Buit, M.Géographie de la Terre Sainte. 2 vols. Paris, 1958.
Fisher, W. B.The Middle East: A Physical, Social, and Regional Geography. 6th edn. New York, 1971.
Géographic de la Palestine. 2 vols. 1933-1938. Reprint, Paris, 1967.
Geography, , compiled from material originally published in the Encyclopaedia Judaica . Jerusalem, 1971.
Geological Map of Jordan (East of the Rift Valley). 1:250,000. Prepared by Quennell, A. . Amman: Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan, 1959.
Geologische Karte von Jordanien. 1:250,000. 5 sheets. Prepared by Bender, F. . Amman: Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan, Natural Resources Authority, 1968.
Ginsberg, H. L.The Words of Ahiqar’, Pritchard, J. B. (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd edn. Princeton, N.J., 1969 (1955).
Grollenberg, L. H.Atlas of the Bible. New York, 1957.
Hitti, P. K.History of Syria, including Lebanon and Palestine. New York, 1951.
Ionides, M. G.Report on the Water Resources of Transjordan and their Development. London: Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations, 1939.
Israel. 1:100,000. 16 sheets. In Hebrew. Jerusalem: Department of Surveys, Israel, 1962.
Kallner-Amiran, D. H.Geomorphology of the Central Negev Highlands’, Israel Exploration Journal, 1 (19501951).
Karmon, Y.Israel: A Regional Geography. New York, 1971.
Levant. 1:200,000. 28 sheets. Paris: Institut Géographique Nationale, 1949.
May, H. G. (ed.). Oxford Bible Atlas. 2nd edn. New York, 1974.
Meyers, E. M., Kraabel, T. and Strange, J. F. , ‘Archaeology and the Rabbinic Tradition at Khirbet Shema': 1970 and 1971 Campaigns’, Biblical Archaeologist, 35 (1972).
Noth, M.The Old Testament World. Trans, by Gruhn, V. I. . Philadelphia, 1966.
Orni, E. and Efrat, E.Geography of Israel. 3rd rev. edn. New York, 1971.
Picard, L.Structure and Evolution of Palestine. Jerusalem: Geological Department of the Hebrew University, 1943.
Plassard, J.Notice explicative de la carte pluviométrique du Liban au 1/200,000. Beirut: Service Météorologique du Liban, 1972.
Regional Climatology of Israel. In Hebrew. Jerusalem: Meteorological Department of the Hebrew University, 1951.
Smith, G. A.The Historical Geography of the Holy Land. 25th edn., 1931. Rev. edn. with introduction by Rowley, H. H. , New York, 1966.
The Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan. 1:100,000. 15 sheets. In Arabic. Amman: Department of Lands and Surveys of the Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan, 1951.
Vaumas, E. . Le Liban: Etude de Géographie Physique. 3 vols. Paris, 1954. ‘Structure et Morphologie du Proche-Orient’, Revue de Géographie Alpine, vol. 49 (1961).
Wright, G. E. and Filson, F. W. (eds.). The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible. Rev. edn. Philadelphia, 1956.