Norimbergae (Nuremberg): Petrum Conradum Monathum, 1716. Second revised. Hardcover. Large octavo. , 787, pp. Original full velim with gold lettering and tooling on spine. Marbled paper edges. Additional engraved title page. Frontispiece portrait of the author. Title-page in red and black lettering with engraved vignette. Decorative head-, tailpieces, and initials. This remarkable work is an early geographical survey of biblical Palestine. Reland was eminently qualified to conduct this exhaustive survey: He was a geographer, cartographer and a polylinguist, possessing - in addition to the European languages - full command of Hebrew, Arabic and classical Greek. His journey encompassed 2500 sites mentioned in the Bible, Mishna and Talmud. He began by mapping Eretz Israel, employing plane-table topography, triangulation and a sextant for an extremely accurate map.... He then identified each and every site mentioned in the Bible, Mishna and Talmud with the source of its name. If it was a Jewish source, he quoted the appropriate text from Scripture. If the place name was Roman or Greek in origin, he supplied the source for those. He also conducted a census of each such habitation, with the following data:
1. Not one place in Eretz Israel has a name that originates in Arabic.
Place names are Hebrew, Greek or Roman (Latin), that were given meaningless Arabic derivations. Akko, Haifa, Yafo, Nablus, Gaza or Jenin have no meaning in Arabic, and city names like Ramallah, Al-Khalil and Al-Quds lack historic or philological Arab roots. In 1696, the year of the survey, Ramallah was called Bt’ala (=Beit-El), Hebron was Chevron, and the Cave of the Machpela was Al-Khalil, Arabic for patriarch Avraham.
2. The country was a wasteland. Its few inhabitants were concentrated in cities like Jerusalem, Acre, Safed, Jaffa, Tiberias and Gaza. Most of the city folk were Jewish or Christian, and only a few Muslims, usually Bedouins. Nablus (Shechem)was an exception, home to some 120 Muslims and 70 Shomronim (Samaritans). Natzeret (Nazareth), capital of the Galilee, was inhabited by 700 Christians. Some 5000 people lived in Jerusalem, most of them Jews. Interestingly, Muslims are mentioned only as nomadic Bedouins, who served as seasonal agriculture and construction workers. The population of Gaza was equally divided between Jews and Christians. The Jews raised grapes, olives and wheat crops..., while the Christians were occupied in commerce and transportation of goods. Safed and Tiberias also had Jewish communities, but the only occupation mentioned is fishing in the Sea of Galilee. A city like Um-al-Fahm, for example, is mentioned as a small village consisting of 10 Christian families, with a small Maronite church." Thus, the main testimony of this survey is that the area referred to as "Palestine" was virtually empty, except for settlements of Jews and few Christians.
This work is profusely illustrated with 9 original steel engraved maps (including 3 folding), a folding genealogical table of the Herods, a folding table comparing ancient measures of distance, a portrait of the author plus 2 other engraved plates. Includes steel engraved in-text illustrations of ancient coins as well as a number of tables displaying Semitic linguistic scripts. Moderate foxing and soiling on binding. Previous owner's sticker on inside of front cover (N. Scheuring, Libraire). Previous owner's stamp on front free endpaper and title page. Sporadic and minor closed tears along folding marks of some plates. Text in Latin. Bindings in overall good to good+, interior in good+ to very good condition. g. Item #35047