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Religious Folklore in the Bethlehem District

Contributed by Adnan Mousallem on 25.01.2009:

Stories of Places and Persons Connected with

Religious Folklore in the Bethlehem District


Website Dr Adnan Mousallem, Bethlehem University

Issa Massou§


Very little has been written on the subject of religious folklore of the Bethlehem area. Hence, the researcher in this virtually unexplored field has to depend to a great extent on local informants, field work, personal interviews, and above all on long residence in the area.

The passing away of the doyens of local folklore urgently necessitates the recovery and recording of as much as possible of the local folklore. Consequently the documentation value of some of these stories can hardly be overestimated.

(The attached map will help the reader to follow the route along which lie the relevant places dealt with in this article).

The degree of circulation of the following stories varies to a very great extent. Some are quite well-known, while others are known to an extremely limited number of people. Most of them are commonly characterized by the miracle element which is so largely responsible for the maintenance of their circulation. It is to be noted that their nature remains predominantly Christian in essence and outlook in spite of the fact that the Christian population has become a minority in comparison with the Muslim population in the District. Many stories are circulated among Christians and Muslims.

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