The ritual and popular practice of the pilgrimage is widespread in various cultures and religions. In the present work the Biblical links of the rite are examined especially from a linguistic approach. The use of the verb gur, "to wander", "to roam” and that of the noun ger, "wanderer", "foreigner” or even “refugee”, prevalent in the epic narratives of ancient Israel (cfr. for ex. Gen 47,9) convey to the Jewish population the awareness of being “errant”, “itinerant”. Another key word is hag, “feast”, which in many cases involves rites of circumambulation. It is applied to the three principal Jewish celebrations: Sukkot, Pesah, Shavuot; particularly interesting is the analysis of the festival of Sukkot. A specific attention is dedicated to the frequent use of the verb 'ala, "to ascend" (the noun 'aliyya comes to mean "ascent" in post-biblical Hebrew). One ascends to the sacred mountains, to the sanctuaries, and finally 'ala becomes the technical verb that indicates the ascent to the Temple in Jerusalem or to Zion. This verb and yasa, "to exit" appear in Exodus where they describe the journey from Egypt to Canaan and in some post-exilic texts 'ala also refers to the return of the people of Israel. In conclusion, a detailed analysis is devoted to the expression lir'ot (et) pne yhwh , "to see the face of the Lord". (cfr. for ex. Is 1,12), which shows clearly the ultimate aim of the ascension to the Temple, very frequently not appropriately rendered in translation. The analysis of the above mentioned terminology allows us to define the origin of the rite of 'aliyya leregel, "pilgrimage" in post-biblical texts and to throw light on a very popular and widespread ritual in those religions that are based on the Bible.
Unfortunately, the timing of the various papers is not ideal. From my perspective, all of the most interesting subjects are on the first day at take place at the same time, which means I will have to miss a bunch. The two papers above back on to each other, meaning I will have to rush from one room to the other in order to make it on time, missing another interesting paper on the reception history of Psalm 1 (though luckily Gillingham is coming to Bonn soon, where I believe she will be repeating the paper). Oh well, one of my favourite activities is reading in cafés with a cigar and decent cappuccino, and where can one do that better than in Rome (really, the cappuccino there is in a class of its own)?
Ingrid (my wife) will be flying out on the Saturday, so we'll be spending another week in the city doing the regular tourist stuff (though I intend to thoroughly explore the Jewish quarter, probably the most interesting thing Rome has to offer).
Anyway, I wish who ever is reading this a enjoyable and erholsamer (restorative) summer break. :)