Daniel Maoz


This study examines the role played by environmental representation of an apparent borderless boundary, the desert, as presented in Scripture – the Hebrew Bible / First Testament. It considers lessons derived from “desert-thought” testified within Rabbinic and Patristic literature. In Scripture, the desert played a prominent role in both Exodus and Akedah, two narratives central to Jewish thought and Christian theology. Beyond this, desert fathers such as Antony of Egypt expressed profound spirituality through this desolate land (Chrysostom; Athanasius, Vita). The Rabbis repeatedly embellished, for virtue’s sake, lessons gained from this same bleak landscape (Midrash Bemidbar Rabbah). An early version of this article was presented at the Canadian Society for Patristic Studies annual conference, a part of the Canadian Congress for Social Sciences and Humanities (May 26, 2014) at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario.