Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World

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Piyyuṭ (Liturgical Poetry)
(3,085 words)

1.  The Term Piyyuṭ

Piyyuṭ (pl. piyyuṭim; from Gk. poietes, poet) is a genre of liturgical or sacred poetry that is combined with public prayer in the synagogue. The midrash (Vayiqra Rabba [Margoliot] 30 Chronicles [A]) said of Rabbi Eleazer ben Simeon: “deava qariʾi u-tenay qerov u-poytas” (he was an expert on Scripture and Talmud, drew near to the ark [i.e., was a cantor], and was a poet). The notion of “closeness” (q-r-v) came to be associated with prayer, piyyuṭ, and the cantor who draws near to the ark and leads the prayers of the congregation. The functional definition of piyyuṭ as poetr…

Cite this page
Ephraim Hazan, “Piyyuṭ (Liturgical Poetry)”, in: Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World, Executive Editor Norman A. Stillman. Consulted online on 21 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1878-9781_ejiw_COM_0017690>
First published online: 2010

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