Thursday, May 10, 2018

A late-antique Aramaic funeral liturgy

GENIZA FRAGMENT OF THE MONTH (APRIL 2018): Mourning in Late Antiquity: T-S NS 148.58 (Laura Lieber).
We know little of the lived experiences of the majority of Jews in the world of Late Antiquity. The Genizah can however provide a glimpse, albeit partial and blurry, of Jewish life in the Land of Israel in the 4th to the 7th centuries CE. This period, which encompassed the consolidation of Jewish textual traditions, the rise of imperial Christianity, and the arrival of Islam, also witnessed the birth of a literary tradition that crossed many of the boundaries of the period: religious, or liturgical, poetry. Alongside this body of work is a small, precious collection of poems in the vernacular of the Jews of Late Ancient Palestine: Jewish Palestinian Aramaic (JPA) poetry. These poems are of a popular character and were composed not only for holidays but also lifecycle events, and so they offer a rare window through which Jews’ routine, lived experience during this obscure time can be perceived.

This fragment, T-S NS 148.58 folio 1v, illustrates one way in which the death of an individual was marked by the community. ...
Cross-file under Aramaic Watch.

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