6 Farissol was the Cantor of the Synagogue in Ferrara and a contemporary of Christopher Columbus. He served in the court of Renaissance patron Lorenzo de Medici, which allowed him to be well positioned to learn as much as he could about the newly discovered and explored territories in both the west and east. Farissol’s interest in geography was further spurred by the (likely fictitious) works of the enigmatic adventurer David Reubeni (see Chap. 14). Some have interpreted the author’s interest in the newly discovered lands as a sign of his belief in the imminence of messianic redemption. In addition to his cantorial duties, Farissol wrote a commentary to the Pentateuch and a book of religious polemics, defending Judaism from Christian and Islamic arguments against Judaism. See D. Ruderman, The World of a Renaissance Jew: The Life and Thought of Abraham ben Mordecai Farissol (1981), chap. 11; and André Neher, Jewish Thought and the Scientific Revolution of the Sixteenth Century (1986) pp. 122-135. CELEBRATED FOR THE SHIELD-LIKE DIAGRAM LABELED IN HEBREW “NEW LAND” THIS WORK IS THE MOST SCARCE OF AMERICAN-RELATED HEBREW TEXTS.