Folklore | Introduction to Jewish Folk Literature
F358 | 31270 | H. Bar-Itzhak

Fulfills COLL Arts & Humanities, Culture Studies List A

Meets with JSTU-J303.

Jewish folk literature has a long historical record. Among the Jews
written sources played a great role in creation and transmission of
folklore. The tendency developed among the Jews in early times was
to put down in writing folk literature as well as folk customs and
beliefs. We can trace folk literary forms in Biblical and Rabbinic
literature and Jewish literature in the Middle Ages.

Because of the dispersion of the Jews among many peoples and in
different countries, Jewish folklore in general and folk literature
in particular is comprised of many common elements, but also
separate local developments, which include features related to the
local non-Jewish folklore.

Such a historical depth and cultural diversity add to the richness
and complexity of Jewish folk literature.

The course is an introduction to this literary folk tradition. We
will concentrate on folk literature in ancient Jewish sources as
well as modern Jewish folk literature of various Jewish ethnic
groups. We will explore trends of continuity and change in Jewish
folk literature and discuss ethnographic, poetic and thematic
aspects such as the recording of folk literature in the natural
environment while examining the storytelling event and performance;
Poetic aspects such as character, space, time, genre; and the main
themes in Jewish folk literature.

Course Requirements
There is no prerequisite for the course. All the required readings
are in English. The classes will consist of lectures and
discussions, and the weekly reading assignments. At the end of the
semester students shall take a final examination.