«Gegengabe» in Paremiology, Folklore, Language, and Literature – Honoring Wolfgang Mieder on His Seventieth Birthday
Edited By Christian Grandl and Kevin J. McKenna
Negotiating Canons: Rabbinic Proverbs Between Oral Tradition and Scripture
A proverb is – mutatis mutandis – Torah.
Proverbs in Rabbinic Literature
Rabbinic literature, collectively authored by scholarly Jews between ca. 200 CE and 800 CE mostly in Babylonia (roughly Iraq and western Iran of today) and Palestine, abounds in proverbs. Rabbinic proverbs are often quoted in Modern Hebrew speech and literature, probably more often than biblical proverbs, except for the book of Ecclesiastes. Moreover, many Modern Hebrew speakers will identify the genre of proverbs above all with the corpus of rabbinic literature, so that they will initially identify any proverbial expression – especially sounding antique or Aramaic – as rabbinic and ancient unless otherwise informed (Hasan-Rokem, 1982:25 & 29–30). The primary textual frame of reference of rabbinic literature in general is the Hebrew Bible, from which both ritual, legal and moral authority is drawn. The parallel and sometimes purposely connected occurrence of Scriptural quotes and orally transmitted proverbs – by either rabbis or laypeople – produces an interesting interface and arena of negotiation between multiple sources of authority: Scripture, the rabbis' written documents, their oral traditions and popular oral tradition, including of neighboring cultures.
Most contemporary paremiologists, unlike many of their predecessors, study proverbs not as detached utterances or sentences, but rather as part of a discursive context – be it written or spoken. Alphabetically or even thematically organized proverb collections will for most of us be the least ideal discursive context for a serious study. However, in...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.