What Is a Diaspora?

Stéphane Dufoix

in Diasporas

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253599
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520941298 | DOI:
What Is a Diaspora?

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“Diaspora” is a Greek word. The modern use of this term stemmed from its appearance as a neologism in the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek by the legendary seventy Jewish scholars in Alexandria in the third century B.C. “Diaspora” always meant the threat of dispersion facing Hebrews if they failed to obey God's will, and it applied almost exclusively to divine acts. In the Christian tradition, the New Testament presented the church as a dispersed community of pilgrims waiting to return to the City of God. The eschatological waiting connected with “diaspora” tends to disappear in the fourth century, only to resurface during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, when it describes Protestant minorities in Catholic countries, or the reverse. To understand the growing popularity of the term during the second half of the twentieth century, this chapter examines two examples that are strongly both linked and opposed: the “Jewish diaspora” and the “black diaspora.”

Keywords: diaspora; Hebrews; New Testament; God; Catholic

Chapter.  9317 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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