Literature, Hebrew Prose (medieval)
(3,630 words)

Apart from Hebrew liturgical poetry, our knowledge of nonreligious Jewish literature (belles lettres) from before the time of Saʿadya Gaon (882–942) is very sparse. The oldest known pieces are four-line strophes with the simple rhyme scheme aaaa/bbbb, such as the “strophes (ḥaruzot) of the masoretic grammar” included in the masoretic literature of the eighth and ninth centuries, or the anti-traditional Polemics of Ḥīwī al-Balkhī (Ḥayawihi of Balkh, Afghanistan) from the mid-ninth century. Ḥīwī’s strophes questioned the holiness of the Bible and the claim of…

Cite this page
Yosef Tobi, “Literature, Hebrew Prose (medieval)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 26 June 2017
First published online: 2010



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