Theology and Poetry

BookTheology and Poetry

Theology and Poetry

Studies in the Mediaeval Piyyut

The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization


September 1st, 1978

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In the Middle Ages, unconventional theological views were often expressed in poetic form. Jakob Petuchowski provides parallel texts of ten medieval theological poems in the standard liturgy that express unconventional and daring theological ideas, each with a commentary on the poem and its author, and a survey of Jewish thought on its particular theme.

'Perceptive, original and thought provoking, this slim volume presents a real contribution to the understanding of the nature of the Piyyut.'
Journal of Jewish Studies
'Petuchowski's Theology and Poetry is a unique contribution to Jewish thought and Jewish literature. It is the first - and to this day, the only - discussion of the religious message of the poetry composed for the synagogue by poets who were active during a period of more than a millennium. Petuchowski explores ten representative poems from this great body of literature through translations and explications that are sensitive both to the poems' theological and poetic values. These explications restore liturgical poetry to its rightful role as a repository of Jewish religious thought and experience and point the way to important future research. The book is essential reading for a fuller understanding of Jewish thought and worship.'
Ray Scheindlin

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Half Title2
Title Page4
Introduction and Acknowledgments8
I: The Poetry of the Synagogue18
II: 'The Creed Should be Sung!' 27
III: Speaking of God 38
IV: 'On Account of our Sins' 55
V: 'Measure for Measure' 63
VI: Tamar's Pledge 70
VII: The Silent God 78
VIII: The Suffering God 91
IX: A Samber View of Man 105
X: The All-Inclusive Torah 118
XI: Waiting for 'the End' 131