Sacred Toponymy Matters: the Territory in the Map

If the practice of mapping and remapping is in a sense a therapeutic act as a staking out of place, a reclaiming of memory, and act of possession, or a braiding of all the three, the negotiation on the land is far more contested, and rendered more potent, as it is cast or rendered as a covenant, as much as mere territorial bounds.  The territory, while drawn on the map, seems to remain both separate from it, as a result, given the provisional nature of maps–maps only approximate as a secondary version of a vision that exists, sadly, without little consensus or negotiation ever being able to be actually reached.  As, at the same time, new maps seem to always multiply, whose very multiplication opens new land for potential contestation–and push resolution (one fears) further down the road. But perhaps it is worth remembering that the map needn’t be the territory.  The sort of cartographical archeology uncovered in crumbling pages of archives, rare book rooms or on the internet provides a nice way to distance map from territory, paradoxically, by recovering the inhabitation of the map.

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Filed under biblical maps, historical maps, Holy Land, Israel, sacred territory

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