Traditions are born: A medieval samaritan poem takes on a new form

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Abstract

This article introduces a previously unknown Samaritan liturgical poem which was composed in the 14th century by the poet Sā'ed El. The poem, whose main parts were discovered by my learned Samaritan informant Mr Y. Tsedaka in the Firkovich collection in St Petersburg, contains words and phrases not attested before in the existing Samaritan Aramaic and Hebrew texts. However, it is not only the importance of the text itself which should attract our attention but rather its peculiar formation. We were lucky enough to witness a very interesting case of creation of a new text comprising on one hand some old fragmented materials and on the other hand a totally new part composed by the same Samaritan who put together the old pieces. This case teaches us how cautious should we be while dealing with seemingly old texts: the poem in question does indeed include important old material, but its whole total version and pronunciation is a result of a (very successful) reconstruction performed by a contemporary Samaritan sage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Jewish Studies
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

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