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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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(p.143) Epilogue
Becoming Diaspora Jews

Karel van der Toorn

Yale University Press

This concluding chapter attempts to define who the Elephantine Jews were by summing up the results of a review of all the evidence, including the texts from the Aramaic papyrus in Demotic script. In the more than one hundred years that have passed since the discovery of the Elephantine Jews, several versions of their story have sought to define who they really were. Most scholars have argued that the diaspora community came into being sometime between 650 and 550 BCE. Where the Elephantine Jews came from has been a matter of controversy. While many have considered it likely that they migrated from Judah, the hypothesis of Samarian origins has been vigorously defended as well. Here, the chapter presents Papyrus Amherst 63 as the basis of a compelling narrative to take the place of earlier versions of the story.

Keywords:   Elephantine Jews, Jewish diaspora, Papyrus Amherst 63, Samaria, diaspora community

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