Garo Nalbandian

St. George’s monastery astonishes the unsuspecting traveler who comes upon it in the dramatic wilderness along the Wadi Qelt, between Jerusalem and Jericho. Rebuilt in the 19th century, St. George’s (originally called Cosiba) contains the remains of a gatehouse, an entrance courtyard, two churches and three burial caves from the Byzantine period (fourth-seventh centuries). Young Israeli scholars in the past decade have revolutionized our knowledge of Byzantine-era monasteries, bringing to light long-forgotten monastic centers and improving our understanding of how the monasteries were organized and how the monks lived. Prominent among them is our author Yizhar Hirschfeld, who profiles St. George’s and other important monasteries in the accompanying article.