Elyonim veTachtonim. Some Methodological Considerations on the Electronic Database of Angels, Demons and Ghosts in Early Rabbinic Literature.

Wojciech Kosior


This paper presents the background, ambitions and the initial achievements of the Elyonim veTachtonim research project aimed at constructing an electronic database of accounts involving angels, demons and ghosts in early rabbinic literature. The first part summarises the history and transformations of the project together with its principles, textual range and purposes. It scrutinises the methodology behind the study by presenting a broader context including the cognitive theory of religion, formal analysis of myth and cognitive and statistic linguistics. The second part contains the technical analysis of the data mining process and provides a user’s manual. The third part furnishes some early findings and observations based on both the qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered in the database: the domination of the pragmatic orientation, the correlation of particular entities and specific genres and the overwhelmingly negative attitude of demons towards humans. Finally, the fourth part points out the most important improvements which need to be made to the existing database and outlines some directions for development and possible applications.

Słowa kluczowe: rabbinic literature, Babylonian Talmud, demonology, angelology

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