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Hybridity and the Letter of Aristeas

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image of Journal for the Study of Judaism

This paper explores how the complex notion of hybridity, as developed by Homi K. Bhabha, can shed light on the Letter of Aristeas. Throughout the narrative of this ancient Jewish tale one finds a risky attempt on the part of the author to incorporate the best aspects of the two cultures and modes of thinking—Judaism and Hellenism—within which his community were living in Alexandria. In order to understand the dynamics of the hybrid condition of Aristeas in its ambivalence, this paper argues that the multiple agencies in place to foster a certain version of Jewish identity in this diasporic social location are best captured in the forms of calculated negotiations, prudent affiliations, and idealized memory.

Affiliations: 1: Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, 4020 Brandon Gate Dr. # 8, Mississauga, Ontario, L4T 3W8, Canada;, Email:


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