Itamar Drori

Dr. Itamar Drori

Jewish anthologies from Iraq in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century

I am a member of the Department of the Literature of the Jewish People at Bar-Ilan University. In recent years I have specialized in two research areas:

The first, Thematology of the Jewish story, was instituted by Yoav Elstein and Avidov Lipsker of Bar Ilan University. This field of research deals with the development of narrative versions in Jewish languages from the biblical period to the present. I am a member of the editorial board of ‘The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Story’. In this capacity, I write entries, trace various textual origins, decipher manuscripts, and deal with rare texts, in print and in manuscript.

My second area of research is related to understanding the key processes in the historiography of Modern Hebrew literature: a study of its lingual, thematic and generic aspects. In this context, I focus on the prose of Hayim Hazaz (Ukraine, 1898 – Israel, 1973) who lived as an immigrant in Istanbul and Paris, and later in Israel, and wrote many stories about immigrants from Yemen and the Islamic countries. His writing represents the intersection of the Jewish languages at their full intensity and challenges the dichotomous distinction between ‘canon’ and ‘margins’ accepted in its time.

My current research as part of ‘Daat hamakom’ deals with the Jewish anthologies from Iraq in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, on the threshold of the modern era, and seeks to examine the consciousness of the ‘Judeo-Iraqi ‘ place, through the text of stories in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic. Collecting and systematically mapping these anthologies in print and manuscripts will be the basis for this research and will help generate various insights about the community of the Judeo-Iraqi writers and their readers – their aesthetic preferences, their social order, their religious consciousness, their culture heroes, their familiarity with other textual traditions, etc.

Selected Publications

Books:

Yemenite Redemption and New Hebraism: The Novel ‘Yaish’ by Hayim Hazaz, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2014 [Hebrew].

Hazaz: Sippur, Hayim, Sde Boker: Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute, Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Forthcoming) [Hebrew].

Articles and Chapters in Books:

‘Dama ben Netinah’, In:  Yoav Elshtein, Avidov Lipsker and Rella Kushelevsky (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Jewish Story: Sippur Okev Sippur, vol. II, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2009, pp. 183-214. [Hebrew].

‘The Sabbath-Observing Cow’, In: Yoav Elshtein, Avidov Lipsker and Rella Kushelevsky (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Jewish Story: Sippur Okev Sippur, vol. II, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2009, pp. 251-274. [Hebrew].

‘The Beruriah Incident’, In: Yoav Elshtein and Avidov Lipsker (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Jewish Story: Sippur Okev Sippur, vol. III, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2013, pp. 115-154. [Hebrew].

‘The Death of Bala’am’, In: Yoav Elshtein and Avidov Lipsker (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Jewish Story: Sippur Okev Sippur, vol. IV, Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 2015 (Forthcoming) [Hebrew].

“The Beruriah Incident: Tradition of Exclusion as a Presence of Ethical Principles”, Pardes: Journal of the Association of Jewish Studies (Berlin) 20 (2014), pp. 99-116.

“Babel as a Fantasy, as a Neurosis and as a Concreteness: Eli Amir’s Mafriah Hayonim”, Mikan: Journal for Literary Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev Press (Forthcoming) [Hebrew].

“Return of the Author – on ‘Bell and Pomegranate’ by Hayim Hazaz”, Jerusalem Studies in Hebrew Literature 28 (2015) (31 pp.) (Forthcoming) [Hebrew].