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Exploring the Middle East. The Arabian Peninsula and  the Fertile Crescent. Jordan & Israel. The next stop on  Mrs. Brecht's journey  is Jordan.  This set of slides will discuss Jordan, as well as Israel and Palestine,  and will talk about the  relationship among Christianity, Judaism,

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Exploring the middle east l.jpg

Exploring the Middle East

The Arabian Peninsula and 

the Fertile Crescent


Jordan israel l.jpg
Jordan & Israel

The next stop on 

Mrs. Brecht's journey 

is Jordan. 

This set of slides will

discuss Jordan, as well

as Israel and Palestine, 

and will talk about the 

relationship among

Christianity, Judaism,

and Islam.


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Jordan & Israel 

(1) On your map, outline Jordan. Shade in and label the Dead Sea, the River Jordan, and the Mediterranean Sea. 

Mrs. Brecht will be visiting two places in Jordan: the capital, Amman, and the ancient city of Petra. 

(2) Mark and label Amman and Petra on your map.  Label Jerusalem (the next stop on Mrs. Brecht's journey) as well. 


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Jordan & Israel

Petra is known as the Lost City of Stone or the Ancient City of Stone.  It is considered one of the "new" wonders of the ancient world.  If you are interested in learning more about Petra, or seeing pictures of what it looks like, the following are helpful websites.  If you have time at the end of this slideshow, return to this slide, check out the websites, and answer the bonus question below. 

Petra exhibition website by American Natural History Museum

Petra excavation website by Brown University

BONUS: Give one interesting fact you learned about Petra from one of these websites.  


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Jordan & Israel

The the Middle East is an important part of the world for Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.  Let's start again by seeing where you are in your knowledge about this area. Remember there are no wrong answers! 

(3) Based on what you have learned in your past religion classes, what you learned in the last Middle East slideshow, and what you already know, please think about why the Middle East is important to these religious groups. 

(a) Why is the Middle East important for Christians?

(b) Why is the Middle East important for Jews?

(c) Why is the Middle East important for Muslims?


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Jordan & Israel

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty.  In 1979, Egypt and Israel also signed a peace treaty.  

Jordan's peace treaty with Israel differs from the Egypt-Israel peace treaty in that it is more focused on true partnership and cooperation rather than just security concerns.  

Jordan is a Middle Eastern country that is unique in its peace-oriented relationship with Israel. Today's slideshow aims to explain more about the relationship the Middle Eastern countries have to each other, for religious, historical, and geographical reasons.

If you are interested in reading more about this, here's the link to a good article: http://www.meforum.org/240/the-jordan-israel-peace-treaty


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Jordan & Israel

Use the following link to access web based versions of the Bible.  Select the New International Version or the New American Standard Bible. Search the Bible for passages about Abraham.

Bible Gateway website

(4) Write out one passage (a few verses) from the Old Testament that mentions Abraham. 

(5) Write out one passage (a few verses) from one of the the New Testament epistles (letters) that mentions Abraham.  


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Jordan & Israel

Think about the passages you've written out.  What is Abraham doing in these biblical stories? What does he do or say? What do other do or say about him?

Please give your hypothesis to the following critical thinking questions:

(6) Why is Abraham mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament?    

(7) What does this suggest about Abraham--that he is both a part of the Old Testament (also known as the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament?


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Jordan & Israel

In the story in Genesis (maybe even the passage you wrote out came from here, Abraham makes a covenant with God. God offers to give Abraham many descendants.  They will be God's chosen people and will be blessed, protected, and made great by God.  God offers all this to Abraham because Abraham agrees to live in a foreign land. In short, God offers Abraham a relationship, "I will be your God, and you will be my people," that comes along with all kinds of different perks like land to live on and descendants to live on it. 

Abraham is traditionally considered to be the first Jew because of the covenant.  Christians continue to recognize Abraham as the first prophet. 


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Jordan & Israel

Read the following passage from the Qur'an (the Muslim holy book).  

Remember when his Lord tested Abraham with with certain rulings and how Abraham fulfilled them.  God said, "I shall appoint you an exemplar to mankind." Abraham said, "And also my descendants."...Who can willfully abandon the religion of Abraham unless it be one who makes a fool of himself? We chose Abraham in this worth and in the hereafter he shall be among the righteous?

Surah 2:125, 2:130


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Jordan & Israel

Muslims, like Christians and Jews, also see Abraham as the first prophet.

Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are called the Abrahamic religions.  

(8) Based on what you have read, provide a definition for Abrahamic.  


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Jordan & Israel

Take a second look at the three symbols. 

The cross represents Christianity, and is a symbol of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection.

The Star of David represents Judaism.  This is a symbol of the shield of King David, who achieved victory in battle with God's help. Today, the star appears on Israel's flag. 

The final symbol is the Arabic script for Allah, or, God. 


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Jordan & Israel

Here is a map of Abraham's route he took from his homeland to the foreign Land.  


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Jordan & Israel

(9) Reproduce this route on your own map.  

(10) About how many miles did Abraham and his people travel? 

(11) What modern day country did Abraham end up in?


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Jordan & Israel

Let's take a moment to take stock of what we learned so far and think about this in terms of religious beliefs. 


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Jordan & Israel

Let's take a moment to take stock of what we learned so far and think about this in terms of religious beliefs. 

(i) Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have the story of Abraham's convenant with God in their holy books. 


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Jordan & Israel

Let's take a moment to take stock of what we learned so far and think about this in terms of religious beliefs. 

(i) Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have the story of Abraham's convenant with God in their holy books. 

(ii) The story is about Abraham making a promise with God.  For Abraham, this meant that he and his descendants would be given land. We saw on the map a few slides ago where this land is. 


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Jordan & Israel

Let's take a moment to take stock of what we learned so far and think about this in terms of religious beliefs. 

(i) Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have the story of Abraham's convenant with God in their holy books. 

(ii) The story is about Abraham making a promise with God.  For Abraham, this meant that he and his descendants would be given land. We saw on the map a few slides ago where this land is. 

(iii) Christians, Jews, and Muslims all make a claim to Abraham. In other words, each of these groups see themselves as children or descendants of Abraham and they all call him a common "father."


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Jordan & Israel

Let's take a moment to take stock of what we learned so far and think about this in terms of religious beliefs. 

(i) Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all have the story of Abraham's convenant with God in their holy books. 

(ii) The story is about Abraham making a promise with God.  For Abraham, this meant that he and his descendants would be given land. We saw on the map a few slides ago where this land is. 

(iii) Christians, Jews, and Muslims all make a claim to Abraham. In other words, each of these groups see themselves as children or descendants of Abraham and they all call him a common "father."

(iv) So if God promised Abraham and his descendants land and each Christianity, Judaism, and Islam think of themselves as Abraham's descendants in some sense, then each of these groups also might think that the land promised is promised to their particular group.


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Jordan & Israel

Let's also take a moment to review a little bit about history.


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Jordan & Israel

Let's also take a moment to review a little bit about history.

(i) Judaism began with God's promise to Abraham.  


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Jordan & Israel

Let's also take a moment to review a little bit about history.

(i) Judaism began with God's promise to Abraham.  

(ii) Christianity began with Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, ministered in Galilee, and was crucified and raised in Jerusalem. 


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Jordan & Israel

Let's also take a moment to review a little bit about history.

(i) Judaism began with God's promise to Abraham.  

(ii) Christianity began with Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, ministered in Galilee, and was crucified and raised in Jerusalem. 

(iii) Islam began with Muhammad, as we learned in the last slide show, on the Arabian Peninsula in Mecca.  


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Jordan & Israel

Let's also take a moment to review a little bit about history.

(i) Judaism began with God's promise to Abraham.  

(ii) Christianity began with Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, ministered in Galilee, and was crucified and raised in Jerusalem. 

(iii) Islam began with Muhammad, as we learned in the last slide show, on the Arabian Peninsula in Mecca.  

(iv) Since you learned about the Middle East from the last slideshow, you should have a rough idea in your head about the percentage of the population in Middle Eastern countries that is Muslim.  To oversimplify the story, the Middle East is today largely Muslim.  Christian and Jewish people spread throughout the world (for various reasons), but Muslims tended to remain on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Fertile Crescent.


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Jordan & Israel

In 1947, the state of Palestinian was divided to establish the state of Israel, creating two separate homelands: one for Arabs and one for Jewish people. 

As you examine the maps, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Christians, Jews and Muslims all see themselves as children of Abraham.    

  • Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all began in this area of the world.  

  • The Middle East is today mainly populated by Muslims and Mecca, on the Arabian Peninsula, is a highly significant holy site for Muslims.









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Jordan & Israel

As you can see, the relationship among the Jewish state of Israel, the Arab state of Palestine, and their neighbors grows out of an immensely complex and tangled history.  

If you are interested in learning more about this history, there are very good resources through the following websites. 

Israel's Story in Maps

Israel's Changing Borders

PBS Global Connections


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Jordan & Israel

For your final assignment of this slideshow and so you can gain a better idea of some of the real events that take place in this area of the world, look at the following website. 

Pluralism Project International News Tracker

*If link is broken please go to next slide for information about how to get to the PP news tracker. 

Choose one of these articles and read it carefully.  

(12) Write down 4-5 bullet points about what happens in the story that this article relates.  

(13) Conclude with a comment, insight, or question pertaining to the information you obtain from this article.


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Jordan & Israel

Begin at www.pluralism.org (The Pluralism Project of Harvard University) 

On left hand side of the website, select the News Services button, and following that, the international news options.

On the left hand side of that page, see the title Key Themes and click on "more..." under that heading.

Finally, select the Peace/War option.  The website will give you links to recent news stories that pertain to this issue.  


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