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Title: Popular renditions of Hebrew hymns in the Middle Ages based on a selection of vocalised liturgical poems by Solomon Ibn Gabirol from the Cairo Genizah
Author: Jefferson, Rebecca Jane Wilson
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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Abstract:
This study comprises detailed descriptions of twenty Genizah manuscript editions of eight Hebrew hymns by the medieval Hebrew poet, Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Its aim is to treat these editions as objects of interest in their own right and to uncover fresh insights into how they were copied, disseminated and use. The focus is placed on Hebrew hymns rather than other poetic forms due to their popularity. Indeed, so popular were they that the Spanish poets in the heyday of medieval Hebrew poetry composed thousands and expanded their use in the synagogue services. Hymns by Solomon Ibn Gabirol have been chosen in particular due to the fact that he was one of the greatest and most prolific poets of his day. As a result, manifold copies of his work have survived, all of which are well documented and readily accessible. Particular manuscript editions have been selected on the grounds that they are derived from the Cairo Genizah, vocalised with Tiberian vowel signs, and contain evidence of non-standard vocalization and variations to the text. The Cairo Genizah holds a wealth of material copied in the High Middle Ages close to the time of composition. Vocalized texts have been created with the reader in mind and substantial evidence of non-standard vocalization indicates that the copy was designated for more informal use. More importantly, non-standard vocalization provides evidence of voicing: the copyist’s own pronunciation traits or a recording of the performances he heard or remembered. To date, the Hebrew poetry manuscript as an object of interest in its own right has received little attention. This study seeks to redress that balance by focusing on the method and process of transmission rather than composition. To this end, the physical detail of each manuscript is meticulously recorded and occasional diagrams used to reconstruct the original quires. The result of this method has been to expose a general lack of constraint in the popular rendering of Hebrew hymns and an attitude towards the text that placed demand above faithful transmission.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.605073  DOI: Not available
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