H V Morton: In the Steps of the Master

June 12, 2015

9780306810817I know nothing about HV Morton (yet) who travelled through Palestine some eighty years ago to write this book; there is a companion volume about the travels and world of St Paul. It is a thoughtful and well-written book, illustrated by old, sepia photographs of various places of significance on his travels and in the life of Jesus Christ.

Palestine was a country ruled by the British under a mandate from the League of Nations at the time, inhabited by Jews (some) Arabs and Christians, who, it seems from his account, got along with each other, more or less. What has changed in the intervening years is obviously the creation of the Israeli state, and a serious reduction of the numbers of Christians and Arabs living there.

A true believer is travelling and writing, so places and events from 2000 years ago are treated with respect and reverence, and illustrated by copious quotations from Christian scripture. Morton pays great attention to details, and adds much contextual information and explanation, which for him add veracity and conviction to the gospel accounts.

I found it an interesting read; what particularly impressed me was the sheer variety of Christian churches present in the holy places, and also the smallness of the country, the territory in which Jesus moved, preached and lived – Morton compares it to the size of Devon. He also manages to explain some of the incredible complexities of the Roman attempts to rule and subdue the Jews. A historical piece, more than anything.

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