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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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The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt

The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt

(p.42) 3 The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt
Becoming Diaspora Jews

Karel van der Toorn

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the origins of the Arameans of Syene (Aswan) and their relations with the Jews. These Arameans were their neighbors on the mainland and their colleagues in the garrison at Syene, a city neighboring Elephantine. The Arameans were pastoralists, who moved their flocks from place to place and set up their camps for only a few months at a time. It was a lifestyle that has been called seminomadic. The corresponding social structures were those of the clan and the tribe. Most Aramean kingdoms, however, were dimorphic. This meant that some inhabitants were settled, while others continued to be “wandering Arameans.” The Aramean soldiers garrisoned in Syene had come to Egypt at the same time as most of the Jews. Their number was higher than that of the Jews, and yet their story is largely unknown compared to their Elephantine neighbors.

Keywords:   Arameans, Syene, Aswan, Aramean diaspora, Egypt

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