By Barbara Kreiger
The useless Sea is not like the other position on the earth. located four hundred and forty yards lower than sea point, so saline it cannot help existence, surrounded by way of a desolate, haunting panorama, it's not only a geologic characteristic yet a resource of poser and spiritual religion. In dependent and shiny prose, Barbara Kreiger re-creates and analyzes the myths and legends surrounding the positioning and examines either its ordinary historical past and its sluggish and tough exploration. however the lifeless Sea (originally released as residing Waters in 1988) is greater than a close and pleasant travelogue. it's also an inquiry into the human and political drama that has swirled round this mysterious position for greater than 12,000 years. In an afterword to the recent version, Kreiger exhibits how the ocean within the post-Peace Accord period might come to tackle a brand new symbolism: with the perpetual want for water and a thriving mineral as universal bonds, Israel and Jordan, conventional antagonists whose border bisects the ocean, may possibly locate themselves becoming a member of forces to maintain its fragile atmosphere opposed to the threats of know-how and tourism. hence the lifeless Sea, whose destiny is "inextricably certain up with the social, political, and technological lives of the 2 countries who percentage it, " may well develop into the scene the place separate nationwide pursuits are joined instead of divided.
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Extra info for The Dead Sea: Myth, History, and Politics
Page 16 Benjamin Disraeli's hero Tancred wandered in the desert east of the lake, and Gustav Flaubert made the journey himself. But in no literary imagination did the Dead Sea burn so keenly as in Herman Melville's. The lure of the East extended as far back as his childhood. In his autobiographical Redburn, he recalled having seen a man who had just returned from Egypt and the Dead Sea: "I very well remembered staring at a man... who was pointed out to me by my aunt one Sunday in Church, as the person who had been in Stony Arabia, and passed through strange adventures there, all of which with my own eyes I had read in the book which he wrote, an arid-looking book in a pale yellow cover.
Where? In the writings of the poets who have emphatically described what they have never seen. We are not yet five minutes treading the shores of the Dead Sea, and already, all that has been said of it appears as mere creations of fancy. " A Dutch contemporary concurred: "In vain my eye sought for the terrific representations which some writers... have given of the Dead Sea. '' Some of the many explorers who journeyed to the Dead Sea in the last century were adventurers, others were driven by religious fervor.
The Dead Sea is not merely the lowest place on the face of the earth; at minus 1,332 feet it is the lowest by far. (The second lowest is variously given as Lake Assal in Djibouti, or the Turfan Page xxii Depression in northwest China, both at minus approximately 490 feet. ) The question invariably asked by the modern traveller is how it got to be that way. I will try here to make some sense of the world of stones and strata in order to piece together that strange geological tale. The readjustment of one's inner clock to accommodate time spans of millions of years results in a new way of looking at the lake and its environs.