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Sea Voyage Tales in Conversation with the Jonah Story

Intertextuality and the Art of Narrative Bricolage

Reuven Kiperwasser and Serge Ruzer

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.