Every few years Wycliffe College, a graduate school of theology at the University of Toronto, sponsors a ten-day tour for its students. They have almost exclusive access to guide (a true Guide's Guide) who is also a New Testament Professor: Dr Steven Notley. Steve is a warm, fun and extremely informed Christian who formerly taught at the Institute for Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem. He lived in Jerusalem for 12 years and holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. With Steve as a New Testament scholar and Dr Glen Taylor, Honorary Assistant at Almaguin Parish, as an Old Testament scholar who has also lived and studied archaeology in Israel, they are able to offer an informed, but also fun and uplifting, tour that Glen claims is the best available anywhere. He writes:
We will stay in very good hotels, travel in an air-conditioned bus and be pampered from start to finish. (That said, prepare for the few hardships and curve balls that can come with international travel.) Although we will visit most of the sites you would expect, Steve and I have a few off-the-beaten-path sites that we consider real gems that you will not likely visit with other groups. This owes to the fact that Steve is the co-author of the most up-to-date and authoritative Atlas of ancient Israel and knows the land like the back of his hand; as well I have scholarly connections that will allow us into a place or two not normally accessible. Every time in the past, the chemistry between our keen participants, and the humorous rapprochement between Steve, I and our bus driver has proven to make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience of learning, fun, and, most importantly, spiritual refreshment.
There will be times when the academic input will be more than most if not all of us are able to take in, but this I believe is preferable to too little (some tours can consist of cliches and fluff). There is a binder of essays, maps, etc. that you will each receive that is full of rare, rich extra information that reflects the latest in scholarship. Be consoled: You can always politely tune out and there are no exams (unless you are a Wycliffe student taking the trip for academic credit.)
Please consider this your personal invitation!
Thanks--and every blessing in Christ,
Dr Glen Taylor
Associate Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Proclamation
Israel Tour Brochure (pdf)