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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

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

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