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Chapter One. Toward A Cultural History Of Jewish Populations In Roman North Africa

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Chapter Summary

An investigation into the history of Jews of Roman North Africa reveals its three disparate features. The first of these is the obscurity of the topic. A second trend is a focus on origins. One last tendency within scholarship of African Jews is found within studies related to North African Christian writings and legal codes. This book examines the accuracy of archaeological reports and museum catalogues and corpora that attest Jewish archaeological finds. By using analytical categories of practice to govern attention to ancient cultural identities, the book examines physical objects to question what "Jewish" might mean specifically among North African populations and within North African cultural contexts. This introductory chapter indicates that the book's framework facilitates the clearest possible evaluation of Jewish archaeological materials and of the practices they signify. Onomastic, linguistic, devotional, and burial practices integrate evaluations of artifacts from Jewish and non-Jewish North African populations. .

Keywords:African culture; African Jew; Christian literature; Jewish burial architecture; Jewish devotional structure; onomastic practice; Roman North Africa



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