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Becoming Diaspora JewsBehind the Story of Elephantine$
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Karel van der Toorn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300243512

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300243512.001.0001

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Elephantine Revisited

Elephantine Revisited

(p.1) 1 Elephantine Revisited
Becoming Diaspora Jews

Karel van der Toorn

Yale University Press

This chapter revisits the scholarship regarding the discovery of the Elephantine Jews. A full century has passed since Eduard Sachau's edition of the Elephantine papyri in 1911. The Elephantine papyri promised direct and unbiased access to a Jewish community as it had been in real life. Furthermore, the sheer number of publications on the papyri between 1905 and 1915 conveyed a sense of the excitement that characterized the early days of Elephantine studies. This chapter shows that Elephantine studies continue to flourish in the twenty-first century. Counting monographs only, the secondary literature is expanding by almost one book a year. An important impetus for the ongoing investigations is the time frame of Elephantine, which is crucial in the formation of ancient Judaism and warrants a reassessment of prevailing scholarship.

Keywords:   Elephantine Jews, Elephantine papyri, Elephantine studies, ancient Judaism, Bible

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