Folklore in Antiquity

Galit Hasan-Rokem, Haim Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Folklore exists in all human groups, small and big. Since early modernity, scholars have provided various definitions of the phenomenon, but earlier texts may also reveal awareness and reflection on the specific character folklore. In this short article, we wish to explore and look into the various definitions and characterizations of folklore given by ancient writers from various times and cultures. We will try to draw a cultural map of awareness to the phenomenon of folklore in ancient Near-Eastern texts, Greco-Roman culture, the Hebrew Bible, Early Christianity and Rabbinic literature. The main questions we wish do deal with are where and if we can find explicit mention of folklore; which folk genres are dominant in ancient writings and what was the social context of ancient folklore? That is to say, whom those text integrated in social frameworks, enabling their users to gain power or to undermine existing cultural, theological and social structures
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)47-51
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • folk genres
  • ethnography
  • Greco-Roman Literature
  • Biblical Literature
  • Rabbinic Literature
  • Early Christianity
  • Ancient Near East
  • Jewish Folklore
  • History of scholarship and learning. The humanities
  • AZ20-999


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