Jewish migration, antiquity
Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
Copyright © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration
How to Cite
Gruen, E. S. 2013. Jewish migration, antiquity. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration.
- Published Online: 4 FEB 2013
A Roman army destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 ce. For the Jews of antiquity the loss of the Temple not only constituted a devastating blow but signaled an enduring trauma. It has often been thought that this event triggered the major migration of Jews throughout the Mediterranean and shaped the consciousness of the Jewish diaspora for centuries to follow. To focus on the consequences of the Temple's destruction, however, overlooks a fact of immense significance: Jewish migration had a long history prior to Rome's crushing of Jerusalem. The record of Jewish experience included the notorious “Babylonian captivity” in the 6th century bce, a serious dislocation from the homeland. Whatever the historicity of the alleged “Return” from that displacement, the migration was a fact, not to be reversed. Jews dwelled in Egypt in the 6th century, as papyri from a Jewish military colony at Elephantine reveal. And an archive of documents from Babylon attests to Jews in a variety of trades and professions there even after their supposed restoration to Judah.
- ancient era;
- assimilation and exclusion;
- cultural diversity;