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IS IT MEANINGFUL TO SPEAK OF A GRECO-ROMAN DIASPORA JUDAISM? A CASE STUDY IN TAXONOMICAL ISSUES IN THE STUDY OF ANCIENT JUDAISM

Subway maps in New York City and in London are no longer attempts at reproductive realism but have become abstract, generalized diagrams of the subway system. The modern scientific map is specific in its elimination, or erasure, of the practices and itineraries that contributed to its production. Jonathan Z. Smith reckons that no one has ever asked this question because the utility of mapping seems obvious. Smith's work on ritual and place is highly interesting since it pays attention to movement; it would be interesting to see where it takes us when our ambulatory nature is recognized from the start. Darwin's story of gradualism, however, with ancestors becoming human by degree over countless of generations, did not fit well with the Enlightenment view of a "psychic unity of mankind". Darwin's sketch of human decent could only work if what he considered "the ascendancy of reason" could be attributed to a hereditary endowment.