CRITICAL INTRODUCTION TO THE BENDITHION CHRONICLES
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Religious literature is characterised by parables, exempla, midrashim, folk tales and fables – all fictions, created to reveal perceived truths. Those who wish to perpetuate these ‘truths’ must map out the spaces between recorded events and fill them in: populate deserts with saints and stone tablets, spin fairy stories, anecdotes and whispers into cohesive allegorical histories, weave tapestries, paint ceilings and write eternal tales: a Canticle of Canticles, a pilgrimage to Canterbury, a Genesis, a Narnia, a Chad Gadya. And, in other eras, an Inferno, a Pilgrim’s Progress, an Iliad, A Space Odyssey.
Inside this literature lies a history of ideas, my history of ideas and thus my relationship to literature, art and science; to revelation, philosophy, and rhetoric; to astronomy, music, and law – to all the codes of my culture; and outside it lies the one lone nation of Wales.[3
 Midrash (pl, midrashim) The word ‘midrash’ derives from a Hebrew word meaning ‘interpretation’. In the simplest modern literary terms, it is a rabbinic explication of a biblical narrative. Although at times attributed in scholarly works to pseudepigrapha (commentaries on The Torah written between 400 CE and 1200 CE derived from exegesis, parable, and haggadic legend), it is itself more allegorical and parabolic than exegetical and is far too complex a term to analyse here. The best sources for further information on the meaning of midrashim include The Jewish Encyclopedia online at http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=586&letter=M as well as those works delineated in the bibliography as being of specific value to those unfamiliar with the 6000-year history, literature, culture, music, languages, food, law, liturgy, social systems, intellectual traditions, inventions, contributions and religious beliefs of the Jewish people in America, Israel and the many countries of the world that form their Diaspora.
 Chad Gadya is perhaps the most significant of allegorical folktales (and songs) in the Jewish tradition. From Jewish Folk Songs (http://www.jewishfolksongs.com/he/one-only-kid-he): “The song Chad Gadya was first incorporated into the Prague Haggadah [the text for the seder ritual] in 1590, together with the second last song Echad mi yodea? [Who knows one?], although both songs existed centuries before they were first connected to the seder, and the Jewish origins of Chad Gadya may even be pushed back as far as the thirteenth century (Rayner, p.114) […]Chad Gadya is sung in many different languages by Jews around the world…Musicologist Abraham Schwadron spent ten years collecting hundreds of versions of Chad Gadya from Jewish communities around the world. The collection is housed in the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.” I am assuming familiarity on the part of the reader with the other literary works named above.
 I refer here to Western religious literature and the Western (English) Canon, of which Wales with its older and often richer literature, is not a part.
Causes Harrison Solow Supports
Lupus Foundation of America
Museum of Tolerance