By the end of the topic, pupils should be able to:
  • Describe the background of the gospel of Luke.
  • Link the gospel of Luke with the geography, climate, agriculture and the industry of Palestine

1.1 Background

1.1.1 Palestine

a) The Geography of Palestine

Palestine is situated at the south- eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea and it is not more than a 160 km long. It is located to the south of Lebanon and to the west of Jordan. Palestine geography consists of four regions in the country and these are Jordan valley, coastal plains, Mountains and Southern Desert.

b) Climate

  • This means that there is more rain in the eastern part of Palestine and gets hotter than in the southern parts.
  •  The summer season in Palestine is relieved by gentle wind that blows from the Mediterranean Sea and although the days of the summers are hot, the evenings are cool. Average temperature records are between 30-35 degrees Celsius per day.
  • The rainy season in Palestine is between November and April.
  • Winter can get rather cold and wet. Southern areas can get uncomfortably hot during the summer months.
  • In the whole daytime, the land of Palestine has seven hours of sunshine, in the winter and in the summer season, there is thirteen hours of sunshine.

c) Agriculture

  •  Palestine was an agro based economic country.
  • Farming generated a form of employment to residents. Farmers grew crops such as wheat, millet, vine grapes, and sorghum.
  • At the time of Christ, wheat was the principal cereal. Vine produced abundant wine and olive provided the oil for lighting and washing.
  •  Animal husbandry was practiced in Palestine except for the Transjordan belt.
  • Much land was owned by landlords and managed by Bailiffs (stewards).
  • Rent was paid in produce of which was a fixed amount.

d) Industry and Trade Routes

  • Industry was not highly developed in Palestine although Palestine was the largest producer of oil, flowers, and vine grapes.
  •  Palestine exported dried fish, linen, flowers and sheep wool to the surrounding nations.
  •  Palestine had no natural harbor but an important seaport was constructed at Caesarea which promoted merchants and foreign investors to trade with Palestine.