At the heart of ancient Palestine is the region known as the Shephelah, a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judaean Mountains to the east with the wide, flat expanse of the Mediterranean plain. It is an area of breathtaking beauty, home to vineyards and wheat fields and forests of sycamore and terebinth. It is also of great strategic importance.
This is how Malcolm Gladwell begins his new book, released last fall, David and Goliath.
The Shephelah, Gladwell notes, was where John Hyrcanus of the Maccabees fought the Seleucid Empire (he calls “Syria”), before forcibly converting the inhabitants . . . [more]