Introduction to Hebrew Poetry

Guest writer

Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria V8W 2J3 presents Verses Strung like Pearls” the first lecture in their Exploring the Sephardic Legacy Series, on Sunday, October 14 at 2pm.  Admission is by donation; light refreshments will be served.  Contact Francis at flandy@ualberta.ca, if you have any questions.  This event is sponsored by the Emanu-El Adult Education Team.

Shamma Boyarin will open the series with an introduction to the Hebrew poets of al-Andalus (Islmaic Spain) who, starting with Dunash Ben Labrat (d. c 990), created a vibrant and compelling literary tradition. Drawing both from Arabic literary influences as well as Jewish sources, primarily the Bible, poets such as Moses Ibn Ezra, Judah HaLevi and Shmuel HaNagid wrote about many diverse topics including love, friendship, the beauty of nature, war, aging, relations to others and more. This talk will focus on the main poets from this period, look at some examples of poems, and explore some of the theoretical poetics behind their literary output. All texts will be provided with the Hebrew and an English translation.

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Shamma Boyarin has taught at the University of Victoria in Religious Studies and Medieval Studies since 2008, and in the English Department since 2009. His research and teaching interests include: medieval literature (particularly the literature of Spain and the Near East), comparative literature (particularly Hebrew and Arabic), literature and religion, translation studies, Jewish studies, connections between medieval and contemporary aspects of religion, and religion and pop culture. He was one of the organizers of the very successful "South of Heaven: Religion and Heavy Metal" symposium that took place at the 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences held at University of Victoria.

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