Biblical Poetry Through Medieval Jewish Eyes (Indiana by Adele Berlin

By Adele Berlin

This quantity makes to be had in English for the 1st time an exceptionally very important workforce of medieval and Renaissance texts on biblical poetry. The ebook comprises excerpts from seventeen Judaeo-Arabic and Hebrew texts and contains the paintings of recognized figures reminiscent of Judah Halevi, Moshe ibn Ezra, Don lsaac Abravanel, and Azariah de' Rossi, in addition to lesser-known works that show a wealthy yet overlooked culture of severe debate on biblical poetics. The writings awarded the following date from the 9th to the 17th centuries and have been produced in 3 of the most facilities of Jewish tradition: Spain, Provence, and Italy. a few are excerpts from biblical commentaries, whereas others are present in old, philosophical, grammatical, and literary treatises.

The publication is split into elements. half I contains a longer essay on medieval and Renaissance perspectives of biblical poetry and rhetoric that highlights the most traces of historic improvement and indicates appropriate connections with sleek study on biblical poetry. all of the translated excerpts partly ll is preceded via a short biographical observe at the writer, an summary of the paintings from which the excerpt is taken, and a precis of the excerpt. Bibliographical references are given for every textual content, and there's an in depth bibliography and a word list of significant phrases and concepts.

For literary students, this booklet offers a win-
dow onto medieval and Renaissance Jewish literary
theory, and for college kids of the Bible it provides a massive bankruptcy within the heritage of biblical interpretation.

ADELE BERLlN is Professor of Hebrew within the division of Hebrew and East Asian Languages and Literatures on the college of Maryland. Her past books contain Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative and The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism.

Indiana reports in Biblical Literature
Herbert Marks and Robert Polzin, editors

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Example text

Biblical] language permits it, and does not refrain from it, as in bin nun [Exod 33:11]; yarus saddiq [Prov 18:10]; we'ozel lo [Prov 20:14]; me'eres zikram [Ps 34:17]; ki ye eber [Gen 42:1]. .. All that the Bible permits is permissible. However, since in poetry especially we follow Arabic practice, it is incumbent upon us to do as they do as far as we are able. [Halkin, 160-61] From the last two citations we sense some discomfort on ibn Ezra's part when biblical usage went against medieval rhetorical norms; but he could not declare biblical usages unacceptable.

He betroths her, and from their union is born a son, the reborn Hebrew language, mighty and powerful. Now the thing that stirred up my spirit to compose this book was that a wise man among the sages of the Arabs and one of the choicest of the enlightened whose tongue is fluent in Arabic rhetoric [melisa] and through whose mouth the vision of poetry is spread abroadhe is the famous al-Hariri.... He composed a book in the Arabic tongue that offers goodly words; albeit its themes are hewn from the Hebrew tongue and all its precious metaphors are taken and handed over from our books.

27 This idea is put more metaphorically in Falaquera's Seper Hammebaqqe [The Book of the Seeker]: I have now beheld that the words of the poets follow a crooked course which is alien to the wise of heart and foreign to men of truth. .. 28 Thus from a philosophic perspective, poetry was felt to be frivolous. Maimonides, the foremost of the medieval Jewish philosophers, expressed his distaste for it on numerous occasions, considering it a trivial pursuit. Immanuel Frances, reflecting a similar thought with the irony of someone promoting poetry, has a character in his Meteq Sepatayim say: "The art of poetry is the dessert .

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