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Figurative Language In Early Piyyut

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Chapter Summary

Professor Yosef Yahalom's book Poetic Language in the Early Piyyut was the first systematic and large-scale attempt to describe the linguistic features of Hebrew liturgical poetry from Late Antiquity. This chapter likes to pay tribute to Professor Yahalom by focusing on one aspect of paytanic language that did not receive much attention over the years, namely the role of metaphors, similes and other figures of speech. It discusses piyyutim from the so-called "preclassical" era of Piyyut since these compositions supply the earliest evidence for the new poetics of Piyyut and because their study sets the ground for future investigations of later periods. The chapter dedicates to specific themes within the field of figurative language: the relationship between metaphors and the paytanic kinnuy, the status of similes, and finally the impact of structural features on the development of figurative language.

Keywords: Bible; figurative language; Hebrew; Late Antiquity; paytanic kinnuy; Piyyut; Yosef Yahalom



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