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An Intersectional Analysis of Ancient Jewish Travel Narratives

Project description

Learning about human mobility in Jewish antiquity

How was human mobility perceived or imagined in Jewish antiquity? The answers can be found in selected texts of the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish writings from the Hellenistic and early Roman eras (ca. 300 BCE – 100 CE). The EU-funded ANINAN project will conduct the research, focussing on literary sources originating from different parts of the Mediterranean region and written or preserved in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin and Ge’ez. The aim is to produce a series of case studies showing the portrayal of human mobility and its social confines in Israelite/Jewish texts. The research to be undertaken in ANINAN also involves comparing the cultural representations of travel in an intersectional frame. The selected approach is expected to explain issues concerning power and social stratification that led to voluntary and forced forms of mobility in the ancient eastern Mediterranean and beyond.

Objective

ANINAN investigates literary and cultural representations of travel and mobility – the often temporary move of a person from her or his home to another location – in ancient Israelite/Jewish narratives, including selected texts of the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish writings from the Hellenistic and early Roman eras (ca. 300 BCE – 100 CE). The sources, which originate from different parts of the Mediterranean region, are written or preserved in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and Ge’ez.

The aim is to understand how human mobility was perceived and/or imagined in Jewish antiquity, including its agents, motives, and outcomes. The main objectives are: (1) to produce a series of case-studies that illustrate the portrayal of human mobility and its social confines in Israelite/Jewish literature; and (2) to compare and theorize the cultural representations of travel in an intersectional frame and, as a result, to provide a ground-breaking interpretative framework for the study of mobility in texts from the human past. The selected intersectional approach is novel and specifically unearths questions of power and social stratification that evidently pertain to (in)voluntary forms of mobility, including the individual profile of the traveller and the social realities that prompted, enabled, or compelled her or his travel in the first place.

The challenge is that we know nothing about the power dynamics of ancient Israelite/Jewish travel accounts. They are expected to reveal striking intersectional concerns, highlighting the complexity of human phenomena such as mobility. While multiple ‘categories of difference’ characterize the travelling agents, mobility also affects and shapes these categories, e.g. by leading the agent to negotiate, refine, or recreate aspects of her or his identity. The narratives also illustrate encounters between the Israelites/Jews and ‘others’, which results in a new understanding of cultural interaction in the ancient eastern Mediterranean.

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Coordinator

AARHUS UNIVERSITET
Net EU contribution
€ 1 368 977,00
Address
Nordre ringgade 1
8000 Aarhus c
Denmark

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Region
Danmark Midtjylland Østjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)