27th October 2017

dr Wojciech Kosior

Elyonim veTachtonim – an electronic database of angels, demons and ghosts in early rabbinical literature. Practical and non-practical applications of the project.

Elyonim veTachtonim is a merism found in several places in early rabbinical literature, meaning all the supernatural beings, both those “above”, i.e. angels, and those “below”, that is demons. In the modern Hebrew, tachtonim also means “panties”, but although the demons liked to look under the rabbis’ tallits, the lingerie of these worthy men is not of interest to us. Elyonim veTachtonim is the codename for the ongoing project, the aim of which is to build an open online database of angels, demons, ghosts, and other supernatural beings in early Rabbinic literature. This database, in turn, serves primarily as a bestiary-catalog and a thematic concordance allowing for the rapid localization and compilation of all the text fragments (now only in Babylonian Talmud) that speak of specific beings. However, this is not the only possible application: both the form and structure of the database allow for using the inventory in other ways. Which ones, however, may be useful?

I would like to ask all potential Participants to read an article presenting the theoretical and methodological foundations of this project (W. Kosior, Elyonim veTachtonim. Some Methodological Considerations on the Electronic Database of Angels, Demons and Ghosts in Early Rabbinic Literature). If the text gives you TL;DR feelings, please take a look at particular tabs on the project page (http://elyonimvetachtonim.blogspot.com). I will take a few minutes summarizing the main assumptions of the project during the lecture, but I would like to use most of the time to discuss practical (both actual and potential) uses of the inventory. Especially in this second aspect, I count on the feedback from the Participants.