Jews of Nusantara: Trajectories of Identity in the course of Indonesian History


Dr. Leonard C. Epafras


For Indonesian public at large the Jewish history and reality in Nusantara is vague and in many ways imaginary. This presentation will lay down the dynamics of Jewish visibility and invisibility in Nusantara history and in modern public discourse. However, the presentation is not exhaustive, and the focus is directed at the moments whenever Jewish identity is contested and transformed. Like any other social identity and belonging, Jewish identity in this regard is considered impermanent, dynamic, adaptable, and constantly changed; it is the outcome of the reciprocal process between self-perception and social imposition. Through this, it testifies different trajectories of identity formation throughout Nusantara history, including the emergence of a new Jewish identity in the present day.



Leonard C. Epafras is a core Doctoral Faculty in the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS). He teaches History of Religions in Indonesia at ICRS, and Biblical Hebrew, Judaism, and Christianity at Duta Wacana Christian University.

His research field including: Memory Studies, Cultural Studies, Biblical Studies, Judaica, Peace Studies, and Muslim-Jews Interaction.



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