New paper: How Nephilim Absconded from the Tanakh and Invaded Folkloric Territory

I just posted my new paper at the Academia site, find it here.

The reason for the flavor of the writing is that I submitted it to a Jewish journal but it was rejected since “it was not covering folkloristic questions primarily concerned with present ethnography” so, it was rejected because while it covered ethnography, it did no cover “present” ethnography.

The abstract reads as follows:

Nephilim have been a topic of fascination for millennia. Their humble Ancient Near East beginnings are two verses in the Tanakh from which spawned folklore that turned them into something quite un-humble.

Under consideration is an elucidation of that which the Tanakh tells us about them, how some attempt to plump up the precious little it tells us about them, how to navigate related issues—such as much talk of giants—and how they are presented to us in various forms of folkloric tall tales.

We will conclude that the folklorists (ancient and modern), unrestrained by history or theology, created monsters which haunt us to this day even when history and theology tell us that they are long defeated foes.

The purpose of the paper is to review that which the Tanakh itself reveals about Nephilim and related issues (such as popular fixations on “giants”) as well as of what was made of them by folklorists (by any other name).

The expected contributions are that the result is an elucidation of how folklorists made much ado about not very much—as exciting as some of their tall tales maybe—and so gain a better understanding about the precious little the Tanakh does reveal to us.


For more details, see my relevant books.

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