Beit Tavor

Why did Conrad Schick call his private house Beit Tavor?

Beit Tavor - the house build by Conrad Schick 1882

Beit Tavor – the house build by Conrad Schick 1882

Beit Tavor is the name of Conrad Schick’s private mansion in Jerusalem, were STI – the Swedish Theological Institute – is located since 1951. The house was build by the most famous architect and archaeologist Conrad Schick in 1882. He was Christian, raised in a Lutheran tradition in the area of Württemberg in the most southern parts of Germany.

Jesus was probably a central person for him, as he was raised in a tradition that emphasised upon  “Jesus as Son of God”. He went to Jerusalem at the age of 24 and stayed there the rest of his life. At the age of about 60 he bought the property on the road of the Prophets and build this house.

All houses had a name as identification at this time. Schick chose to name his house “Beit Tavor“.

Beit is both an Arabic and Hebrew word and means house. Many Arabic villages in Palestine are named Beit, for example, Beit Sahur in Bethlehem, Beit Hanina close to Ramallah. The word has the same meaning in Hebrew. It is also the name of the second letter; Alef, Beit, Gimel and so on in the Hebrew alphabet.

Some time the Hebrew word Beit is translated “Gods dwelling place below” – The house of God.

The transfiguration as the Italian artist Rafael made it 1517. The picture is in the Vatican in Rome.

The transfiguration as the Italian artist Rafael made it 1517. The painting is in the Vatican in Rome.

Tavor is the same as Tabor – the biblical mountain Tabor in the Holy Land. That is by tradition the place where Jesus went with some of his disciples, Peter, James and John and was transfigured in the presence of them.

Jesus appears there together with Moses and Elijah and God speaks to him and call him “My son”. It is written in Matthew 17:1-9:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.

The mountain of Tabor

The mountain of Tabor

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!

When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.

The mountain is mentioned a number of times in the old Testament also in the book of Psalms 89:13 “You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name”.

The name Tabor was a good choice, it corresponded both to the Jewish and Christian population. His choice of name gives an idea of his own thinking – he wanted for sure to live in a house important for both Jewish and Christian believers. He also wanted Jesus – the “Son of God” to be central in his house – in Jerusalem! Tabor was then a very excellent choice.

So is “Beit Tavor” today – a place there Abrahams children meet each other on a high level – like on a mountain top! Hopefully “Beit Tavor” might give its visitors a revelation and maybe a transfiguration.

/Ulf

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