||The authoritative catalog of Hebrew Maps of the Holy Land in print. In their Preface and Introduction the authors point out that 'there exists a very rich but largely unexplored field of Hebrew' maps of the Holy Land', which 'still requires much study and research'. Their book marks an important stage in rectifying this. It presents 104 maps of Palestine in chronological order, starting with two diagram-maps in a manuscript of a commentary on the Pentateuch that was executed about 1233, and ending with a postcard produced in Jerusalem early in the twentieth century. A few of the seventeenth and eighteenth-century maps are mostly in Latin with only a few Hebrew names, but the rest are mostly or entirely in Hebrew. There is a reproduction of each map in black and white, and for nearly all there is an accompanying line drawing translating into English form the map's principal inscriptions. There is also a written account of what each map shows and, where appropriate, of the book it illustrates, and interspersed with the text are four Appendices, each of which reproduces eight of the maps in full colour. The book is finely printed and is comprehensive in its treatment.
Dr and Mrs Wajntraub place each map firmly in its proper context of Jewish culture and history. Few of the maps could possibly have been used as a guide to travel, and probably none was produced with this in mind; indeed, as a group they demonstrate neatly that this is only one reason among many why a map might be drawn. Some were Biblical illustrations, showing the route of the Exodus or the dispersal from Babel; one of 1840 could be used as a passport to Palestine under Ottoman rule, one was printed on cloth in 1882 as a cover for a table or for the challoth (this and many other words are fully explained), one was produced in 1908 to raise funds for the new Israel Synagogue in Jerusalem. But what the maps all have in common is a certain millennarian quality: they are icons of the Promised Land for successive generations of the Diaspora. It is thus that medieval diagram-maps, depicting the surrounds of Israel with wild inaccuracy, were still being printed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
But there is much also to interest the historian of cartography. We may learn much by establishing the connections of similar non-Hebrew maps with the medieval diagram-maps and maps of the Exodus. Many of the later maps are from eastern Europe-Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine -- and it would be interesting to know how they relate to the general development of map production there. The maps in fact raise many questions; we can only be grateful to Dr and Mrs Wajntraub for putting them before us and for setting us well on the way to finding the answers.