Diaspora, which means “to scatter” or “disperse” in Greek (IdEA, n.d.), combines “the prefix dia- (meaning ‘through’) and the verb sperein (meaning ‘to sow’ or ‘to scatter’)” (Edwards 2014, 76). While Münz and Ohlinger write that the term “was first used in ancient Greece to characterize the exile of the Aegean population after the Peloponnesian War” (2003a, 3), Edwards says that it originally appeared in the Septuagint, which is “the translation of the Hebrew Torah prepared for the ruler of Alexandria in Egypt around 250 BCE by a specially appointed group of Jewish scholars” (2014, 76). Although the word has historically been used as a self-designation by populations of Mediterranean Jews during the Hellenic period, today we use it to describe those living outside their shared country of ancestry or origin. Both emigrants and their descendants belong to the diaspora of the emigrant, who might or might not maintain strong ties to an ancestral homeland. Those with mixed heritage can belong to multiple diasporic communities (IdEA, n.d.).

This essay may be found on page 54 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay