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  • Author or Editor: Elisabeth Hollender x
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In: Jewish and Christian Liturgy and Worship
In: Der Neue Pauly Online
This volume is a compendium of all known commentaries on Hebrew liturgical poetry (piyyut) preserved in manuscript form. It includes references to commentaries from many different Jewish communities, most prominent among them Ashkenaz, Tsarfat, Sepharad, Carpentras and Yemen, composed and copied in Medieval and Early Modern times. Over 18,000 individual commentaries on more than 2,000 poems are listed with primary sources and references to editions where extant. As an aid to research, it describes a vast but hitherto neglected genre of medieval Hebrew literature and maps out a whole new field of investigation into medieval Jewish textual culture. This catalogue enables users to find manuscript commentaries on most piyyutim that were included in liturgies in major Jewish communities.


Ms Bernkastel-Kues 313 is a liturgical collection from the French tradition, containing piyyutim for the festivals and a collection of occasional piyyutim. Half of the poems in this collection are Sephardic, attesting the importance this tradition gained in French and Ashkenazic liturgy. In addition to well known authors like Judah ha-Levi and Abraham Ibn Ezra, also less known Sephardic authors are present in the collection, next to piyyutim by known and less known French and three Ashkenazic piyyutim. The most prominent genre present in the collection is ofanim, where Sephardic influence is visible in all compositions. Structural changes to some piyyutim attest to the local performance that included community participation. The majority presence of Sefardi poetry in the quntras ha-piyyutim in Kues 313 offers one example among many of cultural contact among medieval European Jewish communities. The multi-faceted process of importing cultural objects, adapting them for use within a group’s own cultural portfolio, and mixing them freely into established rites and rituals was an inherent aspect of the development of Jewish cultural development in medieval Europe. An appendix contains edition of two compositions from this collection.

In: 'His Pen and Ink Are a Powerful Mirror'