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Nazareth Village and the Creation of the Holy Land in Israel-Palestine The Question of Evangelical Orthodoxy

This article makes useful for the study of Christianity Talal Asad’s concept of Islam as a discursive tradition. It investigates how a particular theological position and practice, or “orthodoxy,” within evangelicalism is maintained and lived out. Its goal is to highlight evangelical orthodoxy as a relationship of power and explore the ways in which evangelical beliefs and practice are conditioned by and result in social and political consequences. To do this, it explores the example of the living history museum Nazareth Village in Israel-Palestine, developed jointly by American and Palestinian Israeli evangelicals, which reconstructs Jewish first-century life in the center of a Palestinian Israeli town. I argue that Nazareth Village recreates a particular imagination of the biblical first century that animates evangelical imaginations of and investments in what Israel ought to be like today. The powerful theologies that propel it stand in contrast to local Palestinian evangelical ideas of the “Holy Land.”