Liturgical Poems of H&dotbelow;anukka from Europe: Critical Edition and Investigations
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This dissertation presents and contextualizes Hebrew liturgical poems (piyyut&dotbelow;im) that were recited in medieval European synagogues on H&dotbelow;anukka. It consists of two parts: analysis and corpus of texts. The analysis contextualizes the poems in terms of their setting in liturgical history, development of narrative and other traditions, and relationship to each other. It consists of five chapters. Chapter I is a general outline of the history and diffusion of the various prayer-rites of medieval Europe, without a special focus on H&dotbelow;anukka. It traces the development from the early prayer-rites of the Middle East to those used in the various regions of medieval Europe: Iberian, Italian, French, German, Greek, and local subdivisions. Next it explains the various genres of poems, and lists the poets represented in the corpus. Chapter II discusses the poems' themes and their textual sources; it opens by introducing the various prose sources of H&dotbelow;anukka narratives about the Hasmonaeans, including the various components of the Midrash H&dotbelow;anukka literature and other texts; then shows how the poems use and combine these traditions; then finally notes various non-narrative traditions that are found in the corpus. Chapter III looks at references to and narratives about Alexander the Great in the corpus, and compares them to sources in rabbinic literature and Josippon. It suggests that poets may have included such material in poems about H&dotbelow;anukka not only because Alexander founded the empire that ultimately became the backdrop to the Hasmonaean revolt, but also because of parallels between the stories about Alexander and those about the Hasmonaeans. Chapter IV focusses on a non-narrative poem, Solomon ibn Gabirol's Shene Zetim, and its diffusion; and compares it to three Ashkenazic derivative poems, written in the same me'ora genre. Chapter V tells of the legacy of the texts beyond the Middle Ages: several of the texts continued to be recited and cited; and later poets wrote new poems for para-liturgical situations. The second half of the dissertation presents the Hebrew corpus, edited from manuscripts; all texts are equipped with a critical apparatus, and a large sampling of texts are supplied also with commentary.