Abstract

In his first articulation of self-definition—though not his first identity-forming moment—in Exodus, Moses, a repeat survivor of violence, describes himself in genealogical and geographical terms: “I have become a sojourner in a foreign land” (Exod 2:22). The bearer of that identity and memory, however, is not Moses but Gershom; that is, “sojourner” and “foreignness” function less as person-specific and boundary-specific tropes than as intergenerational and interregional presences. Moses’s intergenerational and interregional interpretive act creates a narrative and embodied character, Gershom, whose “inherited” story illustrates an exodus motif of fragmented and dislocated identity reclaimed as trauma-promise. Combining biblical exegesis with theoretical insights from postcolonial analyses, cultural memory, and identity formation in the nation-state of Cameroon, the essay reads Exodus 2 as a postwar story of identity formation, infused with multiple consciousnesses (political, ethnic, gendered, regional, and religious) and varied memories (conjunctive, disjunctive, and adjunctive). These consciousnesses and memories create gershomite identity, the narrative trope and communal embodiment that transform the traumas of communal fragmentation and displacement into trauma-hopes of survival and regeneration.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1934-3876
Print ISSN
0021-9231
Pages
pp. 855-876
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-30
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.