“Seeing is Believing: The Rise of Holy Land Tourism and Evangelical Christian Zionism after 1967”
History, Harvard University
Monday, October 9, 2017
212 University Club Building
Since the 1960s, American evangelical Christians have flocked to Holy Land sites in Israel and Palestine in ever-increasing numbers. In 2016, more than 380,000 American evangelicals visited Israel. Holy Land tourism has become a vital industry for Israel’s economy, as well as an important part of the story of modern Christian Zionism—the Christian ideology and movement to support the state of Israel. The rise of Holy Land tourism is a window into how evangelical Christians and Israelis have redefined Jewish-Christian relations after 1967 to serve state interests. It has also spurred a growing identification among evangelicals with Israel as their “spiritual home.” In this talk I will cover the origins of Christian political tourism in Israel, the religio-political ideology that has shaped modern Holy Land tourism, and the role of tourism in U.S.-Israel relations. I will contextualize Holy Land tourism within my forthcoming book studying the transnational history of Christian Zionism after 1948, A Covenant of the Mind: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship(University of Pennsylvania Press).
Dan Hummel received his PhD in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. In 2016-17, he was the Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Public Policy at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School. He has published his research in forums including Religion & American Culture, Religions, and Religion & Politics while also writing at the Washington Post and First Things, among other outlets. His forthcoming book, to be published with the University of Pennsylvania Press, is titled A Covenant of the Mind: Evangelicals, Israel, and the Construction of a Special Relationship. Recently he helped launch Voices & Visions, an online primary source reader for teaching U.S. foreign relations that combines academic scholarship with digital technology.