פורים שני: משפחה בראי עצמה—מסורת ספרותית, דימוי עצמי וזהות אתנית

Translated title of the contribution: Second Purim—Literary Tradition, Family Self-Image and Ethnic Identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the interrelationships of legends, family self-image and ethnic identity. As a case in point we shall examine family sagas, i.e., stories traditionally told in the extended family about miracles experienced by some of the forefathers. The miraculous stories told by the Meyuḥas family in Jerusalem will be used for exemplification. Every year on the 16th of the month of Adar the family commemorates those miracles with a "Second Purim". Primarily, answers will be sought to the following fundamental questions: which families create literary traditions — that is, what links the biography to the hagiography of the family's forefathers? What generic classifications do these literary traditions fall into, and what form does their ritual celebration assume? These aspects are analysed on the basis of written and oral sources, as well as personal interviews. It becomes evident that the generic uniqueness of these hagiographic stories is embedded in the contextual level and in the very creation of that context, rather than in its textual aspects. The text preserves the traditional structure of parallel stories, threaded with well-known motifs and terms. The context not only changes from story to story, but in itself creates new stories about the previous context. It is the yearly ritual ceremony that provides the extra dimension of uniqueness, as opposed to that of the regular story context, for by the very act of telling, each ritual becomes inclusive of the previous ones. The reality of the meeting and the collective consciousness of the family are functions of the unique context. This genre of family legends remains in the closed family circle. Heroes, content, audience and teller are all in the family. Thus, cyclically, the family's collective self-image is shaped by the stories. It is suggested that these stories be defined as family legends, a sub-genre of hagiographic legends. Furthermore, we propose that the contextual parameter be the dominant one in defining generic systems.

Translated title of the contributionSecond Purim—Literary Tradition, Family Self-Image and Ethnic Identity
Original languageHebrew
Pages (from-to)349-370
Number of pages22
Journalמחקרי ירושלים בפולקלור יהודי
Volume13-14
StatePublished - 1991

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