The Boundaries of Israel: Polemical Warfare on Behalf of the Holy Land

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The Boundaries of the Land of Israel is a late thirteenth-century guidebook that describes several itineraries in the Holy Land. Critics have lauded it as the culmination of late medieval Jewish travel literature, and have noted its sophistication in bringing unusual exegetical depths to the descriptions of holy sites. While questions of its exact dating and authorship have long been debated, its intellectual and literary provenance has been largely taken for granted. Mostly, scholars have overlooked the polemical ambition that underlies the way the author chose to expound upon the Holy Land. Drawing on bellicose messianic traditions that originated with the founders of the Jewish community in Frankish Acre, this treatise, I argue, sought to show how the Land itself makes manifest the meaning of Scripture. Consequently, the Land of Israel is seen not only to reject the rule of Muslims and Christians, but also to disprove their respective interpretive traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-126
Number of pages22
JournalAJS Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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