The Tantur Experience
The Tantur Experience includes classroom instruction in such topics as Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, Biblical Geography, Eastern Christianity, the History of the Middle East, and Spirituality. Classroom instruction is also woven into our guided tours and excursions to religious and historical sites in the Holy Land, as well as engagement with the people of this region. Through encounter with people, traditions, and places, our intention is to immerse our visitors into one of the most intricate historical, religious, cultural, and political places in the world today, so that you may discover for yourself what the Holy Land truly is.
Spirituality and Pilgrimage
At the heart of all our programs lies the belief that on every step of the journey, we are engaged in a pilgrimage. The surroundings of Tantur create an ideal environment for spiritual reflection and our Continuing Education Programs typically offer you the opportunity to both participate in formal spiritual retreats and take time off for your own spiritual renewal.
St. Jerome famously stated, “Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in Scripture and the fifth you will find in the land they call Holy.” Tantur continues this tradition established in the early days of Christianity of providing a culture of encounter of our faith with the physical locations of the Bible and the Early Church.
“Renewing my baptism vows at the River Jordan - I would have traveled to there and straight back for that experience alone. Simply awesome.”
- Elaine, Lindisfarne College of Theology.
As the home to a rich and complex history, a wealth of archaeological sites, and a diversity of peoples, beliefs, and faiths, the Holy Land offers sojourners a once in a lifetime opportunity for human and cultural encounters. The Holy Land is sometimes considered an open-air museum for archaeology. Our programs incorporate guided visits to museums and institutions, lectures by local experts, and field visits to national parks, churches, monasteries, and archaeological sites. These visits allow participants to quite literally “get into the trenches” to understand the foundation of their faith and the history of the land.
From its founding, Tantur has been committed to addressing the real-world socio-political impact of the conflicts within the present-day Holy Land. Through lectures, speaking panels, field visits, and more, we will listen to and discuss Israeli/Palestinian narratives, paying special attention to the past and present-day circumstances of refugees of different backgrounds.
In Jerusalem, many peoples, beliefs, and faiths converge. Our programs aim to give participants an in-depth understanding and appreciation of the rich diversity of the peoples who live in the region, which we believe is a key component in understanding the land. Whether on program tours or during free days, we will enjoy exhibitions, traditional cultural and ethnic performances and concerts, visit markets, handicraft shops, and production centers, and sample regional food and cuisine.
At Tantur, our mission begins in our community. Here you will encounter a diverse group of people from different Christian denominations, religions, nationalities, and ages. The community living at Tantur is constantly in flux, comprised at any given time of participants in our Continuing Education Programs, undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Notre Dame, visiting church groups, scholars, university, and seminary students, and members of international organizations working as volunteers at Tantur.
Our Ecumenical Evening Prayer and meal times are “anchor points” in our days since they bring the whole Tantur community together to pray and share meals. Various other formal and informal activities add to the building of community, including lectures, special holiday celebrations, movie nights, and various cultural events. When you come to Tantur, we hope that you, too, will feel welcome in our community and will experience how your presence with us contributes to our goals of ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, and peacebuilding.
Woven into the Tantur Experience, which distinguishes our programs from others, is the amount of free time offered. While our schedule usually includes a lecture or trip for six days of the week, we schedule “free time” on Sundays (as well as other free days or half days) giving participants an opportunity to personalize their encounter in the Holy Land. Some choose to visit museums, explore and shop in the Old City of Jerusalem or Bethlehem, revisit some sites, or just enjoy the peacefulness of our grounds or our Library.