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Towards A Study Of The Uses Of The Concept Of Wilderness In Ancient Judaism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to characterize various ways in which the concept of wilderness is used in ancient Jewish traditions. It shows some of the various usages of the concept of wilderness in a particular period in the history of Judaism. In this way it can be understood how powerful, seminal, and essential the concept of wilderness is to this formative period in the history of Jewish tradition. This chapter seeks to understand how it is that the barren terrain, which was conceived of as punishment for transgression, can also be used as a place of purification - how the suffering of wilderness can be overcome in the very place of that suffering. It considers the three uses: 1) wilderness as suffering; 2) wilderness as purification; and 3) wilderness as a locus for revelation. Distinguishing these various usages can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of Second Temple Judaism.

Keywords: Jewish traditions; Judaism; purification; revelation; Second Temple; suffering; Wilderness



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