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Riikka Tuori

intra-Jewish phenomenon is currently observed in its dynamic complexity. 1 The present article will focus on a later strand of Karaite Judaism: the Karaites of Poland-Lithuania and their devout poetry during the early modern period. 2 Writing formalistic Hebrew poetry had been an essential mode of

The Shape of Hebrew Poetry

Exploring the Discourse Function of Linguistic Parallelism in the Egyptian Hallel

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Matthew Ian Ayars

In The Shape of Hebrew Poetry, Matthew Ayars explores foregrounding and structural cohesion as the dual discourse function of linguistic parallelism in biblical Hebrew poetry through a robust application of Russian Formalist Roman Jakobson's conceptulisation of linguistic parallelism to the Egpytian Hallel (Psalm 113–118). Other hebraists and biblical Hebrew poetry specialists have long noted the importance of Jakobson's theory of parallelism for poetic texts of the Hebrew Bible, however, Ayars is the first to offer an application of Jakobsonian-based analysis to a poetic corpus of the Hebrew Bible.

Innovations in Hebrew Poetry

Parallelism and the Poems of Sirach

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M. Philippe Reymond

Although scholars point to similarities between Sirach and the book of Proverbs and sometimes characterize Ben Sira's relationship to biblical poetry as one of imitation (often unsuccessful imitation), this study considers the innovative and unique aspects of Sirach poetry, especially its use of parallelism, and demonstrates that Ben Sira does not rely exclusively on Proverbs or any other biblical book as a model. Innovations in Hebrew Poetry provides detailed readings and philological analysis for the nine poems in the Masada scroll, and general observations on many other Sirach and biblical poems complement the analysis.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (www.sbl-site.org)

Hebrew Poetry from Late Antiquity

Liturgical Poems of Yehudah. Critical Edition with Introduction and Commentary

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Wout van Bekkum

The discovery of the Genizah manuscipt collection is nothing less than a revolution for the knowledge of Hebrew literature and Jewish culture in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. One of the main results of one hundred years of Genizah research is the rediscovery of Hebrew liturgical poetry which shed much light on various aspects of Jewish studies. For the last half century it has been almost comonplace to discover new poems, unknown poets, novel uses of poetry and unfamiliar poetic versions of familiar prose texts within liturgical settings being revealed among the manuscripts and manuscript fragments. The products of the composers and reciters of synagogue poetry convincingly demonstrate the importance of poetry in Jewish worship and communal life. The major corpora of Palestinian liturgical poetry bear evidence to the prolific literary activity of a number of famous poets who laid the foundations for the development of Hebrew poetry in later periods: Yossi ben Yossi, Yannai, Simon bar Megas, Elazar birabbi Kilir and Yohanan ha-Kohen. One of these mostly Byzantine-Jewish 'melodists' was Yehudah who composed a cycle of poems in accordance with the reading tradition of the Pentateuch and Prophets on the sabbath. This study presents Yehudah's oeuvre with commentaries and deals with its historical and literary context in four introductory chapters. The edition is complemented by indices and a bibliography.

Cantos and Strophes in Biblical Hebrew Poetry

with Special Reference to the First Book of the Psalter

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P. van der Lugt

This volume deals with the poetic framework and material content of the book of Psalms. The rhetorical analyses of Psalms 1-41 are preceded by a broad survey of the history of strophic investigation into Hebrew poetry, starting from the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Formal and thematic devices demonstrate that the psalms are composed of a consistent pattern of cantos (stanzas) and strophes. The formal devices include quantitative balance on the level of cantos in terms of the number of verselines, verbal repetitions and transition markers. A quantitative structural approach also helps to identify the focal message of the poems.
An introduction to the design of biblical poetry, describing the fundamentals that determine the macrostructure of individual compositions, concludes this massive study.

Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Egypt

The Secular Poetry of the Karaite Poet Moses ben Abraham Darʿī. Karaite Texts and Studies, Volume 3

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Joachim J.M.S. Yeshaya

Moses ben Abraham Darʿī, born in Alexandria into a family of Moroccan Jewish immigrants, lived in Egypt in the middle of the twelfth century. Though he visited Damascus and Jerusalem, he spent most of his professional life as a physician and poet in the Karaite community of Fusṭāṭ-Cairo. This study offers an annotated edition of secular poems taken from the earliest manuscript, NLR Evr. I 802, dated to the fifteenth century. The Hebrew text and Judaeo-Arabic heading of each poem are provided in the original order attested in the manuscript. The introduction to this edition seeks to evaluate Darʿī’s poetry in the light of the Andalusian-Hebrew poetical tradition and within the context of Hebrew literary activity in the Muslim East.

“This learned book displays sound, rigorous scholarship in the best tradition of the philological-historical method… It also provides solid ground for further work by scholars with different agendas, different scholarly interests and different methodologies in the study of medieval Hebrew poetry. On all accounts, it is a welcome and most valuable addition to the field.”
Esperanza Alfonso, CCHS-CSIC

"Yeshaya's work is an excellent contribution to the study of both medieval Hebrew poetry and Karaitica, showing Darʿī to be a central representative of Hebrew poets writing in the Muslim East and, most importantly, a charming author, whose Karaiteness only adds to the attraction."
Riikka Tuori

P. van der Lugt

Formal and thematic devices demonstrate that the psalms are composed of a consistent pattern of cantos (stanzas) and strophes. The formal devices especially include quantitative balance on the level of the cantos in terms of verselines, verbal repetitions, and (on the level of the strophes) transition markers. The quantitative approach to a psalm in terms of verselines, cola and/or words in most cases clearly discloses a focal message.

Volume 1 (OTS 53, 2005) deals with the poetic framework and material content of the book of Psalms. The rhetorical analyses of Psalms 1-41 are preceded by a broad survey of the history of strophic investigation into Hebrew poetry, starting from the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Volume 2 (OTS 57, 2010) deals with the poetic framework and material content of the Second and Third Books of the Psalter (Psalms 42-72 and 73-89).

Volume 3 (OTS 63, 2014) deals with the rhetoric, the formal and thematic framework, of Psalms 90-150 (the Fourth and Fifth Book of the Psalter).

P. van der Lugt

Formal and thematic devices demonstrate that the psalms are composed of a consistent pattern of cantos (stanzas) and strophes. The formal devices especially include quantitative balance on the level of the cantos in terms of verselines, verbal repetitions, and (on the level of the strophes) transition markers. The quantitative approach to a psalm in terms of verselines, cola and/or words in most cases clearly discloses a focal message.

Volume 1 (OTS 53, 2005) deals with the poetic framework and material content of the book of Psalms. The rhetorical analyses of Psalms 1-41 are preceded by a broad survey of the history of strophic investigation into Hebrew poetry, starting from the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Volume 2 (OTS 57, 2010) deals with the poetic framework and material content of the Second and Third Books of the Psalter (Psalms 42-72 and 73-89).

Volume 3 (OTS 63, 2014) deals with the rhetoric, the formal and thematic framework, of Psalms 90-150 (the Fourth and Fifth Book of the Psalter).

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Uriah Kfir

A Matter of Geography: A New Perspective on Medieval Hebrew Poetry takes a ground-breaking approach to the relationships between centers of medieval Hebrew poetry and their implications regarding matters of poetics. It shows on the one hand how literary efforts by members of the Spanish school of secular poetry, from its zenith in the eleventh century to the thirteenth century, helped gradually shape its predominance. On the other hand, it presents thirteenth century Hebrew poets from Iraq, Egypt, Italy and Provence, and charts the different strategies of these “peripheral” authors, who had to cope with Iberian fame. The analysis, which draws on concepts from literary and cultural theories, provides close readings of many works in both the original Hebrew and, in most cases for the first time, an English translation.

"Kfir’s book makes a strong case for the craft, vibrancy, and richness of Medieval Hebrew poetry as rooted in place. Highly recommended for scholars of medieval Hebrew poetry, poetry aficionados, and historians." - David B. Levy, Touro College, Association of Jewish LIbraries 8.4 (2018).