ABSTRACT: The Geographical Origin of The Words of Gad the Seer

Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990, A, pp. 119-126  Meir Bar-Ilan


The manuscript of The Words of Gad the Seer was copied at Cochin, India in the middle of the 18th century, though only recently it came under scholarly investigation. The book is written in pseudo-Biblical Hebrew and is composed of several genres such as Psalms, rewritten Bible, legend, apocalyptic scenes and even philosophical sermons. It is likely that the book was composed in one of the early centuries of this era.

There are more than tenty-two Geographical names in the book, some of which are not known elsewhere (such as "the Cave of the 'Arelim"). After the methodology of the study is discussed, how geographical names might reflect the geographical source, all the names are studied each one by itself. Later on all the names are organized in two columns, those of The Land of israel (such as Jerusalem or the Stream of Qidron) and those outside the country (such as Sarfat or the land of Kittim).

The analysis of all the names shows that the "center" where they all were written was The Land of Israel.