My name is Samuel, and you have arrived to my website. Welcome!
I’m originally from Denmark but have spent the last 12 years or so in Israel/Palestine, whichever you prefer. These 12 years have allowed me to study a little, work a lot, and make a wonderful family. Great success!
Since this website has a lot to do with what I study, religion, culture, and history, I might throw in a comment or two about that. Basically, I did a BA in Hebrew studies at the University of Copenhagen, did a Graduate course in Religious Studies, focusing on the comparative study of the history and law of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (particularly in the Holy Land), and finally an MA in Modern Middle Eastern studies, focusing on the sociological and anthropological study of religion in Israel. Yeah, you’ll need to be a geek for those studies. And it doesn’t secure a job unless you’re really good at it. I’m not, I just did pretty okay. But that’s it, it gave me enough knowledge that I want to share some of it with you guys. And enough to make me realize that what we typically know about this place, that is, Israel/Palestine, often is too little to really give us a good understanding of that place.
So let’s get to it. What is this website about? Well, it’s about the story and history of what traditionally has been called the “Holy Land”. I do want to point out though, this focus is less politically and more historically. I want to tell stories about this wonderful place, which people typically won’t hear about. Some people know a lot about the Jewish parts, some more about the Christian parts, and again some know more about the Islamic parts of it. I’ll try to cover it all and in that focus on both more central and less known parts of the place. You can say that the mission statement of this website is to document the history of the “Holy Land” and share knowledge about it.
Finally, and this is also important since it will have a great impact on the website, I will use a lot of visual presentations. Some years ago I found a great love for photography, and have found a way to incorporate this into my attempt to talk stories about the wonderful place which some call Palestine, others call Israel, and others again just don’t care that much about. You should though, just not for the reasons often presented in the media.
Follow to find out why.
Clarification of subsections:
While this website isn’t acting as a blog as such, and I want it to stay focused on a certain subject, I also feel the need to write about other interests, many of them which can be directly or indirectly connected to the main subject of this website. Therefore I have decided to create the following subsections:
As is probably clear, I have decided to name these subsections “Notes on…” referring to the subject in focus. Below I will explain the purpose of each subsection.
Notes on Architecture
While not being an architect myself, nor with any particular education on the subject (besides some courses in Islamic architecture), I still have a fondness for architecture which is expressed in my interest in architectural photography. This has allowed me to understand the rules and thoughts of architecture. While few might think about architecture this way, I do consider it an expression of artistic and creative thought. While the term “architecture” might most often be used in the context of “modern”, it is, of course, a concept that goes back to antiquity. This will, I hope, also be expressed in my work covering the various visual elements of the Holy Land.
I will both be sharing photos of architecture, discussing architecture, and – hopefully – sharing whatever I learn down the way.
Notes on Photography
I love photography. That more or less covers it all. Since I made (rather than took) my first real image back in May 2018 I have spent every day some way or another thinking about photography. Not only, but it’s always been an element of my daily routine. And while I don’t consider myself an expert or master, I do think that I have something to share in this regard. Photography allowed me to be able to express myself in a way, which I previously couldn’t do. Being an academic with a tendency to write too much and too complicated, photography allowed me to make things simple, to cut to the core, and focus on just one thing and present that thing alone.
In this subsection, I will obviously write about photography. The philosophy of photographers, principles, methods, and so on. I will also, because I think it can be important, to talk about gear. But I will refrain from dealing with it in an ???? way, but rather attempt to cut to the core. For example, rather than railing about how many frames a second the newest camera model can shoot, I’ll talk about it in the context of my own usage and how it might be relevant to you. Very few people need the newest models with all their amazing specifications. Most don’t even need most of what the more upscale models offer. While I do like to talk about gear, I want it to be relevant. Both to myself and the reader. Besides, most people who need the expensive gear already know that this is the case, and they won’t read about it on websites like mine, nor go to YouTube to see YouTubers talk about it. As the saying goes: KISS (keep it simple, stupid), so that’s what I’ll try to do.
Notes on History of the Holy Land
I have a Graduate degree from Hebrew University, where I focused on the comparative study of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in case anyone is in doubt – there are more, I know). These three religions have played a crucial role in what is popularly (unpopularly?) known as “the Holy Land”. Being the academic I am (I also have a Master’s degree from the University of Copenhagen, in case someone points out that a Graduate degree doesn’t make you an academic) I do love to write long and a lot about various issues connected with my focus of studies. That’s what I want to do here.
However, I have to admit that my studies were very focused on a specific period of time, that is, late antiquity to the middle of medieval times, so I’m lacking when it comes to other periods of time. However, because of my focus on this website, I’m going to focus backward in time, covering antiquity to the late bronze age. It’s my experience that these periods are the most interesting, both to study, write about, and document. That is, the focus will go from late Biblical times, covering the Second Temple period and antiquity until the advent of Islam, including the Umayyad rule. This is obviously a very expansive period of time, and I make no illusions that I will be able to cover it fully nor that I will have an extensive amount of posts or articles within any time soon. But it will be there for whoever should find interest in it. And, maybe most importantly, it will create the base for anything else I will do on the website, giving me a good knowledge about the various subjects, so my presentations will be more than just “here are some ruins, they seem old, they’re probably either Jewish, Christian, maybe Muslim. Or something else. Here’s a nice photo, have a good day!” You get the idea.