H-Judaic joins in mourning the passing of Prof. Dan Ben-Amos (1934-2023), Professor of African, Jewish, and Middle Eastern Folklore, and longtime Professor of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (and from which he vowed "never to retire"). He remained an active researcher to the very end of his life. Prof. Ben-Amos is best known in Jewish Studies for his multi-volume FOLKTALES OF THE JEWS. Former JPS editor Ellen Frankel described the series to us as follows: "Over the past thirty-two years, Ben-Amos together with his teacher, Dov Noy, who founded the field of Jewish folklore, selected and annotated several hundred tales, translated by experts into English, researching their sources, similarities, variations, and evolution. Like Louis Ginzberg’s JPS classic, Legends of the Jews, Folktales of the Jews stands as a monument of Jewish scholarship, an enduring gift to the Jewish people."
For the detailed Wikipedia article on Prof. Ben-Amos, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Ben-Amos. His own webpage (https://www.sas.upenn.edu/folklore/faculty/dbamos/) includes a full list of his publications and a brief statement of "Why Folkore."
We extend deepest condolences to his family as well as to his legions of colleagues, students, readers and friends around the world.
Jonathan D. Sarna