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Ancient World Seminar: Wout van Bekkum (RUG), 'Polemics and politics in poetry: Elazar ha-Kiliri on the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple'

When:Mo 17-06-2013 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies: Oude Boteringestraat 38, Room 130
Poster design: Marleen Termeer
Poster design: Marleen Termeer

The Hebrew hymns of the 7th-century composer Elazar birabbi ha-Kiliri (the 'Clerical') are still sung or recited in synagogues all over the world. The major part of his oeuvre consists of festive poems, but also contains lamentations that commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Ha-Kiliri or Kilir refers to the turbulent conditions of his time when a fierce battle for Palestine was delivered by Byzantines, Persians and Arabs during the years 614-637. Kilir mentions the three armies and relates them to hitherto unknown ideas about the end of times and to unfamiliar messianic traditions. Kilir's description of Hefziba, "the mother of the Messiah, son of Joseph", is very curious. Who is she and what does she represent?

Wout van Bekkum is professor of Middle East studies at the University of Groningen and a specialist on mediaeval Hebrew poetry.

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