The abstract of this article reads as follows:
In this essay, I attempt to inscribe the mysterious location known as ‘the cities of the sea’ (כרמי הים) onto the map of rabbinic scholarship. Classical rabbinic authors look toward this mythic locale for three reasons: (1) to discuss tales of sin (and sometimes salvation); (2) to offer definitions and clarifications of obscure words; and (3) to explain halakhic exceptions. Through an examination כרמי הים in the classical rabbinic corpus, I argue that ‘the cities of the sea’ should be understood as a locus of rabbinic pedagogy and not necessarily viewed as an actual, mappable location.
Rosenblum argues suggestively, if on necessarily slim evidence, that ‘the cities of the sea’ in rabbinic discussion is a ‘pedagogical space’, serving a ‘discursive site for pedagogical purposes. It is meant to be turned toward for instruction, and not necessarily to be located on Google Earth.’