Biblical Perspectives on the Holiness of Place, Body, and Mortality in The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
The embargo for both digital/ electronic and print versions of this thesis (the stories and the essay) is in place for 50 years. The material is commercially sensitive and therefore the University and its parties will not release the thesis during the embargo. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or other means, without the prior written permission of the author. The author retains the right to change this. All rights reserved.
Reason for embargo
Commercially sensitive material.
This work consists of a portfolio of creative writing in the form of a collection of short stories, The Jerusalem Syndrome, followed by a thesis, “Biblical Perspectives on the Holiness of Place, Body, and Mortality in The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection”. Attempting to engage the question, ‘what does it mean to be Jewish?, the latter seeks to provide the academic lens to unearth the former. In its stories of ancestry, land, rituals, body practices, theological beliefs and the nature of God’s relationship with his people, the Hebrew Bible lies at the heart of ancient and modern Jewish constructions of identity. The stories of The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection draw on a number of these biblical themes, and similarly seek to explore diverse constructions of Jewish identity in worlds seemingly far removed in time and context from the ancient social contexts from which the biblical texts emerged. Critical biblical scholarship offers modern readers various ‘lenses’ with which to engage the biblical texts — not as ‘scripture’, or even ‘history’ — but ancient literature rich in ancient cultural and ideological debates about the construction of identity, many of which continue to impact modern notions of Jewish identity today. Illustrations of this impact suffuse the stories of The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection. As such, this discussion explores the socio-religious, mythological and theological themes pervading The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection by bringing them into dialogue with critical, scholarly reflections on Judaism’s biblical traditions. A number of these themes cluster around the notion of Israel and the city of Jerusalem as the place at which Jewish identities are negotiated. The characters of The Jerusalem Syndrome Collection encounter various Jewish identities in bodily and material ways, as well as by topographical indices. With particular emphasis on the themes of how place, body, and death are sanctified, this piece will explore the ways in which Jewish identity continues to be contextualized in terms of the cultic, mythological and ritual language derived from the Hebrew Bible. This portfolio — the stories and their dialogue with the Hebrew Bible — is an exploration of some of the key aspects of how Jewish identity unfolds, and how the stories are re-mythologized through biblical history.
PhD in English