Browse by Subject
Current Leaflets
and Catalogs
and Pre-Press
sign up for special offers in your fields of interest  •  sign in to see what suggestions ISD has for you or to create a wishlist
70 Enterprise Drive, Suite 2
Bristol, CT 06010
+1 860 584-6546
quick search
advanced search
my account
email address
Who am I? And what's my password?
Sign in
or Create an Account
my shopping cart
is currently empty
view cart / check out
160 pages
Hebrew Union College Press
Paperback (April 2000)
ISBN-13 9780878202195
ISBN-10 0878202196
Out of print
add to wish list
Literary Studies
Medieval Studies
Theology and Poetry
Studies in the Medieval Piyyut
by Jakob J Petuchowski
Theology is, by definition, rational discourse about God and, by extension, the rational discourse about religious matters in general. Humans are rational--though not only rational--creatures and, as such, they are ever striving to verbalize, to rationalize, and to systematize. But, if theology is rational discourse about a primary experience rather than experience itself, we are faced with the problem of whether theology can really do full justice to the primary experience. Theologians have often list sight of the fact that theology is an interpretive discipline, that the primary source of religious knowledge is human experience, and that we have in our experience only hints and intimations of God.

The images and nuances of poetry may be better suited than logical discourse for capturing these hints and intimations. Alongside its technical theological tractates, Judaism has always had its prayerbook, and the language of prayer is the language of poetry. Theological systems may come and go, but the theology that is translatable into liturgy remains. Liturgical poems expressing the unconventional and the idiosyncratic share the same prayerbook pages with conventional theology, just as conflicting ideas had always shared the same pages of Talmud and Midrash, where no uniformity of theological positions was ever enforced. Ibn Ezra's advice to "pray only in a literalist manner" was hardly the advice by which Jews let themselves be guided. The poetry of the synagogue proves it.

The traditional Jewish liturgy contains not only the standard prayers ordained in the Talmud and the ritual codes, but also poetic embellishments of all kinds. Such poetic embellishments, or piyyutim, take the form of hymns to be sung in conjunction with the standard prayers, and of poetic inserts in the standard prayers themselves. Jakob Petuchowski presents ten such poems in pointed Hebrew, with translation, commentary, and introduction to the theological theme of each poem. The poems-ranging from the sixth to the fourteenth centuries and hailing Palestine, Spain, France, Germany, and Italy-introduce the reader to innovative poetic expressions of unconventional and daring theological ideas that have been incorporated into the standard liturgy. This reprint edition is an indispensible introduction to piyyut (medieval liturgical poetry) for all students of Jewish thought and culture.
Add to wishlist
You currently have wishlists
Please click on the name of the wishlist you want to add the item to.
Add to Cart
  If you have received a leaflet or are ordering from a conference handlist and want to take advantage of a special
  reduced price, please enter the relevant promotional code.
  ISBN Title Price   Promotional Code  

Wishlist item added
The item has been successfully added to your selected wishlist.
Home • Top of Page • Contact • About ISD • Browse by Subject • Publishers • Typesetting & Pre-Press • Sitemap • Privacy Statement • Terms & Conditions © ISD 2012