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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 1003: Forms and Philosophy in Medieval Jewish Writing

Wednesday 5 July 2023, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Shamma Boyarin, Department of English, University of Victoria
Paper 1003-aThe Role of Jewish Medieval Commentary on Liturgical Poems as an Educational Tool
(Language: English)
Simha Goldin, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Liturgy, Religious Life
Paper 1003-bLaw, Innovation, and Dream in Maharam's Halakha
(Language: English)
Joseph Isaac Lifshitz, Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, Tel Aviv University / Shalem College, Jerusalem
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Law, Religious Life
Paper 1003-cMelancholy and the Search for Wisdom in Ibn Gabirol
(Language: English)
Encarnación Ruiz Callejón, Departmento de Filosofía, Universidad de Granada
Index terms: Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Islamic and Arabic Studies, Philosophy

Paper -a:
This work will focus on studying the synagogue as a communal institute and its function regarding its rites and officials. I will consider the liturgy and its uniqueness in medieval Germany, Northern France, and England. I will concentrate on the liturgical additions from the Middle Ages - the piyyutim (liturgical poems). I will analyse these added piyutim and their didactic role, which will serve as the basis of examining the special genre of medieval Ashkenaz: the interpretation of piyutim. In other words, the need to transmit to the broader public of the community the messages arising from the systems of prayer and liturgy.

Paper -b:
Maharam of Rothenburg was the most important Halakhic scholar during the second half of the 13th century in Germany, and his Halakhic work can represent the phenomenon of his time - preferring Talmudic law over custom. But Maharam should be described, not only for his Talmudic Halakha, but for his innovative decisions. He relied heavily on intuition, even when it contradicted Talmudic sources. He did so by contending that he was inspired by prophetic power or spirit, either in a dream, or in some message that was delivered to him from heavens. I claim that he didn't use that sort of locution was not literal, but was his way of expressing the legitimacy of intuition in Halakhic decision making.

Paper -c:
This paper focuses on the work of the 11th century Neoplatonic Jewish philosopher Solomon ibn Gabirol. He developed his intellectual activity in al-Andalus as a philosopher and poet and is considered a pessimistic author with a melancholic nature. His best known and most studied work is on metaphysics, known among the scholastics as Fons Vitae. But he also wrote works of practical philosophy to offer the reader guidelines in life, such as the Book of the Improvement of the Moral Qualities of the Soul and The Choice of Pearls. This paper aims to: 1) Analyse the status of ethics in ibn Gabirol and its relationship with metaphysics and poetry. 2) Establish the function and limits of knowledge in relation to the search for perfection and the health of the soul and of society.