Sea Voyage Tales in Conversation with the Jonah Story

Intertextuality and the Art of Narrative Bricolage

in Journeys
Author:
Reuven Kiperwasser Ariel University; Hebrew University reuven.kiperwasser@gmail.com

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Serge Ruzer Hebrew University serge.ruzer@mail.huji.ac.il

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Abstract

The article examines rabbinic and Christian, Syriac and Greek, narratives of miraculous rescue on a storm-tossed sea from a comparative perspective. Taking note of the narrators’ engagement in an ongoing intertextual dialogue with the biblical story of prophet Jonah, the authors highlight the new emphases introduced by late antique storytellers. The function of the adventures on the high seas as a means of establishing the protagonists’ religious identity and, consequently, strengthening the identity of the projected audience is shown to be shared by Jewish and Christian sources. Moreover, the article investigates the role assigned to the Other in Jewish and Christian travel fiction. The results may point to different attitudes toward the Other entrenched in the two cultures.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Reuven Kiperwasser is teaching in Ariel University, Israel and is a research associate at Hebrew University, Israel. He specializes in rabbinic literature, and his research interests include especially the interactions between Iranian mythology, Syriac-Christian storytelling, rabbinic narrative, and trans-cultural relationships between cultures of Late Antiquity. E-mail: reuven.kiperwasser@gmail.com

Serge Ruzer is Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Religion and a Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Christianity of that University. His research and publications pertain mostly to the Jewish background to nascent Christianity and early Syriac literature. E-mail: serge.ruzer@mail.huji.ac.il

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