Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Becoming Diaspora Jews – Behind the Story of Elephantine - Yale Scholarship Online
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Becoming Diaspora Jews: Behind the Story of Elephantine

Karel van der Toorn


This book tells the story of the earliest Jewish diaspora in Egypt in a way it has never been told before. In the fifth century BCE there was a Jewish community on Elephantine Island. Why they spoke Aramaic, venerated Aramean gods besides Yaho, and identified as Arameans is a mystery, but a previously little explored papyrus from Egypt sheds new light on their history. The papyrus shows that the ancestors of the Elephantine Jews came originally from Samaria. Due to political circumstances, they left Israel and lived for a century in an Aramean environment. Around 600 BCE, they moved to Egypt. ... More

Keywords: Jewish diaspora, Egypt, Elephantine Island, Samaria, Jewish identity, Jewish community

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780300243512
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300243512.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Karel van der Toorn, author
University of Amsterdam