In an age of reality television and social media, we are bombarded with snapshots of the exotic, monstrous, and bizarre. Yet despite their quantity, these images pale in comparison to the qualities of terror, wonder and curiosity that ancient travelers evoked in their encounters with foreign lands and peoples. Early ethnographers, too, painstakingly explored the beliefs and practices of unfamiliar peoples–sometimes very close to home. This course surveys their most vivid writings, from ancient Greece to the colonization of the New World, focusing on the relation between fascination with the other and the author’s own religious imagination. In particular, it introduces the contributions of Jewish travelers and ethnographers to this history, which has often been written from the standpoint of imperial, ecclesiastical or colonial power. It stresses literary continuities across three general periods (ancient, medieval, and colonial), showing how remarkably consistent patterns of identification spring from diverse encounters.