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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54920
Doc. No:TL24874
Call number:‭3227941‬
Main Entry:Karen B. Stern
Title & Author:Inscribing devotion and death in context: Deciphering Jewish culture of Roman North Africa (2nd–6th centuries, C.E.)Karen B. Stern
College:Brown University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:333
Abstract:This dissertation establishes a theoretical framework to reexamine the often neglected evidence of Jewish culture in North Africa from the 2nd-6th centuries C.E. My application of a distinct methodological framework to material evidence for, Jews in North Africa creates a novel perspective on the complex cultural composition of Roman North Africa and, more generally, the cultural situation of Jews living in the ancient Mediterranean. The result is an analysis of Jewish culture that emphasizes its indebtedness to larger regional cultural contexts and raises possibilities of its cultural distinctiveness. Former approaches to North African Jewish evidence have depended on problematic archaeological reports and problematic taxonomies for the archaeological materials. My work in the museums of Tunisia and Morocco combined have produced a more circumspect analysis of the material record, which has led to a more accurate determination of which of its aspects are trustworthy for analysis. I have questioned, furthermore, scholars' traditional impositions on these archaeological materials of categories derived from Christian and Jewish literary sources. This dissertation replaces polemical categories that frequently have governed the analysis of artifacts---such as "Jewish," "Judaizing Christian," and "Christianizing Jew"---with categories internal to and derived from the evidence of onomastic, literary, devotional, commemorative practices. The result is a more contextual evaluation of Jewish artifacts and new insight into the range of Jewish practices in Roman North Africa. I conclude that North African Jewish culture was complex and shifting and that interpretations of its artifacts depend on close understandings of its regional, cultural, and material contexts. Past approaches to the North African Jewish evidence have been based on archaeological and taxonomic assumptions that have hindered productive analysis. By replacing limiting social historical and "syncretistic" models of studying ancient Judaism with methods informed by theories of culture, identity, and historical linguistics, my method both fundamentally reevaluates the material evidence and spurs a reassessment of what the category of "Jewish" might have meant throughout time and place in North Africa.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Culture; Death; Devotion; Jewish; North Africa; Roman Empire; Religious history; Ancient civilizations; Archaeology; African history; 0579:Ancient civilizations; 0324:Archaeology; 0320:Religious history; 0331:African history
Added Entry:M. Satlow
Added Entry:Brown University