The Holy Land culture and landscape and the spiritual world of its inhabitants two thousand years ago were essential factors in the crystallization of the ideas of Christianity and in the formation of its visual heritage; to a large extent, they were also instrumental in shaping the histories of Europe and the Mediterranean countries, and their influence is still felt today. The beginning of this historical process lies in the figure of Jesus on Nazareth, an itinerant preacher with a charismatic personality and extraordinary powers, who lived most of his short life in the Galilee and spent his final days in Jerusalem.
Jesus of Nazareth, Pontius Pilate, and the Last Supper are names which conjure up images of one of western civilization's most dramatic stories - that of the birth of Christianity. It has been a uniquely challenging undertaking to attempts to illustrate this remarkable history|
through an exhibition and catalogue devoted to the archaeology of the Holy Land in the time of Jesus and in the Byzantine period. Although excavations conducted over the past one hundred fifty years have revealed a wealth of finds relating to this first chapter in the history of Christianity, this is the first time that these artifacts have been presented in a comprehensive book. The book brings together hundreds of objects from sites throughout Israel in order to illuminate the character of the Holy Land during this crucial time.