NOTE: Many of the views expressed in the materials listed below do not reflect official positions of the ELCA. This is only a small sample of the many excellent background books.
Armstrong, Karen. Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths. Stories and analysis of 3000 years’ worth of history, politics and religion
Ashrawi, Hanan. This Side of Peace: A Personal Account. An insider view of Middle East diplomacy and Ashrawi’s life story.
Ateek, Naim. Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation. A look at the Bible through Palestinian eyes and its implications for Christian theology and understanding.
Prior, Michael. The Bible and Colonialism: A Moral Critique. An attempt to rescue the Bible from being a blunt instrument in the oppression of people.
Burge, Gary M. Whose Land? Whose Promise?: What Christians Are Not Being Told about Israel.
Carter, Jimmy. Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Despite controversy over the title and criticism of Israeli and U.S. actions, a passionate case for understanding of the Palestinian cause and for a two-state solution from the former President.
Chacour, Elias and David Hazard. Blood Brothers. A memoir of a childhood expulsion from Palestine.
Chacour, Elias and Mary E. Jensen. We Belong to the Land. The story of a Palestinian Israeli parish priest in the Galilee who works for peace and reconciliation.
Cragg, Kenneth. Arab Christian: A History in the Middle East. Christianity in the Middle East and it relationship to Islam.
Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. A “must read” for those who want to understand the issues in their 21st century context.
Gopin, Marc. Holy War, Holy Peace: How Religion Can Bring Peace to the Middle East. A realistic and optimistic consideration of the shared heritage and tensions among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as concrete ideas for peace-making, by an American rabbi, scholar, and conflict negotiator
Gorenberg, Gershom. End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. Analysis of beliefs and conflicts about Jerusalem’s most contested real estate among Jewish, Christian, and Muslim fundamentalists, from a senior editor of the Jerusalem Past
Hafften, Ann E., ed. Water from the Rock: Lutheran Voices from Palestine. Voices and stories from individual Palestinian and American Christians, good resource for an adult class
Harms, Gregory, and Todd Ferry. The Palestine-Israel Conflict: A Basic Introduction. A readable, concise, and balanced account of Holy Land history from ancient Canaan to the 2005 peace negotiations
Hass, Amira. Drinking the Sea at Gaza. An Israeli journalist for Ha'aretz newspaper living in a land under siege.
Hourani, Albert. A History of the Arab Peoples. The standard, comprehensive history and reference book.
Kaltner, John. Islam: What Non-Muslims Should Know. A concise, readable, and reliable introduction.
Kimball, Charles. When Religion Becomes Evil. An even-handed analysis of the potential for religion’s misuse for extremist ends, especially within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam
Knowles, Melody D., Esther Menn, John Pawlikowski, O.S.M., Timothy J. Sandoval. Contesting Texts: Jews and Christians in Conversation about the Bible. An essay collection with several Lutheran contributors; extensive introduction addresses issues of land, liberation theology, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and responses from mainline U.S. church bodies
LeBor, Adam. City of Oranges: An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa. A fair-handed human story of Jaffa’s Arab and Jewish residents
Lutz, Charles P. and Robert O. Smith. Christians and a Land Called Holy: How We Can Foster Justice, Peace, and Hope. A survey of historical, biblical, theological and political dimensions of the conflict, with ideas for how Christians can work for justice and peace
Nassar, Alison Jones, Imm Mathilda. A Bethlehem Mother's Diary. Nassar's writing reflects life under Israeli occupation in Bethlehem from the perspective of a wife and mother.
Neff, Donald. Fifty Years of Israel. A compilation of the author's “Middle East History” columns.
Nusseibeh, Sari. Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life. Palestinian Al Quds University president’s autobiography, tracing the interplay of politics and diplomacy with his own personal and academic life
Raheb, Mitri. Bethlehem Besieged: Stories of Hope in Times of Trouble. A personal account of the violent 2003 events in Bethlehem from the pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church
Raheb, Mitri. I am a Palestinian Christian. A personal, biblical, and theological reflections from a pastor-scholar with provocative views on the concept of “promised land”
Rossing, Barbara. The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation. A Lutheran New Testament professor provides a counterview to that of the popular “Left Behind” series.
Said, Edward W. Covering Islam (revised edition). How the media and the experts determine how we see the rest of the world.
Shabbas, Audry. The Arab World Studies Notebook, Ed., Berkeley, CA: AWAIR, 1998. (Email to order: email@example.com) An excellent basic resource for learning and teaching about the Arab World to all ages.
Shahak, Israel. Jewish History, Jewish Religion. The impact of Jewish law and Zionism in shaping the State of Israel.
Speight, Marston. God is One: the Way of Islam. One of the best short introductions to Islam that is in print.
Strickert, Fred. Rachel Weeping: Jews, Christians, and Muslims at the Fortress Tomb. A scholarly and accessible account of Rachel’s significance for Jews, Christians, and Muslims and of the politicization of her traditional burial site
Tolan, Sandy. The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict as seen through the lens of a home in Ramla, Israel, and the Arab and Jewish families who have lived there and maintain friendship
Wagner, Donald E. Anxious for Armageddon: A Call to Partnership for Middle Eastern and Western Christians. An Evangelical Christian’s involvement in the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict.
Wagner, Donald E. Dying in the Land of Promise: Palestine and Palestinian Christianity from Pentecost to 2000. General historical view plus an examination of the unique roles for Palestinian Christians today.
Wilken, Robert L. The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought. A long history of the Christian presence in the Holy Land
Younan, Munib. Witnessing for Peace: In Jerusalem and the World. An autobiographical and spiritual testimony from the Lutheran Bishop in Jerusalem