Article

The Study of Hebrew Literature of the Middle Ages: Major Trends and Goals

Tova Rosen and Eli Yassif

in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780199280322
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199280322.013.0011

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

The Study of Hebrew Literature of the Middle Ages: Major Trends and Goals

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This article aims at a critical examination of modern research on medieval Hebrew literature. Here, the definition of ‘medieval Hebrew literature’ excludes writing in Jewish languages other than Hebrew, and singles out literature from other types of non-literary Hebrew writing. The variety of literary types included in this survey ranges from liturgical and secular poetry to artistic storytelling and folk literature. Both early liturgical poetry (piyyut) and the medieval Hebrew story are rooted in the soil of the Talmudic period. The beginnings of medieval Hebrew storytelling were even more deeply connected to the narrative traditions of the Talmud. However, the constitutive moment of the birth of piyyut and narrative as distinct medieval genres had to do with their separation from the encyclopedic, all-embracing nature of the Talmud.

Keywords: medieval Hebrew literature; Talmud; early liturgical poetry; medieval Hebrew story

Article.  26558 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Judaism and Jewish Studies ; Religious Studies ; History of Religion

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