As you know, I have been in Turkey the last two weeks visiting various sites. My wife and I spent 14 days touring the country and were able to see a number of biblical, early Christian, Islamic and modern sites. Some of the places we visited included four of the seven cities from Revelation (Pergamum, Sardis, Ephesus, Laodicea) as well as the region that was known as Galatia and Cappadocia. Many of the sites we visited somehow played an important part in Christian history.
I have been to Israel many times. We visited Greece in 2007, but this was our first venture into Turkey (we visited Ephesus for 2 hours in 2007, but that hardly counts). I commented to Lori at one point in the trip that while Judea and Palestine is where Christianity was born, Turkey is where it was raised and matured. In addition to the numerous cities that appear in the book of Acts and Paul's letters there is also the rich history that includes important events like the council of Nicea, for instance.
While we were in Turkey we had chance to have dinner with the owner of Tutku Tours, Levent Oral. I enjoyed getting to know Levent and look forward to bringing back students in the future. Tutku did an excellent job setting up our tour, provided us with a knowledgeable, helpful guide who was flexible enough to make a last minute addition of Laodicea. I highly recommend Tutku if you are thinking about going to Turkey.
At dinner that night Levent gave me a signed copy of Mark Wilson's Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor (Ege Yayinlari ,2010). This is an excellent resource that I used both before and during the trip. Mark Wilson has lived and guided in Turkey for more than a decade and is also a fine New Testament scholar. I have known Mark for almost 20 years and highly recommend his book. He combines important historical, archaeological and biblical information in an easy to use guide. I believe that Mark's guide will become for Turkey what Jerome Murph- O'connor's guide has been for Israel.
Therefore, today's giveaway is sponsored by Tutku Tours and I am giving away a signed copy of Mark's book. Normally my book giveaways only last a couple of days. This time, however, I am going to allow it to run for a week. That means that I will choose a winner by 9:00 am (EST) on Monday, July 2nd. If you want to enter for a chance to win this copy of Mark Wilson's fine book put your name below and check back next Monday to see if you won. Also, why not take a moment an visit our sponsor Tutku Tours and perhaps plan a trip in the future.