tagged: 5th century C.E.

 

אָז רוֹב נִסִּים | Az Rov Nissim, a piyyut by Yanai for the first night of Pesaḥ in its Latin translation by Johann Stephan Rittangel (1644)

The piyyut, Omets G’vurotekha by Elazar ha-Qalir, in its Latin translation by Johann Stephan Rittangel. . . .

A Letter of Passover Instruction, from the Judean Garrison of Elephantine/Yeb (TAD A4.1)

This letter, written in Imperial Aramaic in 419 BCE, is among the vast number of papyrus letters found in Elephantine, also known as Yeb. The Jewish (or more accurately, Judean) community of Yeb is a fascinating bit of history — a group of Judean mercenaries who settled in Egypt and built their own smaller temple! Although their origin was clearly Judean, and they referred to themselves as the ḥeila yehudaya = Judean garrison, their form of worship featured no Deuteronomic centralization, no discussion of the patriarchs, and questionable monotheism! Although the primary deity was YHW (note the difference in spelling), multiple other deities or hypostatized aspects of divinity were worshipped, and verbs for the word “God” are conjugated in the plural rather than the singular. This text is one of a series of letters written between the brothers Yedaniah and Ḥananiah. In this case, it is giving instructions for keeping the holiday of Pesaḥ. These instructions are interesting in their own right — the prohibition on beer could alternatively be read as a prohibition on any alcoholic drink, which would align with Karaite practice rather than rabbinic. But what’s even more interesting is what isn’t mentioned — the instructions given mention nothing whatsoever about the exodus from Egypt, or even God! The diktat to observe the holiday is accredited not to God or Moses, but to Darius, king of the Achaemenid Empire! This passage is a fascinating taste of a part of Judaism that we know very little about. Vocalization according to Tiberian norms and translation into English by the translator. . . .

Υγρομαντεια | The Hygromancy of Solomon (ca. 5th c. CE)

A guide to the activities one might engage upon in every hour of the week corresponding with their ruling planet, numinous and cthonic power. . . .

פֶּרֶק שִׁירָה | Pereq Shirah, critical text by Dr. Malachi Beit-Arié (1967)

The critical text of Pereq Shirah prepared by Dr. Malachi Beit-Arié in 1967. . . .

פֶּרֶק שִׁירָה | Pereq Shirah, a litany of verses spoken by the creatures & works of Creation (after the arrangement of Natan Slifkin)

Talmudic and midrashic sources contain hymns of the creation usually based on homiletic expansions of metaphorical descriptions and personifications of the created world in the Bible. The explicitly homiletic background of some of the hymns in Perek Shira indicates a possible connection between the other hymns and Tannaitic and Amoraic homiletics, and suggests a hymnal index to well-known, but mostly unpreserved, homiletics. The origin of this work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels. A Tannaitic source in the tractate Hagiga of the Jerusalem (Hag. 2:1,77a—b) and Babylonian Talmud (Hag. 14b), in hymns of nature associated with apocalyptic visions and with the teaching of ma’aseh merkaba serves as a key to Perek Shira’s close spiritual relationship with this literature. Parallels to it can be found in apocalyptic literature, in mystic layers in Talmudic literature, in Jewish mystical prayers surviving in fourth-century Greek Christian composition, in Heikhalot literature, and in Merkaba mysticism. The affinity of Perek Shira with Heikhalot literature, which abounds in hymns, can be noted in the explicitly mystic introduction to the seven crowings of the cock — the only non-hymnal text in the collection — and the striking resemblance between the language of the additions and that of Shi’ur Koma and other examples of this literature. In Seder Rabba de-Bereshit, a Heikhalot tract, in conjunction with the description of ma’aseh bereshit, there is a clear parallel to Perek Shira’s praise of creation and to the structure of its hymns. The concept reflected in this source is based on a belief in the existence of angelic archetypes of created beings who mediate between God and His creation, and express their role through singing hymns. As the first interpretations of Perek Shira also bear witness to its mystic character and angelologic significance, it would appear to be a mystical chapter of Heikhalot literature, dating from late Tannaitic — early Amoraic period, or early Middle Ages. . . .