A New and Original
Biblical Map of the Holy Land
This 1893 print is billed as a "New and Original Biblical Map of the Holy Land." Biblical maps were maps of Palestine that showed the Israelites’ route through the desert and important sites in Jesus’ life—all based on the latest biblical research. Such maps had been available for centuries, along with modern geographical maps for use by pilgrims and travelers.
This map, which contains information in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, was supposed to be both and even more. It shows current railroad lines alongside the Israelites’ passage through the Red Sea, the path taken by biblical scouts to the land of Canaan, and the site of the Battle of Mount Gilboa. In addition to a legend and illustrations of contemporary "sights" such as the tombs of the Patriarchs and the West Wall of the Temple, it includes a box to enter birthdays. It was evidently designed as a wall decoration and not for practical use.
But who hung a map like this on the wall? It must be seen in the context of Zionism, the movement in Judaism to create a Jewish state. "Buy now—it’s time!" reads the Yiddish picture caption. Settle in Palestine—for it is here, the map implies, that the past and future of the Jewish people come together.
A New and Original Biblical Map of the Holy Land
Jacob Goldzweig (dates of birth and death unknown)
Haifa, Palestine, 1893
84 x 52 cm
Löwenhardt Hirsch Collection, purchased with funds from the Stiftung Deutsche Klassenlotterie