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The essay presents the field of piyyut, Hebrew liturgical poetry, that remains to this day terra incognita in numerous cultural and historical studies of Judaism in the late antique period. Usually, scholars tend to focus on discursive practices that are intellectual in nature and that involve the study of texts and debates over them, whether internally or externally. However, piyyut played a significant and independent role in the formation of individual and communal identities, especially for lay or unlettered audiences in synagogues across late antique Palestine. The essay explores several key issues that relate to piyyut, such as its performative and ritual characteristics as well as its relations with contemporary Jewish literature (mostly rabbinic literature but also Hekhalot texts). Furthermore, the essay explores the often ignored connections between piyyut and Christian and Samaritan liturgical poetry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Jews and Judaism in Late Antiquity
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315280967
ISBN (Print)9781138241220
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

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© 2024 Taylor and Francis.


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