Research Programs: Collaborative Research

Period of Performance

7/1/2004 - 12/31/2007

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$100,000.00 (approved)
$100,000.00 (awarded)

Folktales of the Jews: A Publication Project

FAIN: RZ-50236-04

Jewish Publication Society (Philadelphia, PA 19103)
Ellen Frankel (Project Director: November 2003 to June 2009)

Preparation for publication of an English-language anthology of FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS that will include 350 annotated narratives in their historical and cultural contexts.

The Jewish Publication Society (JPS) requests NEH support to prepare for publication FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS, a six-volume compendium of 350 folktales with annotations, edited by Drs. Dov Noy and Dan Ben Amos. The contents of the ground-breaking publication are drawn from more than 22,000 oral narratives in the Israel Folklore Archive. This will be the first in-depth scholarly compilation that is based directly on oral narratives (rather than printed or literary versions) and that place the narratives in their cultural and historical contexts. Oral narratives lie at the heart of Jewish civilization. They reflect the traditions of the Jewish people in dialogue with their own heritage and with those of other peoples and cultures. Jewish narratives inform understanding of both Jewish civilization and world culture. Moreover, the Diaspora experience of the Jewish people--embodied in Jewish folktales--persists as an examplar of "otherness" and adaptation in ancient, medieval, and modern times. This landmark publication will make accessible to an American audience narratives that reflect a spectrum of Jewish culture and experience. FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS will contribute to humanistic study in folklore, history, Jewish Studies, and comparative literature, serving the needs of scholars, students, and general readers. The JPS has been able to support planning, research, and the primary costs of scholarly editing with support from foundations and donors. NEH grant support is needed to complete the work of editing and annotating the texts, copyediting, indexing, proofreading, design, and typesetting. Drs. Ben Amos and Noy will be responsible for editorial content; the JPS editorial staff, led by Editor-in-Chief Ellen Frankel, will manage all tasks required to prepare the six-volume, 2,500 page project for publication in early 2007.