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As a literary genre travelers' stories have grown out of oral traditions. These traditions flourished along the trade routes of the ancient world. Indeed the roads around the Mediterranean basin were busy with traffic during the Roman and Byzantine periods.

This anthology of twenty-one travelers' tales examines the Talmudic tales as an inter-cultural phenomenon.


“Grossmark has provided us with careful and suggestive analysis of these tales both in their Talmudic context and as folk-lore, with parallels in many traditions.” – Susan Weingarten

“All studies of this genre begin with reports of early Christian pilgrims, dating from the fourth century on. And here Dr. Grossmark presents her unique contribution, as she has added two innovations: the introduction of Rabbinic literature into the genre, and the use of older 'travelers' stories', from as early as the first century.” – Prof. Haim Goren, Tel-Hai Academic College

"... excellent, well organized collection and thoughtful analysis of 21 Jewish travelogues, travel tales, and travel folk tales uses interdisciplinary tools to compare them with the inter-cultural literature of journeys. [The author] casts a wide net, yet gives appropriate attention to details and expertly draws on a varied terminology and knowledge not only of Hebrew and Aramaic but Latin and Greek. ... uniquely demonstrates the existence of Jewish travelogues in Tannaitic and Amoraic literature from as early as the first century, thereby showing that Jewish travelogues precede the Christian travelogues of the fourth century and later." -- Prof. David B. Levy, Touro College

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Susan Weingarten
Acknowledgments Prologue: 'Come and I Will Show You Where Heaven and Earth Touch One Another'
Part One: Background
1. Rabbinic Literature, Historical Background and Methodological Outline
2. Biography in Rabbinic Literature, Some Preliminary Observations
3. 'Being There', A few Comments on Travelers' Tales
4. Rabba bar bar Hanna, A Literary Biography
5. 'He who sells a ship', the Talmudic context of Rabba bar Bar Hanna's travelers' tales

Part Two: The Tales
6. 'The Wave that Sinks a Ship', In the Perils of the Tide
7. 'I Saw Hormin the Son of Llith', A Demon on the Walls of Mahuza
8. Monstrous Creatures, 'I Saw an Antelope, One Day Old that was as big as Mount Tabor'
9. Spinning a Yarn, 'Once We Were Traveling on Board a Ship and Saw a Fish'
10. 'Shall We Have a Share of Your Flesh?', On Mythic Birds and Eschatological Perceptions
11. 'We were once traveling in a desert', Rabba bar Bar Hanna in the Footsteps of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sinai
12. Back to the Sea, On Precious Stones and Sea Monsters
Epilogue: 'And There would be an End of All My Adventures'
Ch. N. Bialik, The Dead of the Wilderness

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