This book provides the first comprehensive study of Jewish travel and mobility in Hellenistic and Roman times, based on a critical analysis of Jewish, Graeco-Roman, and early Christian literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources and a social-historical evaluation of the material. Catherine Hezser shows that certain segments of ancient Jewish society were quite mobile. Mobility seems to have increased in the later Roman period, when an extensive road system facilitated travel within the province of Syria-Palestine and the neighbouring Middle Eastern regions. Second Temple Judaism was centralized, with Jerusalem as its central space and seat of priestly authority. In post-70 rabbinic Judaism, on the other hand, connections between rabbis could be established through mutual visits and second- and third-degree contacts only. Mobility formed the basis of the establishment of a decentralized rabbinic network in Palestine and Babylonia in late antiquity. Numerous narrative and halakhic traditions indicate the importance of mobility for communication and the exchange of knowledge amongst rabbis. It is argued that the rabbis who were most mobile sat at the nodal points of the rabbinic network and elicited the largest amount of influence. They would have combined business travel with scholarly exchange. Scholars' journeys between Palestine and Babylonia are viewed within the wider context of Rome and Persia's economic and cultural exchange in which Jews, just like Christians, may have played the role of intermediaries.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST"Transports readers into a world few Americans know" -Washington PostA timely new novel of stunning humanity and tension: a contemporary love story set on the Turkish border with Syria.Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad's regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir's wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris's choices become ever more wrenching: Whose side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness? Told with compassion and a deft hand, Dark at the Crossing is an exploration of loss, of second chances, and of why we choose to believe--a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and power."Promises to be one of the most essential books of 2017" -Esquire