Samuel Koltov

A New Home for Old – and New – Stories

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Credit: Shmuel Aryeh Koltov
The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Another blogger has found his way to the Times of Israel blogs, and – from what I can see – I will be in good company. There already are a lot of interesting blogs, focusing on different subjects and themes, so I hope I can bring something new, something – hopefully – interesting.

Temple of Oboda, Avdat, Negev
Credit: Shmuel Aryeh Koltov

As the title of this blog post tries to state, this will be about stories, old and new. Or maybe I should rather use “narratives”, “accounts”, “retellings”, or something fourth. Or all of them. To be clear, in this blog, I will try to present the readers with those stories, narratives, retellings, etc., that rarely get told. Both about familiar and unfamiliar subjects, but all connected to this amazing place that some call Israel, others call Palestine, which for some is holy, for others less so, but – I hope – is something special for all of us.

The Byzantine church on Masada, connected to Lavra Marda.
Credit: Shmuel Aryeh Koltov

I will, among other things, talk about the Nabataeans who settled the Negev and beyond back during the time of the Second Temple and/or Jesus, before they were annexed by the Romans and eventually assimilated into the Byzantine and later Islamic empires. I will look at the alternative expressions of Judaism, which have been part of these lands. We will also get to know a little more about the first – and later – Muslim inhabitants. And of course, I will be sharing some thoughts and observations of the Christianities of the land.

The Mosque of Shivta, Negev
Credit: Shmuel Aryeh Koltov

What I will try to refrain from is the mainstream narratives, the big scoping speeches, and stories that have been polished into amazing accounts of who- or whatever has to be promoted as the “true account”, nor do I wish to take part in the “us vs. them”, which for many seems such a crucial aspect of modern tribalism. Of course, I have my opinions and I might express them, but one of the goals of this blog is to show that this place, this Holy Land, consists of a myriad of accounts, narratives, and stories, and that we only will be able to fully appreciate it when we have a better sense of the variety of our shared home.

A Jew immersed in prayer, Jerusalem
Credit: Shmuel Aryeh Koltov

I hope that you will find the subjects and posts interesting. I’m looking forward to get acquainted with you all.

– Samuel

About the Author
Amateur historian wanting to present alternative narratives of the Holy Land.
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