A New Testament Geography: Description, Perspectives, and Implications for the Field of Geography.
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Geography and Anthropology
The general purpose of this study is to relate the fields of geography and religion at both the academic and the practical levels. Primarily, it investigates the New Testament description of the land and its human occupancy. Secondarily, it identifies New Testament attitudes toward geography and suggests implications for its study and practice. It describes the geography, both physical and human, for each of the five classes of the document's book in a separate chapter. The chapter on the synoptic gospels discusses mountains, weather, biogeography, agriculture, occupations, and urban geography. Four kinds of soil reveal different responses to the word. While the house of the wise builder stands against the storm, that of the foolish builder falls. In the gospel of John, one's attitude is more important than terrestrial location in the worship of God. The messiah is the true vine and the good shepherd. In Acts, Paul is shipwrecked on the way to Rome. The early church holds possessions in common and distributes to the needy. In the epistles, Paul uses the olive tree to illustrate God's dealings with Jews and Gentiles. Abraham looks for a city designed and built by God. Jerusalem above is a model for the earthly city. New heavens and a new earth are coming. In Revelation, trumpet and bowl plagues devastate much land and water. The righteous and the wicked are harvested at the eschaton. The conclusion identifies seven New Testament attitudes toward geography---the distinction between the literal and the symbolic, teleology in creation, heavenly counterparts, the worlds above and below, the temporality of the world, the destiny of the world, and God as the author of geography. The conclusion also discusses implications for the field of geography. Humans as stewards of the creation are responsible to God. Both the study of specific cases and the formulation of general laws are proper activities. Both physical and human components may form a united geography. Geography has a place for both qualitative and quantitative statements. That the world is passing away may suggest directing research to worthy rather than trivial issues.
Alphin, George, "A New Testament Geography: Description, Perspectives, and Implications for the Field of Geography." (2001). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 261.