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Props Of Memory, Triggers Of Narration: Time And Space In Medieval Jewish Hagiography

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the narrative traditions concerning two of the founding fathers of the Jewish settlement in the German lands. Both flourished in the eleventh century and lived in the Rhineland, the area originally called ashkenaz in medieval Hebrew sources before that term came to signify the larger cultural realm of Central and Eastern Europe. Both were liturgical poets whose hymns-in Hebrew, piyyutim-are still recited in synagogues following the Ashkenazic rite. The chapter also focuses on the role the categories of time and space played in the transmission of memory related to the local Jewish past. In the Mayse bukh version, the tale centers on the poet's son Elhanan, who is abducted from his parental home as a young child and brought up as a Christian.

Keywords: Elhanan; German lands; Hebrew; medieval Jewish hagiography



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