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Maps of Paradise (hardback)

Published Date:
October 2013
British Library Publishing
Bibliographic Details:
Hardback; 176 pages, 270 x 210mm, 100 colour illustrations
Alessandro Scafi
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People everywhere share some kind of nostalgia for an innocence experienced at the beginning of history and look forward to a joy promised at the end of time, meanwhile searching for contemporary happiness. For two millennia, learned Christians have wondered where on earth could the primal paradise have been located? Where was the idyllic Garden of Eden that is described in the Bible? Where were Adam and Eve created in their unspoiled perfection? Scholars early rose to the challenge to identify the place on a map of the world, despite the certain knowledge that it was unreachable.

Maps of Paradise charts the diverse ways in which they were led to depict the Garden of Eden on maps from Late Antiquity to the 21st century. It is the history of a paradox: the mapping of the unmappable. It is also a mirror to the universal dream of perfection and the yearning to find heaven on earth.

About the author
Dr Alessandro Scafi is Lecturer at the Warburg Institute, University of London. He is the author of Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth (British Library, 2006).

`Scholarly writings thoroughly explore the history and research, with wonderful examples of heavenly maps of all kinds, from the Hereford Mappa Mundi of 1300 to medieval attempt to map the Garden of Eden and other allegorical places in the Bible.` Good Books Guide
`Maps of Paradise is a highly readable yet deeply learned journey into how ‘humankind has yearned for a timeless elsewhere`, searching for ‘perfect bliss, remote either in time or in space`. Jerry Brotton, History Today

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