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Synopsis

Folk-lore of the Holy Land
by J. E. Hanauer

Moslem, Christian and Jewish tales from old Palestine.

"This entertaining collection of folklore from what is now Israel/Palestine was written at the start of the 20th century. It contains an even mix of Moslem, Christian and Jewish lore; often a given tale will draw from multiple traditions, and sometimes it is hard to distinguish a point of view. Of special interest are the stories of the Jinn, magical beings that correspond to the European fairies, the accounts of folk-magic, and folklore from all three religions about biblical topics.

The book covers the entire gamut of folkloric themes: animal tales, tales about fools, calendar lore, and so on. There is an intriguing chapter about the lore of coffee, its history, and the etiquette of preparing and drinking it. Add yet another item on the list of Islamic contributions to world culture: the coffeehouse.

Although Moslems comprised the largest proportion of the population of Palestine, and it was governed by a succession of Moslem states, including Egypt and the Ottoman Empire, there were also significant numbers of Christians and Jews. These three populations managed to co-exist in everyday life for centuries. This book vividly illustrates how ordinary people managed to use humor and other coping mechanisms to make this arrangement work."

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