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In The Second Degree: Ancient Jewish Paratextual Literature In The Context Of Graeco-Roman And Ancient Near Eastern Literature

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of the book In the Second Degree, which applies the theories of Gerard Genette to ancient and medieval literature from various cultures to better understand the phenomenon of literature in the second degree - in Jewish and Biblical studies often characterized as parabiblical or Rewritten Bible. It first discusses the issue of ancient pseudepigraphy. Next the chapter summarizes the contributions to the book and relates them to the question of ancient and medieval texts written in the second degree. It then discusses why ancient and medieval cultures produced large numbers of texts in the second degree: what motivates writing in the second degree and what functions does literature in the second degree perform. The chapter concludes with some observations on the role literature in the second degree plays in the cultural memory of ancient and medieval societies.

Keywords: ancient pseudepigraphy; cultural memory; Jewish paratextual literature; medieval cultures; second degree



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