Bible Archaeology

Rare 19th Century Map of Jerusalem Discovered in Berlin Archive

The map, sketched by a German tourist in 1823, is considered to be the second modern map of the city; ‘It replicates the boundaries and key structures with precision,’ says Israeli historical geographer. reports:

A map of Jerusalem that was drafted some 190 years ago by a German tourist was recently unearthed by two researchers – one Israeli, the other German – in an archive in Berlin. The map, sketched by hand in 1823, was discovered in the course of a study conducted in tandem by Israeli researchers and scholars at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, in Leipzig, Germany.

The study, funded by the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development, is intended to conduct a profound reappraisal of the cartography of 19th-century Palestine between the years 1830-1880.

The rediscovered map is highly significant. “It was sketched by hand by a German tourist named Westphal, who arrived in Jerusalem for a visit in 1823,” Prof. Chaim Goren, a historical geographer at the Tel Hai Academic College, told Haaretz. Goren is conducting the study together with Prof. Rehav Rubin of the Hebrew University and scholars from the German institute, including Dr. Bruno Schelhaas.

“We know that additional maps were subsequently drafted on the basis of this one and that numerous research studies of the history of Jerusalem, conducted by scholars all over the world, relied on them,” explains Goren.

Maps are an important basis for every research study, Goren notes. In the history of the cartography of Israel, the mapping of Jerusalem holds a special place, given the city’s holiness and meaning to the three major monotheistic religions. “The development of cartography began with imaginary maps that showed the city in the mind’s eye and perspective of the mapmaker. Later, these maps became realistic maps, which are based mainly on compilation – the compiling of material from various sources, such as textual accounts, graphic depictions and so on,” he says.

The more advanced stage is represented by the survey maps, which rely on the execution of measurements by means of various devices. In the 19th century, these devices were primitive and very simple, but during the 20th century they became more sophisticated. It was not until the end of the second decade of the 19th century that the scientific mapping of Jerusalem began. It was based on exact geographic and topographic data, and on trigonometric calculations and measurements.

“The first survey map of Jerusalem known to scholars was drafted in 1818 by the physician and naturalist Franz Wilhelm Sieber. Prof. Yehoshua Ben-Arieh was among the first scholars to write about these maps,” says Goren.

Aside from this initial map, scholars were aware of another map that was sketched in 1823, according to which later maps were drawn. However, the 1823 map has only now come to light.

In the framework of the current research project, Goren met several months ago with Schelhaas at the map archive of the University of Berlin, where hundreds of thousands of maps have only recently been catalogued.

“It took quite a few years to consolidate and catalogue the two map collections, one of which had been in eastern Berlin and the other at the university in western Berlin,” says Goren. “We sat for weeks on end and studied all of the maps that might have been related to Palestine in general and to Jerusalem specifically, when suddenly we found six sketches done by this same Westphal, drafted in his handwriting. They included the Old City, its division into quarters, the important structures, holy sites, etc.”

“When you’re sitting in an archive, you just pounce on things like this. You’re looking at thousands of items, and you have to be patient and have to love what you’re doing. In the end, the 1001st item gives you what you were looking for.”

The map is drafted on A5 greaseproof paper. It correctly and precisely reflects the boundaries of the city, the correct outline of the city’s walls and the location of the key structures,” says Goren. “This map constitutes a very important – and until now, unknown – stage in the history of cartographic research of Jerusalem,” he concludes.




Update on the SSJC and the Traditional Anglican Communion Cooperation

Early in the week I expressed my utter dismay with a statement of cooperation agreement between the SSJC and the TAC which appeared on the SSJC website. I was dismayed (more despaired – you can read about that by following the above link) because:

1.   I was not aware of any existing or pending ecumenical agreement between my Church, the TAC, and the SSJC.

2.   I could not see (and still cannot) why the TAC would engage a fringe Old Catholic sect when,

3.   Christian unity, as we have been promised, looks at working towards overcoming the obstacles that exist between us and that which is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic – not creating further impediments.

4.   I mean, look at what this society teaches!

Well, I have just received the following correspondence  from the Very Rev Gregory Bellarmine, SSJC+ Superior General, Secundus:


Fr Bellarmine here. Permit me please to offer a response.

Correct, we in no way support the behaviours of the Vatican hierarchy, nor could we be in communion with their clergy given the multifaith Assisi events 1, 2 & 3. Christ is the only way to salvation. Full stop. And no, we cannot help build up or support any group that works against this public faith. But the TAC expresses our faith on this cornerstone belief, which many large modernist churches in practise do not.

We also are NOT in communion with ANY group but are open to all Catholics, including the TAC. What we are doing is cooperating and yes I initiated contact, because I believed that working together to build the Church locally would be better for Christendom in a hostile secular age than working apart.

So we are “traditionally-ecumenical.” This position is clearly stated on our website.

That means when we come across Anglo-Catholic faithful the TAC have graciously offered to supply sacramental services such as confirmations. The order of communication was the Rt Rev Michael Gill, after which Bishop Botterill and finally Fr. Ian Gray.

By cooperation the sense is similar to that of “Churches Together” but for the conservative Catholic, Roman, Anglo, etc

I fail to see the storm this cooperative relationship has raised? Should we not work together?

V. Rev. Gregory Bellarmine SSJC+

Sacramental ‘services’?!

Now, I just don’t know what to say, or think…