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Sepher ha-Ma'asim / ספר המעשים: לאופיו, מקורותיו והשפעתו של קובץ סיפורים מזמנם של בעלי התוספות

עלי יסיף and Eli Yassif
Tarbiẕ / תרביץ
כרך נג‎, חוברת ג‎ (ניסן-סיוון תשמ"ד), pp. 409-429
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23596043
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Sepher ha-Ma'asim / ספר המעשים: לאופיו, מקורותיו והשפעתו של קובץ סיפורים מזמנם של בעלי התוספות
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Abstract

An important collection of 61 tales, most of which have never appeared in print, appears in manuscript Or. 135 of the Bodliean Library at Oxford. This collection was compiled in France or Germany in about the second half of the 12th Century, i.e. at the time and location of the Tosaphists. A literary-generic analysis of this collection of tales should open a new view on Jewish folk culture in the time of the Tosaphists which has hardly been considered before. The generic analysis of the 61 tales of this collection demonstrates that the sacred legend and the entertaining novella have almost equal status in the collection, thus indicating that the thirst of the Medieval Jew for entertainment was no less than his reverence for religious and moral ideas. The search for the origins of the tales reveals that the sacred, religious tales are of Jewish origin: Talmudic-Midrashic literature, or the local creation of West-European Jews. On the other hand, the novella are Jewish transformations of international tale-types which came to Western Europe from the East: India or Persia. This collection of tales has had an important influence on the repertoire of Jewish folktales in modern times. Its stories have been reproduced in most of the influential collections of tales: the Yiddish Maase Buch and the Hebrew Ose-Pele. This development should be considered as the framework for the process of transmission of Medieval Jewish folktales to modern Jewish folklore.

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