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Biblical Field Studies in Turkey

Biblical Field Studies are funded study trips to biblical sites in Turkey for Bible scholars and teachers in the Majority World. The program is designed to equip Christian teachers and professors who work in the Majority World by introducing them to the geographical, historical, and social contexts of early Christianity. Biblical Field Studies are organized and funded by the Asia Minor Research Center, a US-based 501(c)3.

 

Content: The program involves traveling to and learning at key biblical sites in western Turkey. Each training lasts about one week. The first day involves classroom teaching to introduce the concepts and prepare participants. The other days are spent exploring various biblical sites. Content is provided en route and on-site. The schedule is rather intensive, as a typical day includes multiple site visits and several hours of bus driving. The teaching emphasizes the geographic, historical, archaeological, political, and cultural context of first-century Asia Minor. This provides background to understand the history, literature, and mission of the early Church. Participants are provided learning workbooks and are expected to complete learning assignments throughout the study trip. Approximately 10 applicants are invited to join each year's study tour.

 

Instructors: The Biblical Field Studies are conducted by Drs. Jason Borges (Ph.D., Durham University) and/or Mark Wilson (D.Litt. et Phil., University of South Africa). They are American-born New Testament scholars who live in Antalya, Turkey, and direct the Asia Minor Research Center. The trip is coordinated through Tutku Tours, a leading tour agency for biblical and history tours throughout the Mediterranean.

 

Costs: Biblical Field Studies are fully funded and free for participants. The Asia Minor Research Center covers all expenses that occur in Turkey. This includes hotels (double or triple occupancy), three meals daily, transportation, entrance fees, a certified guide, and tips. The following costs are not included and must be covered by participants: travel to/from Turkey, visa fees, and personal expenses.

 

Requirements: All applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  1. You must reside in the Majority World (generally defined as Africa, Asia and Latin America). It is presumed any applicant is conversant in English.

  2. You must be involved in teaching and/or research about early Christianity. The program is for teachers and scholars, preferably those with a graduate degree in New Testament and teaching in an accredited institution. The program is not for missionaries, pastors, or students. Anyone is welcome to apply, but applicants will be selected based on the impact of their teaching roles.

  3. You must pay for your own travel to/from Turkey. This includes getting your own tourist visa to enter Turkey (info for e-visa or visa from consulate). We regret that no funds are available to help with your travel, so please do not inquire. It is a requirement that each participant cover their own travel costs to/from Turkey. 

Applicants: Prospective participants must complete the online application form. Both men and women are encouraged to apply. Anyone teaching in the Majority World, regardless of their passport country, is encouraged to apply. Preference is granted to applicants raised in the Majority World and teaching there. People from Western countries teaching in the Majority World will also be considered based on availability. Applicants will be evaluated primarily on teaching and academic prospects. The program aims to benefit scholars, professors, and teachers in positions of influence.

2024 Biblical Field Studies: Galatia and Antioch (June 13–20, 2024) focuses Paul's first journey (Acts 13–14), the epistle of Galatians, and Paul's early years in Tarsus and Antioch. The application deadline is February 15, 2024. APPLY HERE. We will begin in Antalya, travel through key biblical and historical sites in Galatia, then conclude with two days in Antioch. The 2024 program offers the unique opportunity to participate in the Antioch Seminar with lectures from NT scholars such as Dr. Ben Witherington. Here is the itinerary: 

  • June 13 Thu    Arrival into Antalya. Free time in downtown ancient Attalia. Dinner and overnight in Antalya.

  • June 14 Fri    Antalya. The morning includes an orientation and introductory lectures to the history and geography of Asi Minor. After lunch, we will visit ancient city of Perge then take a walking tour of Attalia.  

  • June 15 Sat    Pisidian Antioch – Konya (5 hr drive). Drive to Pisidian Antioch, visit the archaeological site and its museum. The city was a major Hellenistic center in the centuries before Paul’s arrival. Take the ancient Roman route to Lystra, then visit Konya’s ancient tel and archaeological museum. Dinner and overnight in Konya.  

  • June 16 Sun    Cappadocia (3 hr drive). En route to Cilicia, we take a day to explore historical ruins from the Byzantine and early Turkic period. We stop at the magnificent Sultanhani outside Aksaray, then hike through Cappadocia’s famous Ihlara Valley with cave churches and their original paintings. Before dinner we stop at a fifth-century church associated with the Cappadocian Father Gregory of Nazianzus. Dinner and overnight in the quaint old-Greek town of Guzelyurt.

  • June 17 Mon    Tarsus – Antioch  (6 hr drive). Drive through Cilicia to Tarsus, the home of the Apostle Paul. En route, we hike along the Roman road that Paul traveled on. In Tarsus, we will visit the Roman baths and the Cardo Maximus street of the Roman city and then Donuktaş, one of the largest temples of the ancient world. Dinner and overnight in Antakya.

  • June 18 Tue     Antioch Seminar. Morning lectures. After lunch visit St Peter Cave Church, Antioch Hippodrome, Archaeology Museum. Dinner and overnight in Antakya.

  • June 19 Wed    Antioch Seminar. (3 hr drive) After breakfast depart to Samandag. Visit the St Simeon Church, Seleucia Pieria & Titus Tunnel. Lunch in Samandag. Drive to Adana. Visit Archaeology Museum and Roman bridge. Dinner and overnight in Adana.

  • June 20 Thu    Departure from Adana. 

 

Other Programs:

 

  • PLANNED: 2025 Seven Ecumenical Councils (June 10–18, 2025) will visit the sites of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Starting in Smyrna (modern Izmir), we visit Ephesus (and other churches of Revelation 2–3), spend a few days in Nicea (modern Iznik) to celebrate the 1700-year anniversary of the First  Ecumenical Council (325 CE), then finish in Istanbul. 

  • COMPLETED: 2023 Seven Churches and Asia (Dec 29, 2023–Jan 5, 2024) focused on the Seven Churches of Revelation and other important Pauline sites (e.g., Attalia, Perga, Colossae, Miletus).

 

Contact: Please direct any questions to Jason Borges (jasangborges@gmail.com). To get announcements about future Biblical Field Studies, subscribe to BiblicalTurkey.org’s blog

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