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Creating Geographical And Political Utopias: The Ten Lost Tribes And The East

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Chapter Summary

In seeking to define the concept of the East in Jewish tradition, modern scholarship cannot ignore the legend of the Ten Lost Tribes in its simultaneous function as both the utopian construction of an alienated minority and the means of that same minority's political deconstruction by the dominant culture, through its use as military propaganda. This chapter provides certain historical and literary insights related to the concept of &t;Oriental&t; Jews. In the current discourse on Orientalism, the concept of the &t;Orient&t; is linked almost exclusively with Arabic culture, literature, and way of life. The concept of the Orient, linked by tradition with the saga of the Lost Tribes of Israel, includes by no means only a geographic space: it also refers to a mental space, where figures of imaginative power play out a story that cannot be realized in the present.

Keywords: East; Jewish tradition; Oriental Jews; Orientalism; Ten Lost Tribes



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