This course provides an opportunity for us to study and think about a select number of influential myths embedded within ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern religions which address the genesis, proliferation, and distribution of malicious entities and practices in human society. What exactly does the category ‘evil’ encompass? Who, what, and/or where is ‘evil’? Was there a place where or a time when ‘evil’ did not exist? If so, who or what is responsible for its appearance among us? What kind of work does it ‘do’? Can we protect ourselves against it? After some initial orientation, the bulk of the course will concentrate upon a close reading and analysis of a variety of literary remains, including (but not necessarily limited to) portions of Bible, the Dead Sea scrolls, apocryphal writings and apocalypses, reports from Christian church fathers, Qur’ān, and later Jewish, Christian, and Muslim esoterica.
Warning: In this class you may hear or read ideas which will disturb, shock, dismay, or outrage you, and you will be compelled to think using methodological paradigms which you may deem troubling, wrong-headed, blasphemous, or even sacrilegious. If you think you might be uncomfortable in this situation, then this is definitely not the class for you. On the other hand, if you think you can suspend your uncritical attachments to certain notions about scriptures, their meaning, and the circumstances surrounding their production, then you will undoubtedly learn a great deal about the historical and cultural matrices betwixt which Judaism, Christianity, and Islam arose and flourished.
The following textbooks are required for this course:
Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (rev. ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).
Neil Forsyth, The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).
Absent your capacity to work directly with the received texts, any responsible western language translations of Bible (including the so-called Apocrypha) and Qur’ān. Web links to the KJV and RSV English versions of Bible are available on the course website, as well as links to the standard Arabic text of the Qur’ān and the English translations of Shakir, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, and Pickthall.
Supplementary readings will be assigned and/or distributed by the instructor as needed.
a. Readings. The nature of this course entails a significant amount of close reading and reflection. Students are responsible for anticipating and completing the reading assignments (outlined in summary fashion below) in a timely manner. Every student is expected to read and critically expound the Forsyth volume mentioned above in its entirety.
b. Seminar presentations/papers. At almost every class meeting, an individual student will be responsible for leading the first half of our collective discussion of that week’s assignment. Students should use the template found later in this syllabus as a rough guide for their presentations and papers. All students (including the discussion leader) will prepare and submit to the instructor by the beginning of class a written summary and brief analysis (maximum length of five  typewritten or electronically printed pages) of that week’s reading assignment. The instructor’s evaluation of the student’s collective written exercise performance (based on the scale √+ = A; √ = B-; √- = D for undergrads; C for grads) will comprise 40% of the course grade.
c. Research project. One (1) formal research project to be presented in oral and written form (at least 15 double-spaced pages, exclusive of notes and list of sources) that focuses upon a particular topic relevant to or which interacts with the mythological or ritual dimensions of evil as explored in this class. After a close reading of primary and secondary sources and in consultation with the instructor, the student should select a topic of individual interest that permits such an extended exposition, analysis, and/or evaluation. The project will be presented orally (approximately 15 minutes) during the final class meeting (Friday, April 24); the formal written version of the papers must be submitted to the instructor by 12:00 PM one week later on Friday, May 1. The research project accounts for 40% of the course grade.
d. Individual involvement. Almost perfect attendance (see below) is an essential requirement for this course. Each class meeting builds upon the knowledge gained during previous meetings. Moreover, in-class discussion, close reading, and analysis by both the instructor and class members comprises a significant portion of every class meeting. Preparation for every class usually involves the completion of a series of assigned readings and/or written assignment(s), and individual students initiate our collective examination and discussion of the weekly topics. Students are expected to contribute in an informed manner to the public analysis and discussion of any assigned topic, and the instructor reserves the right to administer occasional unannounced ‘pop-quizzes’ should he deem the situation so warrants. The instructor’s assessment of one’s attendance, apparent class preparation, presentations, informed oral contributions, and any pop-quiz scores will constitute 20% of the final course grade.
e. Zakhor (Remember!): Mastery of the assigned readings and diligent class attendance are necessary prerequisites for the successful completion of this course. Each student is responsible for all lectures, class discussions, assignments, and announcements, whether or not he/she is present when they occur.
a. The grading scale used in this course is as follows:
91-95+ A = demonstrable mastery of material—outstanding performance
81-90 B = some demonstrable proficiency in control & analysis
71-80 C = satisfactory performance of assignments
61-70 D = inadequate and/or faulty understanding of material
0-70 F = unacceptable college-level work
Graduate students are graded using a scale of A, B, C, and U. A grade of ‘C’ for a graduate student is equivalent to that of a ‘D’ for undergraduates; ‘U’ signals unacceptable graduate-level work.
b. One of the requirements of this course is to complete the work of the course on time. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for late work—an illness or other emergency. ‘Emergency,’ however, does not include your social involvements, travel plans, job schedule, disk and/or printer failures, the state of your love life, your obligations to other courses, or general malaise over the state of the world. The world has been in a mess as long as anyone can remember, and most of the world’s work is done by people whose lives are a mass of futility and discontent. If you haven’t learned yet, you had better learn now to work under the conditions of the world as it is. Therefore:
1) All missing work is averaged as a 0 in the computation of the course grade.
2) All written work falls due on the dates scheduled in the syllabus, or on the date announced by the instructor in class (usually the next class meeting). ‘Late’ work will not be accepted from those who were privy to its oral evaluation and discussion (i.e., you were present while we ‘went over it’ but you neglected to do it beforehand). In the event of one’s absence, ‘late’ submissions bear the following penalties: one day late/one letter grade; two days late/two letter grades; three or more days late/U. Please note: these ‘days’ are calendar days, not class meeting days. For accounting purposes, letter grades bear the following values: A=95; A-=92; B+=88; B=85; B-=82; C+=78; C=75; C-=72; D=65; F/U=35. Untyped exercises, seminar papers, or research projects automatically receives the grade F/U, as do those typed submissions which violate the required parameters or which the instructor deems physically or grammatically substandard.
3) Since your diligent physical participation is critical for the success of this course, attendance at class meetings will be monitored by the instructor. One absence is regrettable; two absences are the limit of tolerability. Three (3) or more absences will result in an automatic F/U for the course. Please note that—with the exception of religious holidays—the instructor does not distinguish ‘excused’ from ‘unexcused’ absences. Unsanctioned late arrivals and early departures will be tallied as absences.
4) Policy regarding Audits: the instructor expects auditors (whether formally enrolled as such or not) to meet the same attendance, preparation, and oral participation standards as those students who are taking the course for credit. The instructor does not expect auditors to prepare and submit any written assignments.
c. Assistance and solicitation of criticism is your right as a member of the class. It is not a privilege to be granted or withheld. Do not hesitate to request it nor wait too late in the course for it to be of help.
ROUGH COURSE OUTLINE
Introduction & case study: Jacob of Edessa on Genesis 6:1-4
Forsyth, 19-66; 441-55.
Dalley, 39-153 (Gilgamesh).
Dalley, 228-77 (Epic of Creation).
Lair of Azazel.
No class (instructor absent)
No class (spring break)
Cartography of Good and Evil (1).
Cartography of Good and Evil (2).
Mesopotamian magical bowls.
No class (Pesaḥ/Easter)
A manuscript grimoire for invoking and harnessing demons.
Miscellaneous myths and rituals.
Final student presentations
TEMPLATE FOR WEEKLY DISCUSSION LEADERS
Discussion leaders can use the following template as a rough guideline for their seminar presentations:
1. Begin promptly.
2. Call on the instructor for announcements.
3. Present to the class an initial consideration of the assigned topic. Summarize (but do not evaluate yet!) your section’s main arguments and points. Certain key primary texts (e.g., myths; scriptures; descriptions by travelers or observers) may need to be identified and analyzed in view of their importance for the larger argument(s). I would suggest spending no more than thirty to forty minutes on this.
4. Open the floor for questions and discussion:
Plan A. Invite discussion of any issue of interest.
Plan B. Raise an important issue which you have seen in the text(s) and invite response (now you can evaluate!).
Plan C. Elicit comment on how the text(s) relate to points made in earlier classes and/or other passages from required or supplementary readings.
Plan D. Ask a series of pointed questions designed to provoke a response.
Be prepared to put Plans B-D into operation if Plan A falters.
5. Conclude by pointing to one or two aspects of the discussion that you consider to have been particularly valuable or productive for further work and consideration.
Each seminar paper will have a similar structure. You will first concisely summarize and highlight the primary points or arguments of the reading assigned from Forsyth for each week’s meeting. Then you will (1) identify and briefly assess the implications of his points, arguments, etc. for the way ‘evil’ appears to be envisioned within those texts which he discusses, and/or (2) discuss how the primary source readings we will read over the course of the semester (myths, rituals, incantations, prayers, etc.) lend support to or undermine his points, arguments, etc. The papers should be no longer than five (5) typed pages (single-spaced is fine) and fall due by the beginning of each class (beginning January 16) that is dedicated to the explication of Forsyth’s book.
SUPPLEMENTAL BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR RELS 4000/5000
In response to student requests for recommendations regarding useful and enlightening discussions of certain topics, themes, and characters that are presented in class and/or readings, I offer the following suggestions for further study at the student’s leisure. I confine myself to materials which I myself have used with profit and which are currently available at Atkins Library.
It is often helpful for the student to begin with appropriate articles in the general encyclopaedias devoted to religious studies. At present, the standard one is The Encyclopaedia of Religion, 16 vols. (ed. Mircea Eliade; New York: Macmillan, 1988). Older but by no means less useful is Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 12 vols. (ed. James Hastings; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1908-21). There exist more specific encyclopaedias and/or dictionaries of mythology, myth, etc. which may or may not be shelved in the reference area, but I find them to be of limited value. With regard to Bible and biblical studies, the best reference encyclopaedia is The Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992). Also reliable but now somewhat dated are The Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible (4 vols.) and its Supplementary Volume (ed. George A. Buttrick; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962 & 1976), and the Harper’s Bible Dictionary (ed. Paul J. Achtemeier; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985). A new edition of The Interpreters’ Dictionary is currently in preparation. Highly recommended are the relevant articles in the new Encyclopaedia Judaica (22 vols.; Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA/Thomson Gale, 2007): this source can be accessed electronically through the Atkins catalog. Regrettably Atkins does not own the important Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (2d rev. ed.; ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter van der Horst; Leiden: Brill, 1999).
Web resources for ancient Near Eastern studies have mushroomed during the past two decades or so, particularly with regard to the digitalization of texts (both primary and secondary) and images. The best entry point is www.etana.org. It features electronic editions of important reference tools and a portal to Abzu, a massive bibliographic database of web-based resources devoted to ancient history and cultures.
General Studies and Collections
Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948).
Theodore H. Gaster, The Oldest Stories in the World (New York: Viking Press, 1952). Presents a selection of Babylonian, Hittite, and Canaanite myths.
S. H. Hooke, Middle Eastern Mythology (Baltimore: Penguin, 1963).
Wayne Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1998).
Samuel Noah Kramer (ed.), Mythologies of the Ancient World (Garden City: Doubleday, 1961).
Henrietta McCall, Mesopotamian Myths (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990).
James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (3d ed.; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969). This has long been the standard English-language collection of representative samples of ancient Near Eastern literature.
Jack M. Sasson, ed., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (4 vols.; New York: Scribner’s, 1995).
Jeremy Black, Reading Sumerian Poetry (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998).
H. E. W. Crawford, Sumer and the Sumerians (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991).
Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps That Once …: Sumerian Poetry in Translation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).
Samuel Noah Kramer, In the World of Sumer: An Autobiography (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986). Recounts his labors in almost single-handedly recovering the literature of Sumer.
______, Sumerian Mythology (rev. ed.; New York: Harper, 1961).
______, The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963).
Samuel Noah Kramer & John Maier, Myths of Enki, the Crafty God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).
The Literature of Ancient Sumer (trans. Jeremy Black, et al.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Diane Wolkstein & Samuel Noah Kramer, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (New York: Harper & Row, 1983).
Babylonia and Assyria
Jean Bottéro, Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods (trans. Zainab Bahrani and Marc Van De Mieroop; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).
______, Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia (trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).
Stephanie Dalley, ed., The Legacy of Mesopotamia (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature (2 vols.; Potomac, Md.: CDL Press, 1996).
A. R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Introduction, Critical Edition, and Cuneiform Texts (2 vols.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Alexander Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis (2d ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963).
______, The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels (2d ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949).
S. H. Hooke, Babylonian and Assyrian Religion (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963).
Thorkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness: A History of Mesopotamian Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976).
A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization (rev. ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977).
H. W. F. Saggs, The Greatness That Was Babylon (New York: Hawthorn, 1962).
______, The Might That Was Assyria (London: Sidgwick and Jackson, 1984).
______, Babylonians (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995).
Jeffrey H. Tigay, The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982).
Alan M. Cooper, “Canaanite Religion (Overview),” in Encyclopedia of Religion (ed. Mircea Eliade, et al.; 15 vols.; New York: Macmillan, 1987), 3:35-44.
Michael David Coogan, “Canaanite Religion (The Literature),” in Encyclopedia of Religion (ed. Mircea Eliade, et al.; 15 vols.; New York: Macmillan, 1987), 3:45-57.
P. C. Craigie, Ugarit and the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1983).
Loren R. Fisher, ed., Ras Shamra Parallels: The Texts from Ugarit and the Hebrew Bible (3 vols.; Rome: Pontificium institutum biblicum, 1972- ).
Theodor H. Gaster, Thespis: Ritual, Myth and Drama in the Ancient Near East (New York: Henry Schuman, 1950).
J. C. L. Gibson, Canaanite Myths and Legends (2d ed.; Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1978).
John Gray, The Canaanites (London: Thames and Hudson, 1964).
______, The Legacy of Canaan: The Ras Shamra Texts and Their Relevance to the Old Testament (2d rev. ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1965).
Cyrus H. Gordon, Ugarit and Minoan Crete (New York: Norton, 1966).
______, Ugaritic Textbook: Grammar, Texts in Transliteration, Cuneiform Selections, Glossary, Indices (repr., 1 vol. In 3 parts; Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1998).
William M. Schniedewind, A Primer on Ugaritic: Language, Culture, and Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).
Jonathan N. Tubb, Canaanites (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).
The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949); 2nd edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970).
Walter Burkert, Greek Religion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985).
______, “The Logic of Cosmogony,” in From Myth to Reason? Studies in the Development of Greek Thought (ed. Richard Buxton; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 87-106.
______, “Oriental and Greek Mythology: The Meeting of Parallels,” in Interpretations of Greek Mythology (ed. Jan Bremmer; Totowa, N.J.: Barnes and Noble Books, 1986), 10-40.
______, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992).
______, Savage Energies: Lessons of Myth and Ritual in Ancient Greece (trans. Peter Bing; Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2001).
______, Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis: Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004).
Richard Buxton, Imaginary Greece: The Contexts of Mythology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
Francis M. Cornford, From Religion to Philosophy (repr. New York: Harper, 1957).
Timothy Gantz, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1993).
Robert Mondi, “Greek Mythic Thought in the Light of the Near East,” Approaches to Greek Myth (ed. Lowell Edmunds; Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990), 141-98.
Glenn W. Most, “From Logos to Mythos,” in From Myth to Reason? Studies in the Development of Greek Thought (ed. Richard Buxton; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 25-47.
Paul Veyne, Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination (trans. Paula Wissing; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
M. L. West, Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971).
______, The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997).
Bible and Myth
William F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths (New York: Doubleday, 1968).
Bernard F. Batto, Slaying the Dragon: Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1992).
Brevard S. Childs, Myth and Reality in the Old Testament (London: SCM Press, 1960).
Richard J. Clifford, Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible (Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 1994).
John Day, God’s Conflict With the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
Michael Fishbane, Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
James G. Frazer, Folk-lore in the Old Testament (3 vols.; London: Macmillan and Co., 1919).
Tikva Frymer-Kensky, In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth (New York: The Free Press, 1992).
Theodore H. Gaster, Myth, Legend, and Custom in the Old Testament (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). Updates yet does not supplant the classic study of Frazer.
Ignaz Goldziher, Mythology Among the Hebrews and its Historical Development (London, 1877; repr., New York: Cooper Square, 1967).
Robert Graves and Raphael Patai, Hebrew Myths (New York: Doubleday, 1964). *Warning—to be used with great caution.
Jonas C. Greenfield, “The Hebrew Bible and Canaanite Literature,” in The Literary Guide to the Bible (ed. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), 545-60.
Judith M. Hadley, The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah: Evidence for a Hebrew Goddess (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
Robert A. Oden, “Interpreting Biblical Myths,” in his The Bible Without Theology: The Theological Tradition and Alternatives to It (San Francisco, 1987; repr., Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 40-91.
Raphael Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (3d ed.; Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990).
______, Man and Temple in Ancient Jewish Myth and Ritual (2d ed.; New York: Ktav, 1967).
______, Robert Graves and the Hebrew Myths: A Collaboration (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992).
John W. Rogerson, Myth in Old Testament Interpretation (BZAW 134; Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1974).
Mark S. Smith, The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990).
______, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Nick Wyatt, Myths of Power: A Study of Royal Myth and Ideology in Ugaritic and Biblical Tradition (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 1996).
Myth and Folktale Studies
A. A. Aarne, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography (2d revision; Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1961).
D. L. Ashliman, A Guide to Folktales in the English Language: Based on the Aarne-Thompson Classification System (New York: Greenwood Press, 1987).
Neil Forsyth, “Appendix: Methods and Terms,” in his The Old Enemy: Satan & the Combat Myth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 441-55.
G. S. Kirk, Myth: Its Meaning and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970).
Axel Olrik, Principles for Oral Narrative Research (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992).
Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (2d ed., rev.; Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).
Robert A. Segal, Theorizing About Myth (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999).
______, Myth: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-Books, and Local Legends (Rev. and enl. ed.; 6 vols.; Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1955-58). The bible for motif and tale analysis.
______, The Folktale (repr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977). See especially the Appendices.
Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha Resources
R. H. Charles (ed.), The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English (2 vols.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913).
James H. Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1983-85).
______, The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, With A Supplement (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1981).
H. F. D. Sparks (ed.), The Apocryphal Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984).
Postbiblical Mythology, Folktales, and Legends
Micha Joseph bin Gorion, Mimekor Yisrael: Classical Jewish Folktales (3 vols.; ed. Emanuel bin Gorion; Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976).
S. Daniel Breslauer, ed., The Seductiveness of Jewish Myth: Challenge or Response? (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997).
Stephanie Dalley, “Gilgamesh in the Arabian Nights,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1991): 1-17.
______, “The Tale of Buluqiya and the Alexander Romance in Jewish and Sufi Mystical Circles,” in Tracing the Threads: Studies in the Vitality of Jewish Pseudepigrapha (ed. John C. Reeves; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994), 239-69.
Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1909-38). The fully annotated version of the popular one-volume Legends of the Bible, and a very useful resource for investigating the postbiblical development of biblical characters and events.
Galit Hasan-Rokem, Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).
______, Web of Life: Folklore and Midrash in Rabbinic Literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).
Irving Jacobs, The Midrashic Process: Tradition and Interpretation in Rabbinic Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
Yehuda Liebes, Studies in Jewish Myth and Jewish Messianism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993).
Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, “From Mythic Motifs to Sustained Myth: The Revision of Rabbinic Traditions in Medieval Midrashim,” Harvard Theological Review 89 (1996): 131-59.
Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Haim Schwarzbaum, “Prolegomenon,” in Moses Gaster, The Chronicles of Jerahmeel (repr., New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1971) 1-124. A rich bibliographical resource.
Jaroslav Stetkevych, “The Arabian Golden Bough and Kindred Branches: Frazer, Vergil, Homer, and Gilgamesh,” in his Muhammad and the Golden Bough: Reconstructing Arabian Myth (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 83-105.
Eli Yassif, The Hebrew Folktale: History, Genre, Meaning (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999).