By Michael D. Swartz, Joseph Yahalom
Avodah: historic Poems for Yom Kippur is the 1st significant translation of 1 of crucial genres of the misplaced literature of the traditional synagogue. often called the Avodah piyyutim, this liturgical poetry used to be composed through the synagogue poets of 5th- to ninth-century Palestine and sung within the synagogues on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. even though it was once suppressed via generations of Rabbis, its decorative good looks and deep exploration of sacred tales ensured its acceptance for hundreds of years. Piyyut literature can train us a lot approximately how historic Jews understood sacrifice, sacred house, and sin. The poems also are a wealthy resource for retrieving myths and emblems now not present in the normal Rabbinic resources corresponding to the Talmuds and Midrash. furthermore, those compositions upward thrust to the extent of good literature. they're the goods of significant literary attempt, proceed and expand the culture of biblical parallelism, and exhibit the classy sensibilities of the Mediterranean in overdue Antiquity. The book's structure is cutting edge and applicable for this complicated, allusive style of poetry. The Hebrew and English look on dealing with pages with the references published in a column to the facet of the web page. because the old listener may listen the poem chanted within the synagogue and keep in mind the biblical references and legends according to them, the trendy reader will learn the physique of the poem and be capable to seek advice the references with no being distracted by means of footnotes. The booklet includes an intensive creation that not just describes the Avodah style of piyyut but additionally locations the poetry of the synagogue into the context of the artwork and civilization of the Mediterranean in past due Antiquity. Avodah: old Poems for Yom Kippur is the 1st quantity within the Penn nation Library of Jewish Literature, overseen by means of Baruch Halpern and Aminadav Dykman. This sequence will represent a library of basic resource fabric for the Jewish and Hebrew literary traditions. The library will current Jewish and Hebrew works from all eras and cultures, delivering either students and common readers unique, smooth translations of formerly missed texts.
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Extra resources for Avodah: an anthology of ancient poetry for Yom Kippur
A more surprising feature of the Avodah piyyutim is the degree to which they preserve details and motifs found not in rabbinic literature but in Apocrypha and other Second-Temple texts. Az be-6En Kol is a particularly striking example of this tendency. As Louis Ginzberg and Gary A. 88 But some texts from the Second-Temple period and the early centuries of the Common Era, as well as the Church Fathers, asserted that Adam and Eve had no sexual relations in the Garden. 89 The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch (2 Baruch), a Jewish text from the early second century, states that only after Adam’s transgression did conception of children come into the world (56:6).
This leads naturally into the description of the sacrifice, which presumably takes place in a separate composition. 1 However, it is difficult to know if they were composed together. The main evidence for its antiquity is its literary style: like the earliest stage of piyyut, it employs lines composed of four feet, and it uses unrhymed acrostic. 2 Despite its brevity, however, Atah Barata is not without interest. For example, the poem tells that the angels protested to God when he commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, contrasting God’s promise to Abraham with his command to kill his son.
114 The Avodah, following an ancient tradition of identification of angel and priest, goes further by making the high priest superior to the angel in his ability to ward off angelic guardians of the divine presence. 115 But whereas the Hekhalot texts described journeys undertaken for the sake of the vision of the Divine or perhaps the acquisition of divine secrets, the Avodah describes the high priest’s journey into the divine presence to obtain forgiveness and well-being for all of Israel. We have shown that in its structure and themes the Avodah genre strives to glorify the priesthood, to place the priest at the center of Judaism, and indeed to accord him a central place in the cosmic scheme of things.
Avodah: an anthology of ancient poetry for Yom Kippur by Michael D. Swartz, Joseph Yahalom