Life in a Multicultural Society: The Jewish Community at Elephantine

Join us tonight at 6pm EST on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel!

Last week you learned about the ancient Egyptian police force under the Ptolemies. This week, delve back a century before the Ptolemaic Dynasty to the city of Elephantine.  There thrived a substantial Jewish population who maintained their own temple and left their own texts in Aramaic. When we think of societies where people of many different backgrounds coexist, often what comes to mind is a modern city like New York. But what would life have been like in an ancient metropolis with a multicultural society? Join our host and special guest Dr. Jitse Dijkstra, who has been involved in the excavations at Elephantine since 2001 as a member of the Swiss-German-Egyptian mission.  Learn how historical texts and archaeological remains have been connected to better understand the ancient inhabitants of the island.

jitse-dijkstraJitse Dijkstra's research centers round the question how religion became transformed in Late Antiquity. In order to answer this question, he focuses on the particular regional and local context of religious transformation rather than on the ideological and general story. Trained as a papyrologist but multidisciplinary in approach, his main interest is Late Antique Egypt. He is the author of a monograph on the religious transformation in the First Cataract region, southern Egypt, in particular at the island of Philae, and has just published a study of the graffiti in the temple of Isis at Aswan, where he has conducted field work from 2001 onwards.

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