Aramaic Stories of Wandering in the High Seas of Late Antiquity

Reuven Kiperwasser, Serge Ruzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This paper analyses both Jewish and Christian travel narratives of Late Antiquity, arguing for common mythological tropes that fused into new stories with adapted meaning and morality. The Syriac ‘Life of Barsauma’ and several stories in the Babylonian Talmud feature a sea that is home to threats and wondrous creatures that need to be dealt with. At the roots of this phenomenon lies a shared mythological story world. Be it the taming of the waves, magical birds, or treasures in the depths, there seem to exist narrative patterns ready to be picked up by Christian and Jewish authors in the late antique Near East. The way in which these authors handled the arsenal of traditional stories, tells us about the evolution of their classical story-worlds and late antique perception of the sea in general, as well as the intercultural exchanges of the epoch
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Past Through Narratology
Subtitle of host publicationNew Approaches to Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
EditorsMateusz Fafinski, Jakob Riemenschneider
Place of PublicationHeidelberg
PublisherHeidelberg University Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)978­3­96822­108­3
ISBN (Print) 978­3­96822­107­6
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameDas Mittelalter Beihefte


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