By Angelo S. Rappoport
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Additional resources for Ancient Israel: v.1: Myths and Legends (Myths & legends)
It explained the Law from both the religious and the ethical standpoints, expressing religious and philo sophical, ethical, and mystical thoughts, but always with a view to bringing near to man Him at whose word the world came into being. 1 The Haggadah, or narrative, was the popular branch of the expository literature, for, instead of dealing with ritual 1 See Sifri. IHutenm•• u. :z:z. xlviii ANCIENT ISRAEL and legal matters, as does the Ha/achah, it concerned itself with old traditions, customs, and beliefs, myths and legends, parables and allegories, in a word, with all that enters not only into the domain of mythology but also into that of folk lore.
Hellenistic and Roman, French and German, Italian, or English culture has affected the Jews, but they, too, have influenced the peoples among whom it has been their destiny to dwell. Although not all popular tales, myths, or legends mentioned also in Jewish sources can be directly attributed to the Jews-for they may have been derived from third and earlier sources-a good many myths, legends, tales, and fables were brought to Europe by the Jews and found citizen rights in European literature. It would, for instance, be going too far to ascribe all beast-fables to the Talmud, for a good many of them may owe their origin to India and Egypt, but there is no doubt that they were brought to Europe by the Jews.
19. «. , p, 402 INTRODUCTION XXXV l l attention to a tale by Lutfullah i n which the judge follows the method of the judges of Sodom. In the third century of the Hegira there lived in Cairo a judge of the name of Mansur ben Musia. A soldier had borrowed money from a Jew and given the latter a bill wherein he promised him a pound of his flesh, should he be unable to pay. When the day of payment arrived, the soldier found himself unable to pay his debt; the Jew wanted to drag him before the judge, and the soldier escaped.