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An Anti-Christian Polemical Piyyut by Yosef Ibn Avitur Employing Elements from Toledot Yeshu

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Abstract This article presents a critical edition of the piyyut האומרים אב ובן ורוח שלישי for Yom Kippur by Yosef ibn Avitur (tenth-eleventh centuries). This piyyut, which contains an explicit anti-Christian polemic, is examined in light of two antecedents belonging to the same type. Furthermore, Avitur’s piyyut displays literary elements that are attested in the complex known as Toledot Yeshu—especially the epithet ממזר ובן נידה referring to Jesus himself as well as a reference to him having been crucified “on a cabbage stalk.” These elements are analyzed and conclusions are drawn with regard to their implication for the study of the evolution of the Toledot Yeshu literature.


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