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The history of oral narratives is in the grip of a paradox. The voice of their past telling is no longer evident, and what is evident is no longer oral. Once committed to writing, oral tales become literature, bearing the consequences of this transformation that occurs under specific social, religious, economic, even technical, circumstances.1 The shift from orality to literacy involves thematic, stylistic, and poetic modifications, and although in their new state the tales have a relatively higher degree of stability, they still can offer us glimpses into their performance history.
Originally published in Jewish Studies © 1995 World Union of Jewish Studies. Reproduced with permission.
Ben-Amos, D. (1995). The Hebrew Folktale: A Review Essay. Review of Eli Yassif, The Hebrew Folktale: History, Genre, Meaning. Jewish Studies, 35 29-60. Retrieved from https://repository.upenn.edu/nelc_papers/138
Date Posted: 01 December 2017