Dan Ben-Amos

Photo Of Dan Ben-Amos

Professor of African, Jewish, and Middle Eastern Folklore


Dan Ben-Amos is a specialist in folklore and folklife, trained in the comparativist tradition in Jerusalem and at Indiana University at Bloomington. He is the editor of a series of translations of folklore classics, primarily by European scholars. He has published many articles on folklore theory and the history of the field. His books include Sweet Words: Folktales from BeninFolklore Genres and Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity, which he co-edited with Liliane Weissberg. In 2006, his edited volume, Folktales of the Jews: Volume 1: Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion, was awarded the top prize in the National Jewish Book Award's Sephardic Culture category. 

Research Interests

Jewish folklore, African folklore, Prose Narrative, Proverbs, Theories of Myth as well as Structural Analysis.

Selected Publications

Selected Bibliography

In Praise of the Baal Shem Tov, editor and translator, in collaboration with Jerome R. Mintz. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1970

Folklore: Performance and Communication, editor, in collaboration with Kenneth S. Goldstein. Approaches to Semiotics 40. The Hague: Mouton Press, 1975

New Theories in Oral Literature: Literary Forms in Social Context. Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv University. Published as a special issue of Ha-Sifrut 20 [Hebrew]

Sweet Words: Storytelling Events in Benin. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues

Folklore Genres, editor, American Folklore Society Bibliographical and Special Series, Vol. 26. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1974

Folklore in Context: Essays. New Delhi, Madras: South Asian Publishers,1982

Mimekor Yisrael: Selected Classical Jewish Folktales. Collected by Micha Joseph bin Gorion, edited by Emanuel bin Gorion, translated by I. M. Lask Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990

Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity, edited with Liliane Weissberg. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1999

Folktales of the Jews. 3 vols., edited with commentary (Dov Noy, Consulting Editor). Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2006, 2007, 2011

Jewish Folk Literature, translated by Ruth Bar-Ilan. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 2006

The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life, edited with Batsheva Ben-Amos. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020

Folklore Concepts: Histories and Critiques, edited by Henry Glassie and Elliott Oring. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2020

“The Challenge of Folklore to the Humanities,” editor. Published as a special issue of Humanities 10, 2021