Jewish Fantasy Literature
Dr. John C. Reeves
Office hours: T 2:30-3:30; or by appointment
‘Do not believe anything that is written in the Chronicles of Moses! More generally, I say to you that any writing not authored by a prophet or a Sage reliant upon tradition is unreliable, and also if it contains things which contradict established knowledge, such as the Book of Zerubbabel or the Book of Eldad ha-Dani or something similar to them!’ – Abraham Ibn Ezra, Perush ha-Torah to Exod 2:22.
Course description: Rebel angels. A red-headed monster born from a rock. Wizards who fly through the air. A seductive succubus. Outwitting the Angel of Death. Protective talismans. Flesh-eating giants. The walking dead. A wonder-working shepherd’s crook. Beasts whose tears pool into raging torrents of fire. Curing a flatulent princess. What connects these different fabulous characters, objects, and motifs? They all are part of the constructed dreamscape of Jewish imaginative literature emanating from late antiquity and the Middle Ages. This course studies a representative sampling of tales and treatises that foreground the fantastic, the monstrous, and the uncanny in a variety of postbiblical Jewish texts. Attention will also be devoted to the methodological issues involved in learning to appreciate midrash and to think with demons, monsters, and other weird and wonderful stuff. All the texts we study will be in English; special accommodations will be made for those who want to study the texts in their original language(s).
Texts: Web links to some of the primary texts we will read are available on the course website. Other texts will be distributed by the instructor either in class or electronically as needed. The following textbook must be purchased:
Howard Schwartz, Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
a. Readings. The nature of this course entails a significant amount of close reading and reflection both within and outside of class. Students are responsible for completing the reading assignments (outlined below or assigned in class) in a timely manner. Every student must read and critically engage portions of Bible, other scriptural and parascriptural works, commentaries, testimonia, folktales, myths, legends, and travel narratives which have been englished from texts originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Mandaic, Greek, Latin, Coptic, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopic, and various medieval European vernaculars. Critical engagement with a select set of secondary readings authored by modern theorists, analysts, and historians is also required.
b. Reaction papers. Every student will prepare a reaction paper (1-2 pages) for each primary source that we will be covering in class. They should contain (1) a concise distillation or summary of the assigned piece, and (2) the formulation of 2-3 questions which were raised by the piece while reading and contemplating it. It is these questions which will help drive our classroom discussions. Expect the instructor to ask any student to initiate our collective examination and discussion of the assignment. The instructor’s evaluation of the student’s collective reaction paper performance (using a scale check+ = A-; check = C+; check- = D) accounts for 75% of the course grade.
c. Individual involvement. Almost perfect attendance (see below) is an essential requirement for this course. Each class meeting builds upon the knowledge gained during previous meetings. Moreover, in-class discussion and analysis comprises a significant portion of every class meeting. Preparation for every class usually involves the completion of a series of assigned readings and/or written assignment(s). Students are expected to contribute in an informed manner to the public analysis and discussion of any assigned topic, and the instructor reserves the right to administer additional writing assignments or even occasional unannounced ‘pop-quizzes’ should he deem the situation so warrants. The instructor’s assessment of one’s attendance, apparent class preparation, oral participation, any written contributions apart from the reaction papers, and performance on pop-quizzes will collectively constitute 25% of the final course grade.
d. Zakhor (Remember!): Mastery of the assigned readings and diligent class attendance are necessary prerequisites for the successful completion of this course. Each student is responsible for all lectures, class discussions, assignments, and announcements, whether or not he/she is present when they occur.
a. The grading scale used in this course is as follows:
91-100 A = demonstrable mastery of material; can creatively synthesize
81-90 B = some demonstrable proficiency in control of material & analysis
71-80 C = satisfactory performance of assignments; little or no analysis
61-70 D = inadequate and/or faulty understanding of material
0-60 F = unacceptable work
Graduate students are graded using a scale of A, B, C, and U. A grade of ‘C’ for a graduate student is equivalent to that of a ‘D’ for undergraduates; ‘U’ signals unacceptable graduate-level work.
b. One of the requirements of this course is to complete the work of the course on time. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons for late work—an illness or other emergency. ‘Emergency,’ however, does not include your social involvements, travel plans, job schedule, disk, wi-fi, and/or printer failures, the state of your love life, your obligations to other courses, or general malaise over the state of the world. The world has been in a mess as long as anyone can remember, and most of the world’s work is done by people whose lives are a mass of futility and discontent. If you haven’t learned yet, you had better learn now to work under the conditions of the world as it is. Therefore:
1) All examinations will take place only upon their announced dates and times. In other words (and please note well!), there will be NO MAKEUP EXAMS scheduled. All missed quizzes, unwritten papers, and neglected exercises will be averaged as a 0 in the computation of the course grade. There is no such thing as a ‘make-up pop quiz.’ No exceptions will be considered or granted.
2) All papers and written exercises are due on the dates scheduled in the syllabus, or on the date announced by the instructor in class (usually, the next class meeting). ‘Late’ submissions of papers (not homework exercises—see below) bear the following penalties: one day late/one letter grade; two days late/two letter grades; three or more days late/F. Please note: these ‘days’ are calendar days, not class meeting days. For accounting purposes, letter grades bear the following values: A=95; A-=92; B=85; C+=78; C=75; D=65; F=30. A paper or written exercise that is not typed automatically receives the grade F, as do those typed papers which violate the required parameters or which the instructor deems physically unacceptable and/or grammatically incomprehensible.
3) Reaction papers are due on the date announced by the instructor in class. Since we will normally discuss these exercises together in class on that date, it would clearly be unfair to those who submitted their work on time for me to accept ‘late’ work from those who were privy to our in-class discussion but who neglected to do the assignment. Hence I will not accept ‘late’ reaction paper submissions (even from those of you who may be physically absent during our discussion); however, ‘early’ submissions (i.e., before the start of class) are always welcome and will receive full credit.
4) Since your diligent physical participation is critical for the success of this course, attendance at class meetings will be monitored by the instructor. One or two absences, while regrettable, are unexceptional; three (3) is the limit of tolerability. Each successive absence lowers the Individual Involvement component of your assessment by one letter grade; seven (7) or more earns an automatic F in that component of your final grade. Please note that—with the exception of religious holidays—the instructor does not distinguish ‘excused’ from ‘unexcused’ absences. Unsanctioned late arrivals and early departures will be tallied as absences.
5) Policy regarding Audits: the instructor expects auditors (whether formally enrolled as such or not) to meet the same attendance, preparation, and oral participation standards as those students who are taking the course for credit. The instructor does not expect auditors to prepare and submit any written assignments.
c. Assistance and solicitation of criticism is your right as a member of the class. It is not a privilege to be granted or withheld. Do not hesitate to request it nor wait too late in the course for it to be of help.
ROUGH COURSE OUTLINE
1. Introductory matters regarding terminology, definitions, and methodology
Elliot K. Ginsburg, “The Resonances and Registers of Jewish Myth,” in Schwartz, Tree of Souls, xxxv-xlii.
Schwartz, “Introduction,” Tree of Souls, xliii-lxxxvi; 525-28.
James L. Kugel, “Two Introductions to Midrash,” Prooftexts 3 (1983): 131-55.
2. The Other World
a. Cosmological lore – Ma‘aseh Bereshit material like Midrash Konen and kindred texts
b. Tours of Heaven and Hell – Re’uyot Yeḥezqel; Ma‘aseh R. Joshua b. Levi, Vision of Isaiah
c. Legends about Metatron and other angelic beings – from Cairo Geniza, 3 Enoch
d. Materials on Satan/Samael and other ‘bad actors’
Schwartz, Tree of Souls, 1-124; 144-51; 158-279.
3. This-Worldly Characters and Themes
a. Adam legends: Son of Samael, Adam’s demon bride, Pirqe R. El. §§13-14; ’Aboth R. Natan §1
b. 1 En. 6-16; Jub. 4-5; Midrash of Shemḥazai and ‘Azael
c. Ma‘aseh Abraham
d. Chronicles of Moses
e. Ascension of Moses to receive the Torah – Ma‘yan Ḥokmah
f. ‘Death of Moses’ legend from Deut. Rab. 11
g. Jeremiah/Ben Sira ‘Frankenstein’ legend
Schwartz, Tree of Souls, 124-44; 155-58; 279-86; 328-34; 372-94; 431-62.
4. The World to Come
a. Apocalypse texts featuring Armilos
b. Apocalypse texts featuring Messiah b. Joseph and Messiah b. David
c. Resurrecting the dead – Pesiqta Ḥadata
d. Eldad ha-Dani ‘children of Moses’ legends
Schwartz, Tree of Souls, 472-523.
SUPPLEMENTAL BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR RELS 4000/5000
In response to student requests for recommendations regarding useful and enlightening discussions of certain topics, themes, and personalities that are presented in class and/or readings, I offer the following suggestions for further study at the student’s leisure. I confine myself to materials which I myself have used with profit. Not all of these may be currently available at Atkins Library.
It is often helpful for the student to begin with appropriate articles in the standard Bible dictionaries. The most up to date are The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols.; ed. Katherine Doob Sakenfeld; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006-09) and The Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992). Dated but still reliable are The Interpreters’ Dictionary of the Bible (4 vols.) and its Supplementary Volume (ed. George A. Buttrick; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962 & 1976), and the Harper’s Bible Dictionary (ed. Paul J. Achtemeier; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985). Highly recommended are the relevant articles in the new Encyclopaedia Judaica (22 vols.; Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA/Thomson Gale, 2007), the Encyclopaedia of Islam (2d ed.; 11 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1954-2002), the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān (6 vols.; ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe; Leiden: Brill, 2001-06), and The Qur’ān: An Encyclopedia (ed. Oliver Leaman; London and New York: Routledge, 2006).
The bibliographies supplied by Schwartz in his Tree of Souls and in the articles consulted in the above reference works are a good starting place for deeper study. Of well nigh unparalleled importance for the history of traditional scriptural interpretation are the notes volumes for Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (7 vols.; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1909-38).
In addition, you can consult the following more specialized studies, arranged roughly according to category:
Myth, Legend, and Folklore Studies Pertinent to the Jewish Fantastic and Monstrous
Antti A. Aarne and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale: A Classification and Bibliography (Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1961).
William Bascom, “The Forms of Folklore: Prose Narratives,” Journal of American Folklore 78 (1965): 3-20.
Dan Ben-Amos, ed., Folktales of the Jews (3 vols. to date; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006- ).
______, “Jewish Folk Literature,” Oral Tradition 14 (1999): 140-274.
Micha Joseph Bin Gorion, Mimekor Yisrael: Classical Jewish Folktales (3 vols.; trans. I. M. Lask; Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1976).
Alan Dundes, Holy Writ as Oral Lit: The Bible as Folklore (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).
Michael Fishbane, Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
______, The Exegetical Imagination: On Jewish Thought and Theology (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998).
______, ed., The Midrashic Imagination: Jewish Exegesis, Thought, and History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993).
James George Frazer, Folk-lore in the Old Testament: Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend and Law (3 vols.; London: Macmillan & Co., 1918).
Theodor H. Gaster, Myth, Legend, and Custom in the Old Testament (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). An updating of Frazer’s classic work.
Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews (see above).
Hermann Gunkel, The Folktale in the Old Testament (trans. Michael D. Rutter; Sheffield: Almond Press, 1987).
______, The Legends of Genesis (trans. W. H. Carruth; Chicago: Open Court, 1901). A translation of the ‘Introduction’ to his magisterial commentary on Genesis.
Galit Hasan-Rokem and Ithamar Gruenwald, eds., Louis Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews: Ancient Jewish Folk Literature Reconsidered (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014).
Heda Jason, “Study of Israelite and Jewish Oral and Folk Literature: Problems and Issues,” Asian Folklore Studies 49 (1990): 69-108.
Heda Jason and Aharon Kempinski, “How Old Are Folktales?” Fabula 22 (1981): 1-27.
Susan Niditch, Folklore and the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993).
______, Oral World and Written Word: Ancient Israelite Literature (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996).
______, A Prelude to Biblical Folklore: Underdogs and Tricksters (San Francisco, 1987; repr., Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2000).
Axel Olrik, “Epic Laws of Folk Narrative,” in Alan Dundes, ed., The Study of Folklore (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1965), 129-41; also in Alan Dundes, ed., International Folkloristics: Classic Contributions by the Founders of Folklore (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 83-97.
______, Principles for Oral Narrative Research (trans. Kirsten Wolf and Jody Jensen; Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1992). See especially his Appendix A ‘The Patriarchal History of Israel’ (pp. 116-33).
V[ladimir]. Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (trans. Laurence Scott; Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).
John C. Reeves, “Resurgent Myth: On the Vitality of the Watchers Traditions in Late Antiquity,” in Angela Kim Harkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, and John C. Endres, S.J., eds., The Fallen Angels Traditions: Second Temple Developments and Reception History (Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 53; Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Association, 2014), 94-115.
______, “Some Parascriptural Dimensions of the ‘Tale of Hārūt wa-Mārūt’,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 135 (2015): 817-42.
John C. Reeves and Annette Yoshiko Reed, Enoch from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Volume I: Sources from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).
Gershom Scholem, “Kabbalah and Myth,” in idem, On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism (trans. Ralph Manheim; New York: Schocken Books, 1965), 87-117.
Dina Stein, “Let the ‘People’ Go? The ‘Folk’ and their ‘Lore’ as Tropes in the Reconstruction of Rabbinic Culture,” Prooftexts 29 (2009): 206-41.
David Stern and Mark Jay Mirsky, Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990).
Stith Thompson, The Folktale (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977).
______, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature (6 vols.; Copenhagen: Rosenkilde & Bagger, 1955-58).
Francis Lee Utley, “The Bible of the Folk,” California Folklore Quarterly 4 (1945): 1-17.
Eli Yassif, The Hebrew Folktale: History, Genre, Meaning (trans. Jacqueline S. Teitelbaum; Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999).
On the Strange, the Fantastic, and the Uncanny
Seeger A. Bonebakker, “Some Medieval Views on Fantastic Stories,” Quaderni di Studi Arabi 10 (1992): 21-43.
Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of Imaginary Beings (New York: Dutton, 1969).
Caroline Walker Bynum, “Wonder,” The American Historical Review 102 (1997): 1-26.
Brian R. Clack, “At Home in the Uncanny: Freud’s Account of das Unheimliche in the Context of His Theory of Religious Belief,” Religion 38 (2008): 250-58.
Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny” (1919) = “Das Unheimliche,” Imago 5 (1919): 297-324. Translated by Alix Strachey and published in Sigmund Freud, Collected Papers, Volume IV (repr., London: Hogarth Press, 1957), 368-407; James Strachey, ed., The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud (24 vols.; London: The Hogarth Press, 1953-74), 17:217-56; also Philip Rieff, ed., Studies in Parapsychology (New York: Collier, 1963).
Syrinx von Hees, “The Astonishing: A Critique and Re-reading of ‘Ağā’ib Literature,” Middle Eastern Literatures 8 (2005): 101-120.
Geraldine Heng, Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003).
Jacques Le Goff, “The Marvelous in the Medieval West,” in idem, The Medieval Imagination (trans. Arthur Goldhammer; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), 27-44.
H. P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature (repr., New York: B. Abramson, 1945).
Eric S. Rabkin, The Fantastic in Literature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976).
Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1973).
Claire Whitehead, ed., The Fantastic (Ipswich, Mass.: Salem Press, 2013).
Travis Zadeh, “The Wiles of Creation: Philosophy, Fiction, and the ‘Ajā’ib Tradition,” Middle Eastern Literatures 13 (2010): 21-48.
On Monsters and Monster Theory
Domenico Agostini, “Half-human and Monstrous Races in Zoroastrian Tradition,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 139 (2019): 805-17.
Stephen T. Asma, On Monsters: An Unnatural History of our Worst Fears (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
Robert Bartlett, The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008). Note especially chapter 3: “Dogs and Dog-heads: The Inhabitants of the World” (pp. 71-110).
Timothy K. Beal, Religion and its Monsters (London & New York: Routledge, 2002).
Bettina Bildhauer and Robert Mills, ed., The Monstrous Middle Ages (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2003).
Mary B. Campbell, The Witness and the Other World: Exotic European Travel Writing, 400-1600 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988).
Georges Canguilhem, “Monstrosity and the Monstrous,” Diogenes 10 (1962): 27-42.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, “Monster Culture (Seven Theses),” in Monster Theory: Reading Culture (ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen; Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 3-25.
Lorraine Daston and Katherine Park, “Monsters: A Case Study,” in idem, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150-1750 (New York: Zone Books, 1998), 173-214.
John Block Friedman, The Monstrous Races in Medieval Art and Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1981).
David D. Gilmore, Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002).
Marie-Hélène Huet, Monstrous Imagination (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993).
Iris Idelson-Shein and Christian Wiese, eds., Monsters and Monstrosity in Jewish History: From the Middle Ages to Modernity (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019).
Peter Jackson, “Christians, Barbarians and Monsters: The European Discovery of the World Beyond Islam,” in Peter Linehan and Janet L. Nelson, eds., The Medieval World (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), 93-110.
Suzanne Lewis, “Encounters with Monsters at the End of Time: Some Early Medieval Visualizations of Apocalyptic Eschatology,” Different Visions 2 (2010). You can access this article at http://www.differentvisions.org/Issue2PDFs/Lewis.pdf .
Asa Simon Mittman and Peter J. Dendle, eds., The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous (Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2012).
Marina Münkler, “Experiencing Strangeness: Monstrous Peoples on the Edge of the Earth as Depicted on Medieval Mappae Mundi,” Medieval History Journal 5 (2002): 195-222.
James S. Romm, “Dragons and Gold at the Ends of the Earth: A Folktale Motif Developed by Herodotus,” Marvels & Tales 1 (1997): 45-54.
______, The Edges of the Earth in Ancient Thought: Geography, Exploration, and Fiction (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992).
Walter Stephens, Giants in Those Days: Folklore, Ancient History, and Nationalism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989).
Debra Higgs Strickland, “Antichrist and the Jews in Medieval Christian Art and Protestant Propaganda,” Studies in Iconography 32 (2011): 1-50.
______, “Introduction: The Future is Necessarily Monstrous,” Different Visions 2 (2010): 1-13.
______, Saracens, Demons, and Jews: Making Monsters in Medieval Art (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003).
J. R. R. Tolkien, “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,” Proceedings of the British Academy (1936). Reprinted in J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien, eds., The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984).
Lisa Verner, The Epistemology of the Monstrous in the Middle Ages (New York: Routledge, 2005).
William Whitney, Jr., Two Strange Beasts: Leviathan and Behemoth in Second Temple and Early Rabbinic Judaism (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2006).
David Williams, Deformed Discourse: The Function of the Monster in Mediaeval Thought and Literature (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996).
Rudolf Wittkower, “Marvels of the East: A Study in the History of Monsters,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 5 (1942): 159-97.
Miguel Asín Palacios, Islam and the Divine Comedy (trans. Harold Sutherland; London: J. Murray, 1926).
Richard Bauckham, “Early Jewish Visions of Hell,” Journal of Theological Studies 41 (1990): 355-85.
Scott G. Bruce, ed., The Penguin Book of Hell (New York: Penguin, 2018).
John J. Collins and Michael Fishbane, eds., Death, Ecstasy, and Other Worldly Journeys (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995).
Jean Delumeau, History of Paradise: The Garden of Eden in Myth and Tradition (trans. Matthew O’Connell; New York, 1995; repr., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000).
Moses Gaster, “Hebrew Visions of Hell and Paradise,” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 23 (1893): 571-611.
Aaron Gurevich, “The Divine Comedy Before Dante,” in idem, Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Perception and Belief (trans. János M. Bak and Paul A. Hollingsworth; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 104-52.
______, “Perceptions of the Individual and the Hereafter in the Middle Ages,” in idem, Historical Anthropology of the Middle Ages (ed. Jana Howlett; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 65-89.
Martha Himmelfarb, Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).
Christian Lange, Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).
Jacques Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory (trans. Arthur Goldhammer; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1984), esp. 17-127.
______, The Medieval Imagination (trans. Arthur Goldhammer; Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1988), esp. 27-44, 67-77.
Howard Rollin Patch, The Other World, According to Descriptions in Medieval Literature (Cambridge, Mass., 1950; repr., New York: Octagon Books, 1970).
Micha J. Perry, “Jewish Heaven, Christian Hell: Rabbi Joshua ben Levi’s Vision of the Afterlife,” Journal of Medieval History 43 (2017): 212-27.
John C. Reeves, Trajectories in Near Eastern Apocalyptic: A Postrabbinic Jewish Apocalypse Reader (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005).
Alessandro Scafi, ed., The Cosmography of Paradise: The Other World from Ancient Mesopotamia to Medieval Europe (Warburg Institute Colloquia 27; London: The Warburg Institute, 2016).
Helen Spurling, “Hebrew Visions of Hell and Paradise,” in Richard Bauckham, James R. Davila, and Alexander Panayotov, eds., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume One (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2013), 699-753.
 Note well Prov 15:28: לב צדיק יהגה לענות ופי רשעים יביע רעות, which I’m inclined to render as ‘the mind of the devoted (student) contemplates before answering, whereas the mouth of the clueless spews out worthless nonsense.’