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Obadyah the Proselyte and the Roman Liturgy

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In his Hebrew autobiography, written probably in the 1120s, the Norman proselyte Obadyah cites in Hebrew transcription the Latin version of a verse taken from the prophet Joel (Masoretic Text: Joel 3:4, Vulgate: Joel 2:31). The verse appears in the first Old Testament reading of the mass of the Saturday after Pentecost, one of the five days of the Roman liturgical year on which the ordination of priests and deacons could take place. It was probably the appearance of Joel's prophecy in this context which imprinted the Latin version in the memory of Obadyah, who had been educated as a cleric, and which made him recall it some twenty years or more after his conversion.


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