Penn Arts & Sciences

The University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the scholarly excellence that has established Penn as one of the world's leading research universities. We teach students across all 12 Penn schools, and our academic departments span the reach from anthropology and biology to sociology and South Asian studies.

Members of the Penn Arts & Sciences faculty are leaders in creating new knowledge in their disciplines and are engaged in nearly every area of interdisciplinary innovation. They are regularly recognized with academia's highest honors, including membership in prestigious societies like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as significant prizes such as MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships.

The educational experience offered by Penn Arts & Sciences is likewise recognized for its excellence. The School's three educational divisions fulfill different missions, united by a broader commitment to providing our students with an unrivaled education in the liberal arts. The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic home of the majority of Penn undergraduates and provides 60 percent of the courses taken by students in Penn's undergraduate professional schools. The Graduate Division offers doctoral training to over 1,300 candidates in more than 30 graduate programs. And the College of Liberal and Professional Studies provides a range of educational opportunities for lifelong learners and working professionals.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 97
  • Publication
    Nationalism and Nihilism: The Attitude of Two Hebrew Authors Toward Folklore
    (1981) Ben-Amos, Dan
    Folklore and literature are linked concepts, but so far no one theory has satisfactorily explained the nature of their relationship. Attempts have been made to establish the connection between them in terms of history, evolution, communication, and social systems. According to the historical approach, folklore consists of elementary forms which increase in formal and semantic complexity until they become literary genres.1 The Chadwicks stated a generally accepted position when they wrote that "written literature was derived in some form from this 'unwritten literature'."2 At the basis of this historical development are the dynamic laws of literature by which themes, genres, and structures advance from simple to complex patterns. Although human thoughts and emotions motivate creative writing, authors, seen in this way, are but the tools, the handmaidens of literature. The same themes repeat in different patterns, changing according to historical and social situations, yet retaining certain psychological and metaphysical elements that are as historical as they are inherent to man.
  • Publication
    Alt- und mitteljidd. Erzählungen
    (1992) Ben-Amos, Dan
    Geschicte und Verbreitung. Die jidd. Sprache entstand um das 10. Jh. in den jüd. Gemeinden in Lothringen. Von dort verbreitete sie sich mit den aschkenas. Kolonien nach Norditalien, Nordfrankreich und Holland sowie durch die Kreuzzüge im mitteleurop. Raum, danach ostwärts in die slav. Länder33. Altjiddisch (1250-1500) war hauptsächlich eine gesprochene Sprache, in der mündl. Erzählungen, Lieder, Fabeln und Sprichwörter ihren Platz hatten. Aus dieser Periode existieren verstreute Glossen und Redewendugen. Der älteste datierte Sprachbeleg ist ein Segen in einem illuminierten Wormser Gebetbuch (1272)34. Das früheste literar. Dokument in jidd. Sprache ist die Cambridger Hs. von 1382
  • Publication
    Review of Rella Kushelevsky, Moses and the Angel of Death
    (1999) Ben-Amos, Dan
    For many years comparative thematics was the principal method of comparative literature until formalism and structuralism emerged as the key terms of avant-garde scholarship. Now, in an era when these very terms are relegated to the backyard of the academy by trendier directions, thematic analysis is enjoying a modest rejuvenation.1 Within this re-emerging paradigm Yoav Elstein and Avidov Lipsker have launched a very ambitious project known as "The Thematological Encylcopedia of Jewish Literature." They have outlined their methodology in two programmatic essays,2 and together and separately published several case studies.3 Yoav Elstein has also guest-edited volume 30 of Criticism and Interpretation (1994) which includes several thematological essays by diverse hands.
  • Publication
    Shivhei Habesht
    (1996) Ben-Amos, Dan
    Shivhei HaBesht is the first collection of tales about the Besht. It contains biographical details about his parents, childhood, acquisition of mystical knowledge, travels, teachings, miracles, and death. Interspersed among these are stories about a few other hasidic leaders, followers of the Besht.
  • Publication
    Musical Instruments from Benin
    (1971) Ben-Amos, Dan
  • Publication
    Review of David Assaf, The Regal Way: The Life and Times of R. Israel of Ruzhin
    (2000-01-01) Ben-Amos, Dan
    Hagiography and history tell their stories at cross-purposes. While hagiography glorifies, even sanctifies its heroes, history strips them of their traditional greatness, seeking to bare the factual truth to which documents and testimonies attest. Nowhere is this contrast more evident than in the history and study of Hasidism. Legends (shevahim) are the building blocks of the Hasidic tradition, in which the rabbi is a leader, a miracle worker and a storyteller. He is the narrating subject, who, in turn, becomes the object of stories subsequent generations tell.
  • Publication
    Review of Haim Schwarzbaum, Jewish Folklore between East and West. Collected Papers
    (1991) Ben-Amos, Dan
    In his obituary for Haim Schwarzbaum (1911-1983), Dov Noy tells that upon his arrival at Bloomington, Indiana in 1952 to begin his graduate studies, Stith Thompson asked him whether he knew Haim Schwarzbaum in Israel. He did not, and Professor Thompson invited Dov Noy to his office and showed him the thick file of correspondence that he conducted with Schwarzbaum, saying: "You should know that I correspond with over a hundred folklorists worldwide, and your Haim Schwarzbaum is the most erudite of them all" (Noy 1986, 88). At the time Schwarzbaum was in his early forties. Most of his publications to that date appeared in the literary supplement of newspapers; only two of his articles were published in Hebrew scholarly journals (GANUZ 1984, 10). Yet in his private scholarly correspondence he had already demonstrated his overflowing erudition to be deserving of such an accolade from the leading folktale scholar of our time. Folklorists learned about his scholarly acumen only in the late fifties, when his articles began to appear regularly in scholarly publications.
  • Publication
    (1983) Ben-Amos, Dan
    This matter-of-fact letter from the then-President of the University of Pennsylvania opened a new era in folklore studies. With it the University of Pennsylvania inaugurated the second doctoral program in folklore in the country, delivering Indiana University from its pioneering isolation, and stimulating other folklorists to increase their efforts in that direction in their own universities.
  • Publication
    Obituary: Raphael Patai (1910-1996)
    (1997) Ben-Amos, Dan
    First memories are formative. Raphael Patai, who died on July 20, 1996, opens his autobiography with a memory of himself as an infant sliding down three flights of stairs into the street and placing himself between the two rails of the tramline, only to be saved at the last minute and carried back into the safety of his home by his mother. Whether recalled or reinforced by parental retelling, both aspects of this recollection, the spirit of independent exploration and the protective warmth of home, mark his path in life.
  • Publication
    New Trends in Folklore
    (1975) Ben-Amos, Dan