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Bernardini - Chapter 01

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Biblical History and the Americas

The Legend of Solomon's Ophir, 1492-1591

ONE CAN ONLY IMAGINE how delighted Columbus would have been to know that his discoveries would one day be studied in a city called Providence. To him, and to many of his contemporaries, the geography of the New World could best be understood within the framework of the Holy Bible, and within the historical scheme of a Divine Providence that had determined the fate of humankind from the moment of its creation. Moreover, the names of places were immensely important to Columbus and his age as signposts of how those places fit into biblical mythology — or into the body of myth and science inherited from Classical antiquity. Indeed, one wonders what he would have thought of the fact that this essay was first presented in a place called Salomon Hall. As I shall show in what follows, he would almost certainly have taken this name as proof that King Solomon had sent ships to the New World long before Spanish caravels went there, and would assert, as he did in fact believe, that his own travels were only a reprise or a reenactment of the voyages described in the Bible to the rich trading port of Ophir.

Biblical History and the AmericasThe Legend of Solomon's Ophir, 1492-1591James RommONE CAN ONLY IMAGINE how delighted Columbus would have been to know that his discoveries would one day be studied in a city called Providence. To him, and to many o
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