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Midrash UnboundTransformations and Innovations$
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Michael A. Fishbane and Joanna Weinberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113713

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113713.001.0001

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Piyut and Midrash

Piyut and Midrash

Between Poetic Invention and Rabbinic Convention

(p.99) Six Piyut and Midrash
Midrash Unbound

Michael Fishbane

Liverpool University Press

This chapter covers the phenomenon of piyut, which is one of the comprehensive designations of Jewish liturgical poetry and an archaeology of rabbinic tradition. The piyut's major classical and early post-classical creativity spans the fifth to eleventh centuries that originated in the Land of Israel and spread east and west. It mentions the work of Michel Foucault, ‘L'Archéologie du savoir’ and its methodological reflections on the complex relationships between the ‘things said’ in culture and the way their selection or re-combination organizes knowledge from a vast fund of data or the so-called cultural archive. The chapter uses Foucault's insights to clear some paths of approach to piyut. It also focuses on some of the ruptures and transformations of biblical and midrashic literature in the creation of liturgical epics in classical and early medieval piyut.

Keywords:   piyut, Jewish liturgical poetry, rabbinic tradition, Land of Israel, Michel Foucault, biblical literature, midrashic literature, liturgical epics

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