Quantifying Piyyut: computerized explorations of Ancient Hebrew liturgical poetry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Computational-quantitative study in the humanistic disciplines has been increasing steadily in recent years. Research in this digital environment makes possible innovative approaches to well-established methods, raises questions that could not have been asked in the past, and sometimes change the hermeneutical perspective. This article illustrates new possibilities in computational literary research with a case study: reexamination of a dissertation on figurative language in early piyyut. For this reassessment, detailed literary analyses were uploaded into CATMA, a web-based annotation tool, and explored using its visualization capabilities, as well as vis-À-vis, a pattern recognition web-service, and other statistical methods. Comparison of the analog and digital explorations developed by the author corroborated some of the old findings and refuted others. Distant reading techniques fleshed out new insights. All in all, this article seeks to promote a sober and accessible Digital Humanities that do not strive to replace traditional humanistic methods, but to provide scholars with new tools and approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-388
Number of pages19
JournalJewish Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

RAMBI publications

  • Digital humanities
  • Piyyutim -- History and criticism
  • Hebrew poetry, Medieval -- History and criticism
  • Computational linguistics -- Methodology


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