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Mirage of the Saracen$
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Walter D. Ward

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520283770

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520283770.001.0001

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The Sinai as Christian Space

The Sinai as Christian Space

(p.67) 3 The Sinai as Christian Space
Mirage of the Saracen

Walter D. Ward

University of California Press

The monks who settled the Sinai did so because of the region’s connections to the Exodus, and this chapter examines how these monks created a Christian Sinai by identifying contemporary locations with sites mentioned in the Exodus account. Three major sites were identified: Elim, Raphidim, and Mount Sinai. Biblical readings were employed to locate these sites, and local topographic features were believed to prove the historicity of the Biblical account. Elim is particularly instructive because several authors place it at different locations in the Sinai, at first in the northwest of the peninsula and later at the monastic community at Rhaithou. By labelling Sinai locations with Christian names, the monks replaced the nomadic understanding of the Sinai with a Christian topography and created a Christian holy place.

Keywords:   holy place, Christian topography, Sinai, Mount Sinai, Exodus, Christian

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