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Waters of the Exodus

Jewish Experiences with Water in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

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Nathalie LaCoste

In Waters of the Exodus, Nathalie LaCoste examines the Diasporic Jewish community in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt and their relationship to the hydric environment. By focusing on four retellings of the exodus narrative composed by Egyptian Jews—Artapanus, Ezekiel the Tragedian, Wisdom of Solomon, and Philo of Alexandria—she lays out how the hydric environment of Egypt, and specifically the Nile river, shaped the transmission of the exodus story. Mapping these observations onto the physical landscape of Egypt provides a new perspective on the formation of Jewish communities in Egypt.

Series:

Nathalie LaCoste

of Religion 9.2 (1997): 111–26. 37 Horden and Purcell, The Corrupting Sea , 45. 38 Veronica Strang, The Meaning of Water (Oxford: Berg, 2004), 5: “Human-environmental relations are also subject to ecological constraints and physiological and biological needs. As the substance that is literally

Series:

Nathalie LaCoste

ideas presented here are twofold; Osiris as the god of the dead (and the afterlife) was linked to water in the sense of purification and preparation of the deceased for the afterlife. For more on this subject, see Centrone, “This is the Form,” 357; J. Gwyn Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and his Cult

Tov, Emanuel

]‮[יעבר ‭9‬ על הפקודים לבוא בתוך משפחתו ]בגור̊[ל בעדת]‬‎5[he shall be subject to the census; he shall enter in the midst of his clan ]by lo[t to be united with]‮‭10‬ [קודש (‭13)‬ ובן שלושים שנה (‭14)‬ יתיציב ברואשי ]א̊ל̊פי̊ [ישראל]‬‎6[the holy Congregation. Then at the age of thirty he may be promoted to

Tov, Emanuel

people you have acted wonderfully toward the poor one, and you brought him]‮במצרף כ̊[זהב במעשי אש וככסף מזוקק בכור]‬‎2into the furnace like[ gold (subjected to) the action of fire, and like silver refined in the crucible of]‮נופחים לטו̊ה̊ר̊[ שבעתים וימהרו עלי רשעי]‬‎3the smelters to [sevenfold] purity

Tov, Emanuel

year[s.] Then at the age of twenty[ he shall be subject to the cen]sus:‮[            ] ל̊יח̊[ד                         ]‬‎7a‮[לבוא בגו]רל בתו̊[ך משפחתו בעד]ת̊ קוד[ש‬‎7[he shall enter by l]ot in the mid[st of his clan] to exist in uni[ty as a ]Hol[y Congreg]ation.[‮[ולוא יקר]ב̇ ‭10‬ לא̇שת̇ו̇‬‎8a[And he

Tov, Emanuel

, whether stripped of flesh or complete is subject to the l]aw concerning a dead or murde[red person.]‮[הוא] ועל הזנות הנ̊ע̊[ס]ה בתוכ הע[ם והמה בני     קדש] כ̇שכתוב קודש [ישראל]‬‎12And concerning the fornications ca[rr]ied out in the midst of the peop[le: they are members of      holiness,] as it is written