Igeret Orchot Olam, published in 1586 by Rabbi Abraham ben Mordechai Farissol, and containing the earliest known mention of the New World in a Jewish book, is up for auction in Jerusalem.
The book, written in Venice, contains descriptions of the Americas and the sub-Saharan region of Africa. It also contains handwritten notes from a well known 17th century rabbi, the UK Jewish News reported.
The book, which contains copper etched illustrations and was described by Kedem Auction House as offering “a closeup of a world we know little about,” is divided into two parts. The first contains a description of the Earth, its continents, climates and countries. The second talks about the Spanish and Portuguese explorers who were discovering the New World at the time, including a story about explorer Vasco de Gama sailing around the Cape of Good Hope while travelling to India.
There is a chapter that is all about the newly found land of America, with details about its landscape and geography and a section about “tall mountains and vast forests full of ferocious animals and reptiles.”
The book talks about the inhabitants of the Americas: Indigenous tribes and their way of life and culture and wars they fought.
Rabbi Farissol also mentions the location for the Garden of Eden and the area beyond into which the Ten Lost Tribes disappeared.