By Daniel Boyarin

ISBN-10: 0812247248

ISBN-13: 9780812247244

A notice conventionally imbued with depression meanings, "diaspora" has been used variously to explain the cataclysmic historic occasion of displacement, the following geographical scattering of peoples, or the stipulations of alienation overseas and longing for an ancestral domestic. yet as Daniel Boyarin writes, diaspora should be extra constructively construed as a kind of cultural hybridity or a style of research. In A touring Homeland, he makes the case shared native land or prior and tense dissociation aren't valuable stipulations for diaspora and that Jews hold their fatherland with them in diaspora, within the type of textual, interpretive groups outfitted round talmudic study.

For Boyarin, the Babylonian Talmud is a diasporist manifesto, a textual content that produces and defines the practices that represent Jewish diasporic id. Boyarin examines the methods the Babylonian Talmud imagines its personal neighborhood and experience of place of birth, and he indicates how talmudic commentaries from the medieval and early smooth sessions additionally produce a doubled cultural identification. He hyperlinks the continued productiveness of this bifocal cultural imaginative and prescient to the character of the e-book: because the actual textual content moved among assorted occasions and locations, the tools of its examine constructed via touch with surrounding cultures. eventually, A touring Homeland envisions talmudic research because the middle of a shared Jewish identification and a particular function of the Jewish diaspora that defines it as a specific thing except different cultural migrations.

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Example text

Just as, according to Edwards, diaspora was mobilized with regard to black studies “to break with a depoliticizing emphasis on ‘unity’ and unidirectional return in midcentury black internationalist scholarship,” such has been its use in Jewish discourse as well. I could say with Edwards, mutatis mutandis: “I am rethinking the uses of diaspora more precisely to compel a discussion of the politics of nominalization, in a moment of prolixity and careless rhetoric when such a question is often the first casualty.

While he Jewish Diasporas 29 recognizes, for instance, that “Jewish migratory experiences were much more diverse and more complex than the catastrophic tradition allows,” he indicts his critical task as to “interrogate and supersede the Jewish tradition”57 rather than to interrogate whether his account of the Jewish tradition is accurate. ”58 Among which Jews? At what time? In which language(s)? 59 As Baumann observes in explaining that the Septuagint does not translate the Hebrew terms for “exile” by “diaspora”: In retrospect, post-Babylonian Jews theologically interpreted the Babylonian captivity as God’s punishment for their disobedience to the commands of the Torah.

There is a sense in which the current interrogation and reconfiguring of accounts of Jewish diaspora focuses this question even more intensely than more traditional accounts. 43 Comparing the narrative of the suicide of Rabbi Moses’ wife that we read above with its source will bring this point home. In the Talmud, we read what was almost certainly the model for Ibn Daud’s story. Fascinatingly, it begins with a reading of the first verses of Psalm 137: Said Rav Yehuda in the name of Rav: What is it that is written, “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down, and there we wept when we remembered Zion”?

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A Traveling Homeland: The Babylonian Talmud as Diaspora by Daniel Boyarin


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