Jewish Studies | Introduction to Jewish Folk Literature
J303 | 31235 | Bar-Itzhak


Introduction to Jewish Folk Literature (3 cr.)
H. Bar-Itzhak
JSTU-J 303 Arts & Humanities Topics in Jewish Studies #31235 / FOLK-
F 358 Jewish Folklore/Folklife/Folk Music #31270
TR 11:15-12:30

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.

Fulfills: CASE A&H, Jewish Studies Language & Literature, Literature
& the Arts, or History & Society course