This collection of essays offers an inquiry into the complex interaction between exegesis and poetry that characterized medieval and early modern Karaite and Rabbanite treatment of the Bible in the Islamic world, the Byzantine Empire, and Christian Europe. Discussing a variety of topics that are usually associated with either exegesis or poetry in conjunction with the two fields, the authors analyze a wide array of interactions between biblical sources and their interpretive layers, whether in prose exegesis or in multiple forms of poetry and rhymed prose. Of particular relevance are mechanisms for the production and transmission of exegetical traditions, including the participation of Jewish poets in these processes, an issue that serves as a leitmotif throughout this collection.
Joachim Yeshaya, Ph.D. (2009), University of Groningen, is a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven. He is the author of Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Egypt (Brill, 2011) and Poetry and Memory in Karaite Prayer (Brill, 2014).
Elisabeth Hollender, Ph.D. (1993), University of Cologne, habilitation (2001), Duisburg University, is Professor of Jewish Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt. She has published widely on piyyut and piyyut commentary, including Clavis Commentariorum of Hebrew Liturgical Poetry in Manuscript (Brill, 2005).
List of Contributors
List of Abbreviations
Transliteration of Arabic
Transliteration of Hebrew
Part 1 From Jerusalem to Alexandria
Chapter 1 Wout van Bekkum and Naoya Katsumata, “Singing Songs about Songs”: Biblical and Exegetical Interconnections in Three Hebrew Hymns for Yōm Vayyōshaʿ (the Seventh Day of Passover)
Chapter 2 Sivan Nir and Meira Polliack, “Many Beautiful Meanings Can Be Drawn from Such a Comparison”: On the Medieval Interaction View of Biblical Metaphor
Part 2 From Granada to Sanaʿa
Chapter 3 Mordechai Cohen, “The Distinction of Creative Ability” (Faḍl al-ibdāʿ): From Poetics to Legal Hermeneutics in Moses Ibn Ezra
Chapter 4 Haviva Ishay, The Biblical Exegesis of Abraham Ibn Ezra as a Hermeneutical Device: A Literary Riddle as a Case Study
Chapter 5 Adena Tanenbaum, The Uses of Scripture in Zechariah al-Ḍāhirī’s Sēfer ha-mūsār
Part 3 From Constantinople to Candia
Chapter 6 Daniel J. Lasker, The Interplay of Poetry and Exegesis in Judah Hadassi’s Eshkōl ha-kōfer
Chapter 7 Joachim Yeshaya, Aaron ben Joseph’s Poem for Pārāshat Yitrō Considered in Light of His Torah Commentary Sēfer ha-miḇḥār
Chapter 8 Saskia Dönitz, Shemarya ha-Ikriti and the Karaite Exegetical Challenge
Part 4 From Istanbul to Trakai
Chapter 9 Philip Miller, The Methods of Judah Gibbor’s Biblical Exegesis in Minḥat Yĕhūdā
Chapter 10 Riikka Tuori, “The One Who Defeats the Power of the Stars”: Medieval Exegetics in Polish-Lithuanian Karaite Poetry
Chapter 11 Elisabeth Hollender, Berakha ben Joseph’s Commentary on the Piyyūṭīm by Aaron ben Joseph
Anyone interested in the Hebrew Bible, biblical exegesis, medieval Jewish culture and literature, Hebrew poetry, Jews in the Islamic World, the Byzantine Empire and Christian Europe, and Karaite-Rabbanite relations.