Book: Exploring the Holy Land
Chapter: 1. George Grove and the Establishment of the Palestine Exploration Fund
This article surveys the growing thirst for factual evidence relating to the world of the Bible in mid-19th century Britain and early tentative efforts to address this demand. It was against this background that the polymath, George Grove sought to establish a secular institution devoted to the multidisciplinary study of the Southern Levant based on scientific principles. Evidence is martialled to show that it was Grove’s exceptional combination of talents – his organisational and networking skills, natural intelligence, wide interests, including a profound knowledge of the geography of the Bible – that enabled him to recruit some of the most illustrious figures of Victorian Britain to help him realise this ambition in 1865, with the establishment of the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF).