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The Hebrew Folktale : History, Genre, Meaning - Eli Yassif

The Hebrew Folktale

History, Genre, Meaning

By: Eli Yassif, Jacqueline S. Teitelbaum (Translator), Dan Ben-Amos (Foreword by)

Hardcover Published: 16th April 2009
ISBN: 9780253335838
Number Of Pages: 584
For Ages: 22+ years old

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The Hebrew Folktale seeks to find and define the folk-elements of Jewish culture. Through the use of generic distinctions and definitions developed in folkloristics, Yassif describes the major trends-structural, thematic, functional-of folk narrative in the central periods of Jewish culture. Yassif employs this classification as the primary vehicle for understanding the social function and cultural meaning of the Hebrew folktale within Jewish culture. By analysing texts from various periods in their historical and cultural context, the author presents an overview of the Hebrew folktale, examines the transmission of the folktale from period to period, and looks at the interaction between texts from different times and contexts. The folktale in the history of Jewish culture is presented as a continuous and developing element, which "moves" with Jewish history, and is a central component in its interpretation and memory. The study of the folktale in Jewish culture offers an opportunity for understanding general themes such as the place of folklore in the development of culture, and the complicated relationships between elite and folk culture, oral and written literature, historical reality, and narrative fiction. Eli Yassif is Professor of Hebrew literature and Jewish Folklore at Tel-Aviv University He is the author of many books including The Study of Jewish Folklore: An Annotated Bibliography, The Golem of Prague, and The Knight, the Demon and the Virgin: An anthology of Hebrew Stories from the Middle Ages.

Industry Reviews

The most comprehensive account of its subject now available, this impressive study lives up to the encyclopedic promise of its title. Yassif (Tel Aviv Univ.) examines the Hebrew folktale chronologically in the context of Jewish culture, and so affords thoughtful critical analyses of how the genre evolved and developed through the centuries in terms of the indigenous national literature. After an introduction describing the evolution of modern scholarship on the folktale, Yassif considers five historical periods: biblical, Second Temple, Rabbinic ,Middle Ages, and Changing World-the last delineating the Hasidic story, legends of saints in contemporary Israel, and tales of returning to the faith in a secular society. The discussion in each chapter is dense and lucid; Teitelbaum renders the original Hebrew in fluent, jargon-free English. Yassif brings an extraordinary amount of learning to his task, leaving this reviewer in no doubt that this volume will henceforth be the authoritative reference on the subject. It will also be an invaluable resource for students of narratology in general, since its exposition of folk narrative deals with such modes as the legend, the fable, the fairy tale, the comic tale, the saint's legend, among many other literary forms. Some 80 pages of notes add valuable information concerning source material. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.M. Butovsky, Concordia University, Choice, May 2000

Introduction: Jewish Culture and the Hebrew Folktalep. 1
The Biblical Period: The Folktale as Sacred Historyp. 8
The Mythp. 10
The Legendp. 15
The Fablep. 23
The Novellap. 27
The Story Cyclep. 30
Developments and Transitionsp. 33
The Second Temple Period: The Casting of Narrative Patternsp. 38
Narrative in the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha: Continuation and Renewalp. 38
The Historical Legendp. 40
The Expanded Biblical Talep. 46
The Martyrological Narrative as Folktalep. 52
The Hagiographical Cyclep. 57
The Novella and Wisdom Talep. 61
The Fairytalep. 64
The Contribution to the History of Hebrew Narrativep. 67
The Folktale in the Rabbinic Period: Between Folk Culture and Rabbinic Literaturep. 70
Introductionp. 70
Performance Eventsp. 72
The Expanded Biblical Storyp. 79
Narrative Traditions from the Second Temple Periodp. 89
The Biographical Legendp. 106
The Exemplump. 120
The Historical Legendp. 132
Tales of Magic and Demonologyp. 144
The Comic Talep. 166
Parables and Fablesp. 191
The Story Cyclep. 209
The Middle Ages: External Perils and Internal Tensionsp. 245
Introductionp. 245
Rabbinic Aggadah as Folk Narrativep. 250
Tales from International Folklorep. 265
The Exemplump. 283
The Historical Legendp. 297
The Saint's Legendp. 321
The Novella and Gender Storiesp. 343
Tales of Magic and Demonologyp. 351
The Later Generations: The Folktale in Confrontation with a Changing Worldp. 371
The Hasidic Story as Folk Literaturep. 371
Legends of the Saints and Israeli Societyp. 407
"Return to the Faith" Stories: Religious Rhetoric in a Secular Worldp. 429
Notesp. 461
Abbreviations Used in the Notesp. 543
Indexp. 549
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780253335838
ISBN-10: 0253335833
Series: Folklore Studies in Translation
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 584
Published: 16th April 2009
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.26 x 16.56  x 4.52
Weight (kg): 0.97
Edition Type: Annotated

Earn 246 Qantas Points
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