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Yosse ben Yosse: The Social Function of Liturgical Poetry in 5th Century Palestine


Yosse ben Yosse: The Social Function of Liturgical Poetry in 5th Century Palestine

Mayer, Esther R. (2011) Yosse ben Yosse: The Social Function of Liturgical Poetry in 5th Century Palestine. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Mayer_MA_S2011.pdf - Accepted Version


The literary genre of Piyyut reflects the time and place in which it was composed, and ‎may therefore be considered an appropriate means for research concerning the ‎sociological religious culture of 5th century Palestinian Jewish life, given the paucity ‎of original source materials from this post-destruction formative period in Judaism. ‎Piyyutic literature was an engine for engendering national identity, fostering kinship ‎and cohesiveness, and displacing revenge or assimilation in favour of Torah ‎observance, which was deemed by the Sages to be essential for the maintenance of ‎the vitality and continuity of Judaic life until its prophesied messianic regeneration. ‎

Yosse ben Yosse composed his Piyyutim in Hebrew, labouring in the Galilee ‎under Byzantine rule. His poems are analyzed as vehicles for transmitting religious, ‎political, social, and didactic messages that were incorporated into the worship lives ‎of Jews. This paper examines the ontological aspects of identity construction, 5th ‎century Jewish historiographic understanding of the nature of time, and elements of ‎messianism that pervade the prayerful Piyyutim. Through tenacious adherence to ‎Hebrew as a repository of culture and destiny, Yosse ben Yosse drew biblical and ‎midrashic allusions, and articulated the rabbinic ethos and concerns with his unique ‎literary style and cadence which mark him as the first in a line of many Paytanim who ‎left their mark on Jewish liturgy. ‎

Seven of his known Piyyutim are presented and translated into English, as a means of ‎fostering further scholarly investigation of Yosse ben Yosse’s contribution to the ‎Piyyutic genre. ‎

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Mayer, Esther R.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Judaic Studies
Date:February 2011
Thesis Supervisor(s):Robinson, Ira
ID Code:7504
Deposited By: ESTHER R. MAYER
Deposited On:09 Jun 2011 15:22
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:30
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