Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Some Parascriptural Dimensions of the “Tale of Hārūt wa-Mārūt”

John C. Reeves
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 135, No. 4 (October–December 2015), pp. 817-842
DOI: 10.7817/jameroriesoci.135.4.817
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7817/jameroriesoci.135.4.817
Page Count: 26
  • Download ($8.00)
  • Cite this Item
Item Type
Article
References
Some Parascriptural Dimensions of the “Tale of Hārūt wa-Mārūt”
Preview not available

Abstract

Early commentators and traditionists embed and amplify Q 2:102—an enigmatic allusion to angelic complicity in the transmission of esoteric knowledge to humankind—within a rich layer of interpretive lore frequently bearing the rubric “Tale of Hārūt and Mārūt.” A close study of this verse alongside its external narrative embellishments uncovers a wealth of structural and contextual motifs that suggestively link the “Tale” with biblical and parascriptural myths about “fallen angels” and their perceived role in the corruption of antediluvian humanity. The present article catalogs a representative number of these motifs, speculates about their mode of transmission, and offers some guidelines for analyzing the different versions of the “Tale” that surface centuries later in medieval Jewish interpretive and mystical literature. Particular attention is devoted to unpacking the identity of the woman who is responsible for the seduction of the angels.

Page Thumbnails