The adornment of the soul: A philosophical motif in Andalusian Piyyut

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Jewish poets in Islamic Spain introduced philosophical themes into their devotional compositions. A novel departure, this merger between philosophy and liturgical poetry reflected a conviction that concepts elaborated in Greco-Arabic literature could enhanc...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Hebrew Union College annual
Main Author: Tanenbaum, Adena (Author)
Format: Print Article
Language:English
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Published: 1995
In:Hebrew Union College annual
Year: 1995, Volume: 66, Pages: 223-238
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Judaism / Exegesis
B Judaism / Mysticism
Further subjects:B Jüdische Liturgie
Description
Summary:During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Jewish poets in Islamic Spain introduced philosophical themes into their devotional compositions. A novel departure, this merger between philosophy and liturgical poetry reflected a conviction that concepts elaborated in Greco-Arabic literature could enhance traditional Jewish approaches to spirituality. The idea of the soul occupied a place of paramount importance in this new type of synagogue poetry, or piyyut. Drawn to the Neoplatonic philosophy which was then current, the Hispano-Jewish poets made liberal use of the myth of the soul which featured prominently in the writings of that school of thought. One of the more enigmatic motifs in this corpus is the adornment of the soul. The present paper is devoted to an elucidation of this theme. Not simply a stylistic nicety, this striking image proves to be a poetic reflex of a metaphor which recurs in contemporaneous speculative texts of Islamic and Jewish provenance. Parallels are adduced from such works as The Theology of Aristotle and the writings of Ibn Sina, Baḥya Ibn Paquda, Moses Ibn Ezra, Joseph Ibn Ṣaddiq and Joseph b. Judah Ibn 'Aqnin.
ISSN:0360-9049
Contains:In: Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Hebrew Union College annual