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From Babylon to Rome: trauma and memory in the narratives of the fall of Jerusalem

Grant number: 21/14584-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Aparecido Rede
Grantee:Marcelo Aparecido Rede
Host Investigator: Laubry Nicolas
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: École Française de Rome, Italy  

Abstract

This Project is concerned with the articulations between the various processes of cultural memory creation resulting from two events perceived as catastrophic: the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, by the Babylonians in 587 BC and by the Romans in 70 AD. Most of Biblical literary narratives are considered here to be crisis literature in response to the traumatic conditions experienced by the exiled Judahite community. Likewise, the work of the Romanized Jewish historian Flavius Josephus constitutes, to a great extent, a memorial processing that amalgamates a reinterpretation of the traditions of its original culture and the imperatives of its insertion in the Roman imperial court. In this process, the narratives of the past created by Flavius Josephus dialogue, negotiate and dispute with a multivocality of memories, whether vertical (with the biblical narratives), or horizontal (with the contemporary Greco-Roman authors, but also with the visual and material universe of a Rome undergoing transformations by the vast urban development of the Flavian emperors). Seeking to go beyond the idea of a transhistorical Jewish identity based on ethnic or religious sharing, our working hypothesis privileges the concrete historical manifestations of memories that are articulated in a specific social, cultural and political context. Disasters, as a social phenomenon, imply the loss of material, social, cultural, and symbolic capital, but at the same time induce the creation of response mechanisms in the short, medium, and long term. The adaptation and the creation of new forms of sociability, the reformulation of identity models and the production of memories often expressed in narratives about the past, are some of the main dimensions of this process. Thus, recent contributions from studies on cultural memory and trauma will serve as a theoretical-methodological basis for the proposed approach. It is the intent of this project to carry out a comprehensive survey, detailed and indexed, of the various corpora mentioned above in order to identify and analyze the modalities of interaction between the texts and their historical contexts. Centered on Rome in the final decades of the 1st century AD and in the work of Josephus, the Project proposed here is part of a broader Program of studies on "Jewish Memories and Sociabilities in Near-Eastern and Mediterranean Antiquity" and should be carried out, between September 2022 and February 2023, in the condition of resident-researcher at the École Française de Rome (Italy), post for which my application was approved in December 2021. (AU)

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