Untying the Knot: On Riddles and Other Enigmatic Modes

Oxford University Press
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This book collects eighteen previously unpublished essays on the riddle--a genre of discourse found in virtually every human culture. Hasan-Rokem and Shulman have drawn these essays from a variety of cultural perspectives and disciplines; linguists, anthropologists, folklorists, and religion and literature scholars consider riddling practices in Hebrew, Finnish, Indian languages, Chinese, and classical Greek. The authors seek to understand the peculiar expressive power of the riddle, and the cultural logic of its particular uses; they scrutinize the riddle's logical structure and linguistic strategies, as well as its affinity to neighboring genres such as enigmas, puzzles, oracular prophecy, proverbs, and dreams. In this way, they begin to answer how riddles relate to the conceptual structures of a particular culture, and how they come to represent a culture's cosmology or cognitive map of the world. More importantly, these essays reveal the human need for symbolic ordering--riddles being one such form of cultural ritual.
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About the author

Poet and Essayist, Galit Hasan-Rokem is Professor of Folklore at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. David Shulman is Professor of Indian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Nov 28, 1996
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9780195356328
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The aim of this book is to provide the student of Japanese with a simple method for correlating the writing and the meaning of Japanese characters in such a way as to make them both easy to remember. It is intended not only for the beginner, but also for the more advanced student looking for some relief from the constant frustration of how to write the kanji and some way to systematize what he or she already knows. The author begins with writing because--contrary to first impressions--it is in fact the simpler of the two. He abandons the traditional method of ordering the kanji according to their frequency of use and organizes them according to their component parts or "primitive elements." Assigning each of these parts a distinct meaning with its own distinct image, the student is led to harness the powers of "imaginative memory" to learn the various combinations that result. In addition, each kanji is given its own key word to represent the meaning, or one of the principal meanings, of that character. These key words provide the setting for a particular kanji's "story," whose protagonists are the primitive elements. In this way, students are able to complete in a few short months a task that would otherwise take years. Armed with the same skills as Chinese or Korean students, who know the meaning and writing of the kanji but not their pronunciation in Japanese, they are now in a much better position to learn to read (which is treated in a separate volume). For further information and a sample of the contents, visit http: ///www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/miscPublications/Remembering_the_Kanji_l.htm.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, many perceived American Jewry to be in a state of crisis as traditions of faith faced modern sensibilities. Published beginning in 1909, Rabbi and Professor Louis Ginzberg’s seven-volume The Legends of the Jews appeared at this crucial time and offered a landmark synthesis of aggadah from classical Rabbinic literature and ancient folk legends from a number of cultures. It remains a hugely influential work of scholarship from a man who shaped American Conservative Judaism. In Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews: Ancient Jewish Folk Literature Reconsidered, editors Galit Hasan-Rokem and Ithamar Gruenwald present a range of reflections on the Legends, inspired by two plenary sessions devoted to its centennial at the Fifteenth Congress of the World Association of Jewish Studies in August 2009. In order to provide readers with the broadest possible view of Ginzberg’s colossal project and its repercussions in contemporary scholarship, the editors gathered leading scholars to address it from a variety of historical, philological, philosophical, and methodological perspectives. Contributors give special regard to the academic expertise and professional identity of the author of the Legends as a folklore scholar and include discussions on the folkloristic underpinnings of The Legends of the Jews. They also investigate, each according to her or his disciplinary framework, the uniqueness, strengths, and weakness of the project. An introduction by Rebecca Schorsch and a preface by Galit Hasan-Rokem further highlight the folk narrative aspects of the work in addition to the articles themselves. The present volume makes clear the historical and scholarly context of Ginzberg’s milestone work as well as the methodological and theoretical issues that emerge from studying it and other forms of aggadic literature. Scholars of Jewish folklore as well as of Talmudic-Midrashic literature will find this volume to be invaluable reading.
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