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  1. Oral-formulaic composition
  2. Fables of the Ancients?: Folklore in the Qurʼan - Alan Dundes - Google книги
  3. Fables of the Ancients?: Folklore in the Qur'an
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Highly recommended. Arguing that such repetitions are 'formulas,' and applying Milman Parry and Albert B. Lord's oral-formulaic theory to the Qur'an , Professor Alan Dundes has broken new ground with his folkloristic approach to that book. The issue will surely be debated for many years to come.

Oral-formulaic composition

Monroe, University of California, Berkeley. Table of Contents. In this course, students were introduced to the many various forms of folklore, from myth, legend, and folktale to proverbs and riddles to jokes, games, and folkspeech slang , to folk belief and foodways. The final project for this course required that each student collect, identify, and analyze 40 items of folklore.

All of this material about , items is housed and cataloged in the Berkeley Folklore Archives. Dundes also taught undergraduate courses in American folklore, and psychoanalytic approaches to folklore his favorite approach in addition to graduate seminars on the history of folkloristics, from an international perspective, and the history and progression of folklore theory.

He frequently gave the opening address during summer orientation programs, whetting students' appetites about the type of instruction they might receive at the University. These addresses were littered with jokes and stories which were a trademark of Dundes' lectures in his popular anthropology class and were a favorite of both in-coming students and the orientation staff alike.

Strongly opinionated, Dundes was not at all averse to the controversy that his theories often generated. He dealt frequently with folklore as an expression of unconscious desires and anxieties and was of the opinion that if people reacted strongly to what he had to say, he had probably hit a nerve and was probably on to something. Some of his more controversial work involved examining the New Testament and the Qur'an as folklore.

However, of all his articles, the one that earned him death threats was "Into the Endzone for a Touchdown", an exploration via psychoanalysis of what he contended was the homoerotic subtext inherent in the terminology and rituals surrounding American football. In , Dundes was invited to give the presidential address at the American Folklore Society annual meeting.

His presentation, later published as a monograph titled "Life is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder", uses folkspeech, customs, material culture, and so forth seeking to demonstrate an anal-erotic fixation of German national character. Reaction to this paper was incredibly strong and because of it, Dundes declined to attend the AFS annual meeting for the next 20 years.

When he finally did attend again, in , he again gave a plenary address, this time taking his fellow folklorists to task for being weak on theory.

Fables of the Ancients?: Folklore in the Qurʼan - Alan Dundes - Google книги

In his opinion, the presentation of data, no matter how thorough, is useless without the development and application of theory to that data. It is not enough to simply collect, one must do something with what one has collected. In , linguist Anatol Stefanowitsch credited Dundes with having given rise to a still prevalent "stereotype about Germany as a culture enamored with excretion", but called his monograph "unstructured, poorly argued and flimsily sourced" and "methodologically flawed because he only looked for evidence supporting his theory, and not — as even a folklorist should — for evidence against his theory".

Dundes fiercely defended the importance of the discipline of folkloristics throughout his career. Towards the end of his life, he received an envelope containing a check from a former student, which he asked his wife to open. This money allowed Dundes to endow the university with a Distinguished Professorship in Folkloristics, thereby ensuring that upon his retirement folklore would not be abandoned in the department.

Fables of the Ancients?: Folklore in the Qur'an

The former student and benefactor wished to remain anonymous. Apparently he or she called the university prior to the donation to find out if Dundes was still teaching, or as Dundes told it, "to see if I was still alive. The check was made out to the university, Dundes said, but with instructions that he could use it in any manner he saw fit.

The professor instead decided to invest it in the study of folklore. The money funds a Distinguished Professorship of Folkloristics and helps fund the university's folklore archives and provides grants for folklore students. He prominently recounted Lord Raglan's point scale from his book The Hero , in which he ranks figures possessing similar divine attributions. An extended interview is on the DVD version of the documentary. Before the term folkloristics can be fully understood, it is necessary to understand that the terms folk and lore are defined in many different ways.

Another implication of this broader defining of the term folk , according to Dundes, is that folkloristic work is interpretative and scientific rather than descriptive or devoted solely to folklore preservation. In other words, Dundes advocates the use of folkloristics as the preferred term for the academic discipline devoted to the study of folklore. According to Dundes, folkloristic work will probably continue to be important in the future. Know that the ship belonged to some poor fishermen.

I damaged it because at their rear there was a king who was taking every ship by force. As for the youth, his parents both are true believers, and we feared lest he should plague them with wickedness and unbelief. It was our wish that their Lord should grant them another in his place, a son more righteous and more filial.

As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city whose father was an honest man. Beneath it [the wall] their treasure is buried.


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Your Lord decreed, as a mercy fi-om your Lord, that they should dig up their treasure when 60 Fables of the Ancients? What I did was not done by my will. That is the meaning of what you could not bear to watch with patience. The angel shows the hermit why each of these was just. Other studies of this tale type include those by Gaston Paris , Israel Livi , Anton Schonbach , and the unpublished doctoral dissertation of Heinz-Wilhelm Haase Perhaps the most famous literary version of the tale was written by FranGoise-Marie Arouet , who during a period of imprisonment in the Bastille in changed his name to Voltaire.

In his work Zadig or Destiny: An Oriental Tale, the title character Zadig has a series of adventures or misadventures. The hermit then steals a gold, jewel-studded basin from hospitable hosts and then gives it to a rich miser. After another stay at a different locale, the hermit takes a torch and sets fire to the house. The hermit picks up the boy by the hair and throws him into the water where he drowns. The hermit then explains to Zadig that under the ruins of the house set on fire, the owner has found immense treasure, and the boy who was drowned would have murdered his aunt in a year and Zadig himself in Folklore in the Qurkn 61 two years.

As to whether the Jewish version of the tale type is the source for the Qurknic text, there is some question. Wheeler in his essay also expresses doubt about a Jewish origin of the tale. That said, it is still absolutely empirically certain that the Qurknic text is indeed a version of AT At the very least, the Qurknic text would provide a terminus ante guem for the tale type.

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It is of interest that Norman 0. The form and the content of the folktale obliges us. But there is an allusion to another tale type that has not, to my knowledge, been properly identified. We have been taught the language of birds, and have been given an abundance of all things. This surely is a great blessing. Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you, unwittingly.

Commentators have been puzzled by this passage, wondering about the seemingly miraculous act of an ant speaking such that it could be understood by a human. There are several clues, obvious to a trained folklorist, as to the source of this passage. His wife wants to discover his secret. In many versions, the protagonist is given the power to understand the language of animals on condition that he does not reveal to anyone that he can do so. He overhears the words spoken by a cock, or in some versions an ant.


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  • Amused by this, he smiles or laughs out loud, thereby arousing the curiosity of his wife who asks him what he is laughing at. This particular trait of the tale is classified by folklorists as Motif N, Enigmatic smile laugh reveals secret knowledge.

    It is also of interest that King Solomon sometimes appears in the tale Aarne , especially in Jewish tradition Noy , cf. Sidersky One of the oldest recorded versions of the tale is a Buddhist story reported in the third century. In that version, a king rescued the daughter of a dragon-king who grants him a wish. The king says he already has many precious objects, but what he would like is to understand the language of all the animals.

    The dragon king grants his request, but on condition that he not reveal that he has this ability. The king, while eating with his wife, overhears a conversation between two butterflies. The female butterfly asks the male butterfly to bring her some food. He replies that everyone should serve himself.

    The female replies that his stomach prevents that. There is another Indic version of the tale, and one should keep in mind that the Jataka tales date from several centuries before the Qurbn was revealed to Muhammad. For references to other Jataka versions of this tale type, see Grey The tale is of special interest in the 64 Fables of the Ancients? One day he was sitting on the dais eating solid food with honey and molasses, and a drop of honey, a drop of molasses, and morsel of cake fell on the ground.

    Come and eat honey and molasses and cake.

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    In this tale, a snake gives a man the gift of understanding the language of animals. The key questions to be taken into account include: 1 Are there oral formulas present in the Qurbn? First of all, the long-standing claim that the Qurkn was orally transmitted from its very beginnings can be confirmed by the extraordinarily high percentage of formulas contained in its canonical text. Even the presumed historical fact that Muhammad was forty years old lS when he began to receive the Qurbn from Allah via Gabriel has formulaic implications.

    Forty is not only a ritual number in Islam Rescher , but also among all Semitic peoples Roscher and in the Middle East generally Rescher ; Hasluck , including both Jewish Pinker and Christian traditions Konig It is hardly coincidental that Moses was supposedly 66 Fables of the Ancients?