“The tribe of Juda was not stopped in its migration westward by the sea ; or, perhaps when it was driven out from Egypt, part of it moved to the West, along the coast of the Mediterranean, till it got round to Guinea, and there it is yet, with its native curly head, possessing a beautiful country, full of fine rivers, among which are found a river Phrat and a Jachin. It would be very curious to examine the language of this people. Edrisi, in the twelfth century, says that Jews occupied the country on the river Lamlem, and that it is called Yahandi. This is confirmed by Mr. Bowditch, in his account of the Ashantee country. Every thing proves that they were of the tribe Judi, though, as they have no Pentateuch, it is clear that they came not from the tribe of the Western Asiatic Judaea, or at least that they did not emigrate from it after the time of Moses.”
Possible Explanation For Lack of Pentateuch
In 1493, King John II of Spain forcibly removed 2,000 children under the age of eight from their parents and had them sent to the island of Sao Tome in West Africa. In 1497 King Manual of Portugal banned all Jewish books except for medical texts.1 In his 1714 book Atlas Geographus, Nutt states the following:
“Judaism was the religion of ancient Africans for a long time, and succeeded by Christianity, but Mahometanism, prevail’d in the 108th year of the Hegyra, when all the Jews, Christians, and Professors of the African Religion that could be found, were put to death; yet in process of time their intestine quarrels made them neglect Mahomet’s law, and revolt from the Caliph of Bagdat, for which they were severely punish’d by the Mahometan Caliphs, who caus’d all their books to be burnt, on suspicion that the knowledge of the arts and sciences prompted them to contemn Mahomet’s law.”2
Between the Inquisition carried out by Christians and the spread of Islam, Jewish texts were being targeted and burned while the Jews were fleeing for their lives. These accounts may explain why the tribe of Juda in West Africa did not have a Pentateuch at the time of Higgins writing.
- Zimler, R. 2000. Identified As The Enemy: Being A Portuguese New Christian At The Time Of “The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon.” European Judaism: A Journal for the New Europe, 35, 39. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41431053 ↩︎
- Nutt, John. 1714. For Africa; Containing What is of Most Use in Bleau, Varenius, Cellarius, Cluverius, Baudrand, Brietius, Sanson, &c. ; With The Discoveries and Improvements of the Best Modern Authors to this Time (etc.): 4 p 39. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=8bdZAAAAcAAJ&rdid=book-8bdZAAAAcAAJ&rdot=1 ↩︎