Journey to the Vanished City

Journey to the Vanished City

The Search for a Lost Tribe of Israel

By Tudor Parfitt

Vintage, Paperback, 9780375724541, 400pp.

Publication Date: April 4, 2000


In a mixture of travel, adventure, and scholarship, historian Tudor Parfitt sets out in search of answers to a fascinating ethnological puzzle: is the Lemba tribe of Southern Africa really one of the lost tribes of Israel, descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba?

Beginning in the Lemba villages in South Africa, where he witnesses customs such as food taboos and circumcision rites that seem part of Jewish tradition, Parfitt retraces the supposed path of the Lembas' through Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Tanzania, taking in sights like Zanzibar and the remains of the stone city Great Zimbabwe.  The story of his eccentric travels, a blend of the ancient allure of King Solomon's mines and Prester John with contemporary Africa in all its beauty and brutality, makes for an irresistible glimpse at a various and rapidly changing continent.

And in a new epilogue, Parfitt discusses recent DNA evidence that, amazingly, lends credence to the Lemba's tribal myth.

About the Author
Tudor Parfitt's life's work has been tracking down the lost tribes of Israel in Africa and Asia. As professor of Jewish studies at London's prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies and Fellow of the Oxford Centre of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, he has written widely on the history of the Jews of Africa and Asia. In 2006, he was appointed Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Harvard University. He has traveled widely through remote areas of Africa and Asia and divides his time between London and the Templar region of the South Aveyron.

Praise For Journey to the Vanished City

" a British Indiana Jones seeking the lost tribes of Israel."  -The Wall Street Journal

"Lucidly written and exhibiting all the craftsmanship of a first-rate detective novel."  -Daily Telegraph (London)

"Magical...enchanting...Resembles a novel by Graham Greene not only in its exotic settings and characters, but in its insight and wisdom, too." --Los Angeles Times