By Daniel Boyarin
A notice conventionally imbued with depression meanings, "diaspora" has been used variously to explain the cataclysmic old occasion of displacement, the next geographical scattering of peoples, or the stipulations of alienation in another country and longing for an ancestral domestic. yet as Daniel Boyarin writes, diaspora might be extra constructively construed as a sort of cultural hybridity or a style of study. In A touring Homeland, he makes the case shared place of origin or earlier and tense dissociation will not be precious stipulations for diaspora and that Jews hold their native land with them in diaspora, within the kind 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 identification. Boyarin examines the methods the Babylonian Talmud imagines its personal group and experience of place of origin, and he indicates how talmudic commentaries from the medieval and early sleek sessions additionally produce a doubled cultural identification. He hyperlinks the continued productiveness of this bifocal cultural imaginative and prescient to the character of the booklet: because the actual textual content moved among diverse occasions and areas, the equipment 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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Extra resources for A Traveling Homeland: The Babylonian Talmud as Diaspora
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. With the return to Palestine and Jerusalem in the late sixth century bce, this punishment had come to an end. Living outside the “Holy Land” subsequently—that is, from the fifth century bce on —was understood differently.
2 The Babylonian Talmud thematizes this perspective in more than one way. 3 With the exile of Jeconia in 597 bc, the Jews took with them stones and sand from the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem and used them to build their synagogue in Babylonia. According to the Talmud, this synagogue was where the Shekhina dwelled in Babylonia. Babylon replaces Palestine, and this synagogue is the new Temple, albeit a reduced one, a מקדש מעט, which, as Elƒanan Reiner has pointed out, is not mere metaphor. A striking text from the late geonic4 period evinces this point in the context of an argument of one of the last geonim for maintaining the absolute primacy of the Babylonian center over-against the new ones in the West, as figured in the story of the four captives, discussed in Chapter 1: Several matters support this: The legacy of the parents is the merit of the ancestors [the parents leave to their children their own merits; that is, my illustrious ancestors render me worthy to be the leader of the Jews worldwide].
I want to build on Cohen but treat the deterritorialized diaspora not as a special case or exceptional form of diaspora but rather as its ideal type. 36 None of this needs imply trauma, an original scene of forced dispersion, a longing for a homeland, or even the existence of a myth of one homeland. Finbarr Flood’s comments on the Islamic umma are certainly apposite here: 20 Chapter 1 The idea of mobility is, however, intrinsic to the history and prescriptions of Islam, a religion whose year zero is measured not from the birth of the Prophet but from the migration of the nascent Muslim community from Mecca to Medina.
A Traveling Homeland: The Babylonian Talmud as Diaspora by Daniel Boyarin