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1 Karaite Liturgy and Poetry

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Chapter Summary

A paucity of manuscript sources makes the development of Karaite prayer difficult to reconstruct. Karaite liturgy also carries the burden of modern scholarship's generally negative assessment. In its original form, Karaite liturgy seems to have rejected the innovations of rabbinic prayer and consciously attempted to restore prayer to its supposedly authentic or biblical origins. Yet later Karaite poetry, including Aaron ben Joseph's poems on the pārāshōt, was composed for the Sabbath morning service and was recited immediately before the Torah reading. Darʿī composed only one poem each for 36 of the 54 pārāshōt. He composed two poems each for eight pārāshōt. Three pārāshōt (Va-yēshev, Miqqēṣ, and Bālāq) each have three corresponding poems, and two pārāshōt (Bĕ-rēshīt and Va-yērāʾ) each have four poems. In some cases Darʿī chooses to cite verbatim from other pārāshōt verses than the pizmōn.

Keywords: Aaron ben Joseph's poems; Karaite liturgy; Karaite prayer; Moses ben Abraham Darʿī; pārāshōt; pizmōn.



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