In this age of the internet, bibliographies, books, and print articles may seem like dinosaurs, but in this field, they are still the main courses of information. These lists will be updated from time to time. For now the focus, though not entirely, is on the five major Spanish-Hebrew poets whose poems are represented on the web site and on books and articles in English or English-Hebrew, with some works in Hebrew only and a few in Spanish or Spanish-Hebrew; Web sites and Links to Web sites are included here. Many articles and some books are now available online, either in periodical databases accessible through libraries or in electronic collections such as Google Books.
Poets, Poetry, Scholarship, and Biography
Books and Articles of Interest to General Readers
Additional Reading (more specialized)
Specialized Bibliography by Elisabeth Hollender
Links to Web Sources
Events and Classes
Archives, Libraries, and Organizations
Although the advent of the Internet seems to be jeopardizing the existence of physical texts like books and articles and often the familiar way information is organized, I still like bibliographies and little essays written about books. Hence this section of the web site. All books and articles discussed below are listed in one of the bibliographic lists below. Only English-language books and articles are reviewed here, with a focus on the Spanish-Jewish poets.
For detailed overviews of the Spanish period, there are Ashtor and Baer; more recent books are Gerber and Sachar. For a general overview of medieval Jewish literature and its historical context, look at Scheindlin, “Merchants and Intellectuals, Rabbis and Poets .” Good current overviews of medieval Hebrew poetry and of other medieval Jewish literature are Adelman on this web site and Scheindlin, “Medieval Hebrew Literature” ; somewhat older overviews that are lengthy and contain different information and reflect different perspectives are Waxman and Baron . For more specialized and sophisticated treatments of poets and topics, Brann and Menocal, Scheindlin, and Sells are recommended. Dan Pagis was a famous scholar who published mostly in Hebrew, so look for Hebrew Poetry of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, his one book in English. An excellent overview of the field of medieval Hebrew literature and its study is Rosen . Petuchowski is a collection of liturgical poems with commentaries; it is challenging but worth reading. Rosen’s Unveiling Eve examines gender in medieval Hebrew literature.
To get a taste of the work of two influential scholars of the past, read Schirmann’s article on Samuel Hanagid and the introductions by Brody to the anthologies on Yehuda Halevi and on Moses Ibn Ezra . Another scholar, Franz Rosenzweig, the challenging twentieth-century Jewish philosopher who wrote the visionary Star of Redemption, translated ninety-two of Yehuda Halevi’s poems into German, and these are now available in an English translation along with Rosenzweig’s notes on the poems.
A modern scholar whose work is high-level, carefully written, and actually readable by the nonspecialist is Raymond P. Scheindlin, many of whose works are listed in the various lists that follow this essay. Additional articles by him can be found in periodical databases. His periodical articles are perhaps best approached after reading some of the poets and some of the more general books, articles, or chapters on the subject—for example, those described above in the second paragraph of this bibliographic essay .
The most extensive anthology of medieval Hebrew poetry is Peter Cole, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492. The best general anthology of Hebrew poetry, and one that also contains the greatest selection of medieval Hebrew poems (in English and Hebrew), is T. Carmi, The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. This book is a must! Unfortunately, the translations are in prose; fortunately, the prose translations are better than most verse versions. Two anthologies that can serve as texts for self-study are Scheindlin, The Gazelle and Wine, Women, and Death. David Goldstein’s The Jewish Poets of Spain is worth owning but out of print; I bought my copy used on the Internet. Two very old, out-of-print anthologies worth looking at by readers interested in such books are Alice Lucas’s The Jewish Year and Nina Davis’s Songs of Exile; many of the poems in these two books are included on this web site, but there is nothing like reading poetry in real books and also like holding these older books. One classic Hebrew anthology will be mentioned, Schirmann, Hebrew Poems from Spain and Provence; unfortunately copies are hard to find, and those that are found are expensive. And finally, Jerome Rothenberg (with the help of Harris Lenowitz) has assembled another wonderful Rothenbergian anthology, doing for Jewish literature what he did for Native American literature in Shaking the Pumpkin and for other indigenous literatures in Technicians of the Sacred. Although the amount of medieval Hebrew literature is small, the book, in its newer or older editions, is highly recommended as a refreshing and often desperately needed antidote to more traditional approaches to literature and translation.
Whatever translation collections you can find of individual poets are worth looking at, but only the newer collections are in print and most are in paperback. These are more recent books that look and feel (more or less) like real poetry books rather than collections of poems embedded in commentaries or commentaries with poetic examples: For Yehuda Halevi there are Levin and Rosenzweig (the latter is a “more or less”); for Solomon Ibn Gabirol there are Cole and Loewe (the latter is another “more or less”); for Samuel Hanagid there are Cole, Halkin, and Weinberger; for Abraham Ibn Ezra there is Weinberger; and for Moses Ibn Ezra there is no one new, so you will need to find Brody/Solis-Cohen. Several editions containing just Ibn Gabirol’s long poem “Keter Malchut” are Lewis and Slavitt.
As Jacques Pepin might say if he were closing a bibliographic essay instead of a cooking show: “Happy Reading!”
I list older books because these are available in some libraries and for some readers may be the only collections available. In addition, some readers may like the older translations better than the newer ones. Note that with only a few exceptions, anthologies published before 1980 containing translations by different people almost always contain the same older translations, by Emma Lazarus, Alice Lucas, Nina Salaman, Solomon Solis-Cohen, Israel Zangwill, and others. All of the very old books are out of print; some of the better collections, old and new, are marked “out of print.” Many of the out-of-print books can be found in used bookstores or bought on-line. Most English or bilingual collections of poems also contain introductions and other scholarly apparatus, and so they may be listed twice in a poet section.
Yellin, D., ed. Gan Hameshalim veHahidot [Diwan of Don Todros Abu-l-afia]. Jerusalem, 1932-1937. In the future I hope to add translations of poems by this poet to the web site.
۞Dar’i, Moses ben Abraham
Nemoy, Leon, ed. Karaite Anthology: Excerpts from the Early Literature. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1952, 1980. See pp 133-146.
Yeshaya, Joachim J.M.S. Medieval Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Egypt: The Secular Poetry of the Karaite Poet Moses ben Abraham Dar’i. Karaite Texts and Studies, vol. 3. Leiden and Boston, 2010.
Yeroushalmi, David, ed. and trans. The Judeo-Persian Poet ‘Emrˉanˉi and His ‘Book of Treasure’: ‘Emrˉanˉi’s Ganj-nˉame, a Versified Commentary on the Mishnaic Tractate Abot. Leiden: Brill, 1995. This writer lived 1454-1536.
Brody, Heinrich, ed. Diwan des Abu-l-Hasan Jehuda ha-Levi [Yehuda Halevi: The Diwan]. 4 vols. Berlin: Schriften des Vereins Mekize Nirdamim, 1894-1930. Reprinted with introduction, bibliography, additions, and indices by A. M. Habermann. Fransborough: Gregg International, 1971.
Schirmann, H., ed. Yehuda Halevi: Shirim Nivharim. Jerusalem, 1956.
Yarden, D., ed. Shirei Haqadosh LeRabbi Yehuda Halevi [The Religious Poetry of Rabbi Yehuda Halevi]. Hebrew. 4 vols. Jerusalem, 1978-1985.
Brody, Heinrich, ed., and Nina Salaman, trans. Selected Poems of Jehudah Halevi. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1924, 1952 (1974 paperback edition). Bilingual edition containing dated but enthusiastic translations. Out of print but available in libraries.
Ha-Levi, Yehuda. Nueva Antologia Poetica. Translated by Rosa Castillo. Madrid: Hiperion, 1997.
Halevi, Yehuda. Poems from the Diwan. Translated by Gabriel Levin. London: Anvil Press, 2003. Appears to be the first book of English translations of Halevi (with the exception of the English translations, published in 2000, of Franz Rosenzweig’s German translations) in over eighty years. In print.
Rosenzweig, Franz, trans. Ninety-Two Poems and Hymns of Yehuda Halevi. Translated by Thomas Kovach, Eva Jospe, and Gilya Gerda Schmidt and edited by Richard A. Cohen. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000. Contains English translations, with extensive commentary, of the German translations of Halevi by the important Jewish philosopher. In print.
Scholarship and Biography
Brann, Ross. “Judah Halevi.” In The Literature of Al-Andalus. Edited by Maria Rosa Menocal, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
_________. “A Way with Words or Away with Words? Judah Halevi.” In Ross Brann, The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain. London and Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
Brener, Ann. Judah Halevi and His Circle of Hebrew Poets in Granada. Leiden: Brill Styx, 2005. Includes poems.
Goitein, S.D. A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza. Vol V, The Individual: Portrait of a Mediterranean Personality of the High Middle Ages as Reflected in the Cairo Geniza. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. See pp 448-468.
Halevi, Jehudah. Selected Poems of Jehudah Halevi. Edited by Heinrich Brody and translated by Nina Salaman. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1924, 1952 (paper 1974). See the Introduction.
Kayser, Rudolf. The Life and Times of Jehudah Halevi. New York: The Philosophical Library, 1949.
Scheindlin, Raymond P. “Contrasting Religious Experience in the Liturgical Poems of Ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi.” Prooftexts 13 (1993): 141-162. A careful examination that concludes that although some of the poems of these two great poets seem very similar, in fact they reflect very different persepctives.
_________. Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi’s Pilgrimage. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Zinberg, Israel. A History of Jewish Literature. Vol 1, The Arabic-Spanish Period. Translated and edited by Bernard Martin. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1972. See pp 83-103.
Abrahamson, S.R., ed. Shmuel Hanagid: Ben Kohelet. Tel Aviv. 1953,
_________________. Shmuel Hanagid: Ben Mishlei. Tel Aviv. 1949,
Habermann, A.M., ed. Rabbi Shmuel Hanagid: Divan. Tel Aviv, 1947.
Jarden, D., ed. Samuel Hagagid. Vols 1-3. Jerusalem: 1966-1983.
Sassoon, David Solomon, ed. Diwan of Shemuel Hannaghid. Oxford University Press. London: Humphrey Milford. Available at http://www.hebrewbooks.org/9415
Cole, Peter, trans. Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. English translations, an introduction, and copious notes. One of the first contemporary collections of translations of the poems of a single medieval Hebrew poet that “looks like a book of poetry.”
Ashtor. Eliayhu. The Jews of Moslem Spain. Two vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973. See vol 2/3, ch 2, “Samuel the Nagid and His Son,” pp. 41-189.
Brann, Ross. “Andalusian Hebrew Poetry and the Hebrew Bible,” pp 47-58. In Ross Brann, The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain. London and Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
Halkin, Hillel. Grand Things to Write a Poem on: A Verse Autobiography of Shmuel Hanagid. Jerusalem: Gefen, 2000.
HaNagid, Shmuel. Selected Poems of Shmuel HaNagid. Translated by Peter Cole.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Ibn Nagrela, Samuel. Jewish Prince in Moslem Spain: Selected Poems of Samuel Ibn Nagrela. Translated by Leon J. Weinberger. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1973.
Levin, Israel. Samuel Hanagid: His Life and Poetry [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv, 1963.
Scheindlin, Raymond P. Wine, Women, and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986 (paperback: New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
Schirmann, Jefim. “Samuel HaNagid, the Man, the Soldier, the Politician.” Jewish Social Studies XIII:1 (January 1951), 99-126. (Available in online periodical databases accessible from many libraries.)
Zemazch, Eddy M. “Hanagid on God and Men.” Prooftexts 24 (2004), 87-98. The author argues that much of Hanagid’s work expresses not “theological hedonism,” as argued elsewhere by Dan Pagis, but “brave existential pessimism”: “Hanagid tells us to live it up, not because he knows that God wants it, but because he knows that we want it.”
۞Ibn Ezra, Abraham
Levin, Israel, ed. Shirei Haqadosh shel Avraham Ibn Ezra [Religious Poetry of Abraham Ibn Ezra] 2 vols. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1975-1982.
Ibn Ezra. Abraham. Twilight of a Golden Age: Selected Poems of Abraham Ibn Ezra. Translated by Leon J. Weinberger. Tuscaloosa and London: University of Alabama Press, 1997.
Levin, Israel. Abraham Ibn Ezra: His Life and Poetry [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv, 1970.
Zinberg, Israel. A History of Jewish Literature. Vol 1, The Arabic-Spanish Period. Translated and edited by Bernard Martin. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1972. See pp 153-162.
۞Ibn Ezra, Moses
Bernstein, Shimeon, ed. Moshe Ibn Ezra: Shirei Hahol [Moses Ibn Ezra: Secular Poems]. Tel Aviv: Masada, 1956-1957.
Bialik, Hayim Nahman, and Y.H. Ravnitzky, eds. Shirei Moshe ben Yakov Ibn Ezra [Poetry of Moses ben Yakov Ibn Ezra]. 2 vols. [vol 1 is secular; vol 2 is religious] Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1928. Available as documents 117-121 (.pdf) at http://www.teachittome.com/seforim2/seforim5.html.
Brody, H. ed. Moses Ibn Ezra: Shirei Hahol [Moses Ibn Ezra: Secular Poems]. Vol 1. Berlin, 1935. Vol 2, Jerusalem, 1942. Vol 3. Edited by Dan Pagis. Jerusalem: Schocken, 1978.
Ibn Ezra, Moseh. Antologia Poetica. Bilingual edition. Translated by Rosa Castillo. Madrid: Hiperion. Spanish-Hebrew.
Brody, Heinrich, ed., and Solomon Solis-Cohen, trans. Selected Poems of Moses Ibn Ezra. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1974. Bilingual. Out of print but available in libraries.
Brann, Ross. “The Regenerate Poet: Moses ibn Ezra.” In Ross Brann, The Compunctious Poet: Cultural Ambiguity and Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain. London and Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
Brody, H. “Moses Ibn Ezra: Incidents in His Life.” The Jewish Quarterly Review. New Ser. 24:4 (April 1934), 309-320. Examines the poet’s life via his poetry and other sources. Available via JSTOR, available online through libraries.
Dana, Joseph. “Meaningful Rhyme in the Hebrew Poetry of Spain (Selected Examples from the Sacred Poetry of Rabbi Moses Ibn Ezra).” The Jewish Quarterly Review. New Ser. 76:3 (January 1986), 169-189. Available via JSTOR, available online through libraries.
Pagis, Dan. Shirat Hahol veTorat Hashir leMoshe Eben Ezra U’Vene Doro [The Secular Poetry and Poetic Theory of Moshe Ibn Ezra]. Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1970.
Scheindlin, Raymond P. “Moses Ibn Ezra.” In The Literature of Al-Andalus. Edited by Maria Rosa Menocal, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Recommended.
Schramm, Gene M. “Moses Ibn Ezra’s ‘Graves’: The Analysis of a Short Poem.” Procedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research.” 30 (1962), 129-139. Perhaps of value to linguists. Available via JSTOR, available online through libraries.
Zinberg, Israel. A History of Jewish Literature. Vol 1, The Arabic-Spanish Period. Translated and edited by Bernard Martin. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1972. See pp 65-81.
۞Ibn Gabirol, Solomon
Bialik, Hayim Nahman, and Y.H. Ravnitzky, eds. Shirei Shlomo ben Yehudah Ibn Gabirol [Poems of Shlomo ben Yehuda Ibn Gabirol] 5 vols. Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1924-1932. Five volumes (titled Shirei Shlomo Ibn Gabirol) available as documents 117-121 (.pdf) at http://www.teachittome.com/seforim2/seforim5.html .
Brody, Hayim, Jefim Schirmann, and Israel Ben David, eds. Shlomo Ibn Gabirol: Shirei Hol. Jerusalem: Schocken Institute, 1975.
Schirmann, H., ed. Shlomo Ibn Gabirol: Shirim Nivharim. 4th ed. Jerusalem-Tel Aviv: Schocken, 1967.
Yarden, Dov., ed. Shirei Hakodesh leRabbi Sholmo Ibn Gabirol im Perush. 2 vols. Jerusalem: Dov Yarden, 1971-3.
_____________. Shirei Hahol leRabbi Shlomo Ibn Gabirol im Perush. 2 vols. Jerusalem: Dov Yarden, 1975-6.
Cole, Peter, trans. Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. English translations, an alphabetically organized introduction, and copious notes. Another collection of recent translations that looks and feels like a poetry book.
Davidson, Israel, ed., and Israel Zangwill, trans. Selected Religious Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1974. Bilingual. Out of print but available in libraries.
Scholarship and Biography
Cole, Peter, trans. Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Davidson, Israel, ed., and Israel Zangwill, trans. Selected Religious Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1974.
Goldberg, Isaac. Solomon Ibn Gabirol: A Bibliography. Word Works Books, 1998.
Lewis, Bernard, trans. The Kingly Crown by Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.
Loewe, Raphael. Ibn Gabirol. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.
__________________. “Ibn Gabirol’s Treatment of Sources in the Kether Malhuth.” In Studies in Jewish Religious and Intellectual History Presented to Alexander Altmann on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday. Edited by Rafael Loewe and Siegried Stein. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1979.
Scheindlin, Raymond P. “Contrasting Religious Experience in the Liturgical Poems of Ibn Gabirol and Judah Halevi.” Prooftexts 13 (1993): 141-162. A careful examination that concludes that although some of the poems of these two great poets seem very similar, in fact they reflect very different persepctives.
__________________. “Ibn Gabirol’s Religious Poetry and Sufi Poetry.” Prooftexts 13, 2 (1993): 141-162.
__________________. The Gazelle: Medieval Hebrew Poems on God, Israel, and the Soul. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991 (paperback: New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). In print.
__________________. “Poet and Patron: Ibn Gabirol’s Poem of the Place and Its Gardens.” Prooftexts 16 (1996) 31-47.
__________________. Wine, Women, and Death: Medieval Hebrew Poems on the Good Life. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1986 (paperback: New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). In print.
Silver, Warren A. The Green Rose. New York: The Dial Press, 1997. A historical novel about Solomon ibn Gabirol.
Zinberg, Israel. A History of Jewish Literature. Vol 1, The Arabic-Spanish Period. Translated and edited by Bernard Martin. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1972.
۞Ibn Khalfun, Isaac
Brener, Ann. Isaac Ibn Khalfun. Leiden: Brill Styx, 2003. Includes poems.
۞Labrat, Dunash ben
Kovetz Shirei R’Dunash ben Labrat. Warsaw, 1894. Available as document 98 (.pdf) at http://www.teachittome.com/seforim2/seforim/kovetz_shirei_r_dunash_ben_labrat.pdf. In the future I hope to add translations of poems by this poet to the web site.
*Carmi, T. The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse. New York: Penguin, 1981. Outstanding bilingual anthology of Jewish poetry, with excellent selections of medieval Hebrew poetry. The translations are in prose. Also includes sophisticated introduction, essay on versification, bibliography, and biographical notes. In print and widely available in libraries.
*Cole, Peter. The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain 950-1492. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007. A vast recent collection of English translations by Cole, who is a poet and scholar. Includes an introduction and extensive notes. This is the most extensive collection of its kind ever published. Highly recommended.
*Cole, Peter, trans and annotator. The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition. Co-edited and with an afterword by Aminadav Dykman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.
Davis, Nina. Songs of Exile. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1901. The later collection (see Halevi, Jehudah, Selected Poems of Jehudah Halevi, below) by the future Nina Salaman includes somewhat different versions of these translations. Out of print and not widely available in libraries.
Fleg, Edmond. The Jewish Anthology. Translated by Maurice Samuel. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1925. (Later editions published by Behrman’s Jewish Book House in 1933 and 1940.) Has a selection of religious poems. Out of print.
Glatzer, Nahum M. Language of Faith. New York: Schocken Books, 1974/75. Translations of liturgical poems and prayers.
Goldstein, David. Hebrew Poems from Spain. New York: Schocken Books, 1965. A respectable selection of English translations of poems by thirteen poets, including HaNagid, Halevi, ibn Gabirol, the two ibn Ezras, and other poets, with a brief introduction, notes, and biographical sketches. Out of print.
Gross, David C., ed. Love Poems from the Hebrew. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976. Contains older translations by J. Chotzner, Alice Lucas, Israel Abrahams, Emma Lazarus, and Amy Levy not found in some of the other anthologies. Note, however, that the “Three Love Poems” attributed to Halevi/Lazarus do not appear in Lazarus’ vol. 2 of her collected poems, as the acknowledgements state. Out of print but available in libraries.
Hazlper, B(enzion). Post-Biblical Hebrew Literature: An Anthology. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1921/1943. Vol 1 contains Hebrew poems; vol 2, English translations. Out of print but available in libraries.
Kravitz, Nathan. 3000 Years of Hebrew Literature: From the Earliest Times Through the 20th Century. Ohio: Swallow, 1972. Out of print.
Lazarus, Emma. Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems and Other Writings. Edited by Gregory Eiselein. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadway Press, 2002. Contains most of her translations of medieval Hebrew poetry. In print. (The original, 1888 edition of her poems is out of print.)
Leviant, Curt. Masterpieces of Hebrew Literature: A Treasury of 2000 Years of Jewish Creativity. New York: Ktav, 1969. Includes a selection of poems by HaNagid, ibn Gabirol, Moses ibn Ezra, and Halevi. Except for David Goldstein’s translations of HaNagid, the translations were done between 1859 and 1934. Out of print but available in libraries.
Mezey, Robert, ed. Poems from the Hebrew. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1973. See the section “The Poets of Moorish Spain,” pp 57-67, for a selection of translations by Mezey and by David Goldstein (taken from the latter’s anthology). Out of print but available in libraries.
Millgram, Abraham. An Anthology of Medieval Hebrew Literature. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1961. The first section of the book includes older translations of poems. Out of print but widely available in libraries.
Moreen, Vera Basch, trans. In Queen Esther’s Garden: An Anthology of Judeo-Persian Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. In print.
Nemoy, Leon, ed. Karaite Anthology: Excerpts from the Early Literature. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1952, 1980. For poets and poetry, see sections on Salmon ben Jeroham (pp 69-82), Moses ben Abraham Dar’i (pp 133-146), and Moses ben Samuel of Damascus (pp 147-169).
*Rothenberg, Jerome, Harris Lenowitz, and Charles Doria. A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to Present. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978. Interesting, eclectic anthology containing some medieval Hebrew poetry translated by contemporary or modern poets Rothenberg, Lenowitz, George Economu, Charles Reznikoff, and Robert Mezey. Out of print.
*Rothenberg, Jerome, and Harris Lenowitz, eds. Exiled in the Word: Poems & Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1989. Shorter, revised version of the above.
Salaman, Nina. Apples and Honey: A Gift-Book for Jewish Boys and Girls. Various Publishers, including Behrman and Doubleday, 1922-1927. Out of print but available in some libraries. Contains some translations of poetry but nothing not found in other books from this period.
*Schirmann, Hayim (Jefim), ed. HaShirah HaIvrit B’Sepharad U’Provence [Hebrew Poems from Spain and Provence]. 1st ed. 2 vols. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Mossad Bialik and Dvir, 1954, 1959. 2nd ed. 4 vols. 1960-1. Classic Hebrew anthology.
*Schirmann, Hayim (Jefim), ed. Shirim Hadashim Min HaGenizah [New Hebrew Poems from the Genizah]. Jerusalem: Publications of the Israel Acaemy of Sciences and Humanities, 1965. Classic Hebrew anthology.
(General books and articles are listed here; books and articles on individual poets are listed above)
Abrahams, Israel. Chapters on Jewish Literature. 1899. See chapters 11 and 12 on the Spanish-Jewish poets (http://www.authorama.com/chapters-on-jewish-literature-10.html and http://www.authorama.com/chapters-on-jewish-literature-12.html), and 18 on Italian-Jewish poetry (http://www.authorama.com/chapters-on-jewish-literature-18.html).
Alvarez, Ana Maria Lopez, Ricardo Izquierdo Benito, and Santiago Palomero Plaza. A Guide to Jewish Toledo. Toledo, Spain: Codex Ediciones, 1990. ISBN 84-7788-113-8
*Ashtor. Eliayhu. The Jews of Moslem Spain. Two vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973. See in particular vol 1, ch 6, “The Efflorescence of Jewish Culture,” pp 228-263; and vol 2/3, ch 2, “Samuel the Nagid and His Son,” pp. 41-189. Note lengthy section on HaNagid.
Baer, Yitzchak. History of the Jews in Christian Spain. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1960, 1966. See vol 1, pp. 60-64 on Moses Ibn Ezra, pp 67-76 on Yehuda Halevi, and pp 237-240 on Todros Abulafia; vol 2, pp 134-137, on Solomon de Piera.
*Baron, Salo Wittmayer. A Social and Religious History of the Jews. Vol VII, Hebrew Language and Letters. New York: Columbia University Press; Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1958. See Chapter XXXI “Worship: Unity Amidst Diversity” (in particular the section on liturgical poetry, pp 89-105) and Chapter XXXII “Poetry and Belles-Lettres (pp 135-213).
Brann, Ross. “Hebrew Literary Culture in Spain (al-Andalus) in the Age of the Geniza.” In The Solomon Goldman Lectures. Vol VIII, edited by Dean Phillip Bell and Hal M. Lewis. Chicago: Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies Press, 2003. Good overview.
Dimitrovsky, Chaim Z. “Zion in Medieval Literature: I. Poetry.” In Zion in Jewish Literature, edited by Abraham S. Halkin. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1988. An essay that may interest readers of Jehudah Halevi’s poems on Zion.
*Elbogen, Ismar. Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History. Translated by Raymond P Scheindlin. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993. Classic book on liturgy, containing a fair amount of information on liturgical poetry. Accessible to the reader at least somewhat familiar with the liturgy.
Goitein, S.D. Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages. Rev. ed. New York: Schocken Books, 1974. See “The Acme of Jewish-Arab Synthesis: The Hebrew Poetry of the Middle Ages” in ch 7, pp 155-167. Short, accessible overview.
*Goitein, S.D. A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza. Vol V, The Individual: Portrait of a Mediterranean Personality of the High Middle Ages as Reflected in the Cairo Geniza. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. See section on Judah Halevi, pp 448-468. Other poets and their poetry are discussed in briefer sections in this and some of the other volumes.
Habermann, A.M. “The Beginning of Hebrew Poetry in Italy and Northern Europe: 2: Northern Europe and France,” ch XI, pp 267-27. In The World History of the Jewish People. Vol 11, The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe 711-1096 (2nd series: Medieval Period, vol 2, The Dark Ages). Edited by Cecil Roth. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1966.
Halkin, Abraham S. “Judeo-Arabic Literature.” In Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People. Edited by Leo W. Schwartz. New York: Modern Library, 1956.
Halkin, Abraham S., ed. Zion in Jewish Literature. New York: Herzl Press, 1961.
Hoffman, Adina, and Peter Cole. Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Genizah. New York: Schocken Books, 2011. The Cairo genizah was a storage space in the old synagogue of Cairo in which were found several hundred thousand documents, including poems by many medieval Jewish poets.
*Jewish Spain. Spain: Turespana. Nice little free booklet published by the Spanish National Tourist Office. See www.redjuderias.org. for ordering information (be patient as you navigate the site) and other information on Jewish Spain.
Kayser, Rudolf. The Life and Times of Jehudah Halevi. New York: The Philosophical Library, 1949. Dated and not scholarly but readably covers the basics.
Magnus, Lady Katie. Jewish Portraits. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press, 1972 (rpt. edition of work published in 1888 and reprinted in 1925). Has a chapter on Yehudah Halevi.
*Menocal, Maria Rosa, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells. The Literature of Al-Andalus. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Includes many unique perspectives on the subject. Specific chapters cover Yehuda Halevi, Moses Ibn Ezra, and Abraham Ibn Ezra.
Musica y Poesia del Sur de al-Andalus [Music and Poetry from the South of al-Andalus]. Reales Alcazeres de Seville, 5 April to 15 July 1995. Exhibition catalogue. In English, Spanish, and French. ISBN 84-89016-11-9.
Rosen, Tova. “The Muwashshah.” In The Literature of Al-Andalus. Edited by Maria Rosa Menocal, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. A good if somewhat challenging piece on one of the key poetic forms in medieval Hebrew (and Arabic) poetry.
*Sachar, Howard M. Farewell España: The World of the Sephardim Remembered. New York: Random House, 1994. See in particular Chapter 1.
*Scheindlin, Raymond P. “Medieval Hebrew Literature.” In From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature.” Edited by Burton L. Visotzky and David E. Fishman. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999. The best recent print overview of the subject.
*__________________. “Merchants and Intellectuals, Rabbis and Poets.” In Cultures of the Jews: A New History. Edited by David Biale. New York: Schocken Books, 2002. Excellent, lengthy overview of intellectual life and its sociocultural milieu in medieval Spain and the Near East.
Schirmann, J. “The Beginning of Hebrew Poetry in Italy and Northern Europe: 1: Italy,” ch XI, pp 249-266. In The World History of the Jewish People. Vol 11, The Dark Ages: Jews in Christian Europe 711-1096 (2nd series: Medieval Period, vol 2, The Dark Ages). Edited by Cecil Roth. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1966. Section by towering figure in study of medieval Hebrew poetry.
Spiegel, Shalom. “On Medieval Hebrew Poetry.” In The Jews: Their History, Culture, and Religion. Vol 2. Edited by Louis Finkelstein. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1949. [Rptd in The Jewish Expression. Edited by Judah Goldin, pp 174-216 (New York: Bantam Books, 1970).]
Stillman, Norman A. The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1979.
*Waxman, Meyer. A History of Jewish Literature. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1960. See vols. 1 and 2. Lengthy chapters in both volumes on medieval Hebrew poetry, plus a separate section on Abraham ibn Ezra.
Zinberg, Israel. A History of Jewish Literature. Vol 1, The Arabic-Spanish Period. Translated and edited by Bernard Martin. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve University, 1972. Also see vols 2 (Case Western Reserve University, 1972) and 5 (Hebrew Union College, 1974).
Benjamin, Anne Myra Goodman. Decadence in Thirteenth Century Provencal and Hebrew Poetry. Ann Arbor: M.A.R.C. Publishing, 1987.
Borras, Judit Targarona, and Angel Saenz-Badillo, eds. Poesia Hebres en Al-Andalus. Granada: Universidad de Granada, 2003.
Brann, Ross, and Adam Sutcliffe, eds. Renewing the Past, Reconfiguring Jewish Culture: From al-Andalus to the Haskalah. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
Davidson, Israel. Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry. New York: Ktav, 1970. 4 vols. Valuable introductory material describing nature of this important work, a brief history of scholarship in the field, and mind-boggling catalogue just of over 35,000 published medieval Hebrew poems. Primarily in Hebrew, though.
Decter, Jonathan P. Iberian Jewish Literature: Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.
Dishith, Judith. “Images of Women in Medieval Hebrew Literature.” In Women of the Word: Jewish Women and Jewish Writing. Edited by Judith R. Baskin. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1994.
Einbinder, Susan L. Beautiful Death: Jewish Poetry and Martyrdom in Medieval France. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.
Elinson, Alexander E. Looking Back at al-Andalus : The Poetics of Loss and Nostalgia in Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Literature. Leiden and Boston, Brill, 2009.
Fleischer, Ezra. Shirat Hakodesh HaIvrit beYamei Benayyim [Hebrew Liturgical Poetry in the Middle Ages]. Jerusalem: Keter, 1975.
Guetta, Alessandro, and Masha Itzhaki, eds. Studies in Medieval Jewish Poetry: A Message Upon the Garden. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008.
Hamilton, Michelle M., Sarah J. Portnoy, and David A. Wacks, eds. Wine, Women and Song: Hebrew and Arabic Literature of Medieval Iberia. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2004. See chapters by Portnoy and by Hamilton.
Hollender, Elisabeth. Clavis Commentariorum of Hebrew Liturgical Poetry in Manuscript. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Index of commentaries on liturgical poetry.
Hollender, Elisabeth. Piyyut Commentary in Medieval Ashkenaz: Berlin and New York: Waler de Gruyter, 2008.
Idelsohn, A.Z. Jewish Liturgy and Its Development. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1995. (Reprint edition.)
Kozody, James. “Reading Medieval Hebrew Love Poetry.” AJS Review 2 (1977).
Lange, Nicholas de. Hebrew Scholarship and the Medieval World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. See in particular chapters 9-12.
Loewe, Raphael. Shirim ve-Targume Shirim: Hebrew Poems and Translations. Israel: Haberman Institute, 2010.
Loewe, Rafael J. “The Bible in Medieval Hebrew Poetry.” In Interpreting the Hebrew Bible: Essays in Honor of E.I.J. Rosenthal. Edited by J.A. Emerton and Stefan C. Reif. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Newmeyer, Stephen T. “Climate as Science and Metaphor in the Writings of Jehuda Halevi.” In Climate and Literature: Reflections of Environment. Edited by Janet Perez and Wendell Aycock. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press, 1995. Unusual slant; useful for its summary of some basic ideas.
Pagis, Dan. Hidush uMasoret beShirat Hahol [Change and Tradition in Secular Hebrew Poetry: Spain and Italy]. Jerusalem: Keter, 1976.
Pessin, Sarah. Ibn Gabirol’s Theology of Desire: Matter and Method in Jewish Medieval Neoplatonism. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Rosen, Tova, and Eli Yassif. “The Study of Hebrew Literature of the Middle Ages: Major Trends and Goals.” In The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies. Edited by Martin Goodman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Excellent overview of development of, and present, scholarship in the field.
Roth, Norman. “Deal Gently with the Young Man: Love of Boys in Medieval Hebrew Poetry of Spain.” Speculum 57:1 (1982): 20-51. See Links section of the Web site for two poems from this article.
Saenz-Badillos, Angel. A History of the Hebrew Language. Translated by John Elwolde. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Specialized, with a lengthy chapter (7) on medieval Hebrew.
Saperstein, Marc, and Nancy E. Berg. “’Arab Chains’ and ‘the Good Things of Sepharad’: Aspects of Jewish Exile. AJS Review 26, 2 (2002) 301-326.
Schippers, Arie. Spanish Hebrew Poetry and the Arabic Literary Tradition: Arabic Themes in Hebrew Andalusian Poetry. Leiden: Brill, 1994. Mostly a thematic catalogue, as indicated, which has its uses, although different people might catalogue the poems differently.
Schirmann, J. “The Ephebe in Medieval Hebrew Poetry.” Sefarad 15 (1955): 55-68.
__________. History of Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain. [Hebrew]. 2 vols. Edited by Ezra Fleischer. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1995.
Sirat, Colette. Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Edited by Nicholas de Lange. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Stern, S.M. Hispano-Arabic Strophic Poetry: Studies. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. Technical book by important scholar.
Tanenbaum, Adena. The Contemplative Soul: Hebrew Poetry and Philosophy Theory in Medieval Spain. Leiden: Brill, 2002. Elegant, sophisticated book.
_________. “On Translating ‘Keter Malhut.’” Prooftexts 20, 3 (2000): 349-362.
Tobi, Yosef. Proximity and Distance: Medieval Hebrew Poetry and Arabic Poetry. Translated by Murray Rosovsky. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004.
_________. Proximity and Distance: Medieval Hebrew and Arabic Poetry. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Scholarly book with strong focus on poetics.
Weinberger, Leon J. Jewish Hymnography: A Literary History. London and Portland: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1998. Valuable especially for the reader unable to read scholarly Hebrew works.
Yellin, David. Torat Hashira Hasefaradit. Jerusalem, 1940; rpr. 1972.
Zwartes, Otto. Love Songs from al-Andalus: History, Structure, and Meaning of the Kharja. Leiden and New York: Brill, 1997.
Hollender, Elizabeth. www.rimon.de/shira.
Special List of Books in Medieval Hebrew Poetry and Liturgy. Davidson Library of Judaica. New York: City University of New York, 1948. https://archive.org/details/speciallist00city .
Every year scholars, students, and poetry lovers attend gatherings of individuals interested in medieval Hebrew poetry. These include conferences, conventions, meetings, classes, lectures, tours, readings, publication parties, and other such events. Some of these events are listed in the calendar below.
Conferences and Colloquia
Association for Jewish Studies
46th Annual Conference
December 14-16, 2014
Medieval Hebrew Poetry Colloquium under the auspices of the European Association for Jewish Studies, held every two or three years, with the most recent event held in Paris, France, in July 2014
The following colleges offer or have offered classes on medieval Hebrew poetry on a regular or occasional basis, list such courses in their catalogue, cover medieval Hebrew poetry in other classes, or have faculty members specializing in medieval Hebrew poetry or literature.
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Gratz College, Elkins, Park, PA, www.gratz.edu
Lists one class in the catalogue. Last class in medieval Hebrew poetry taught in Summer 2005.
Hebrew College, Boston, MA
www.hebrewcollege.edu, Lists one class in the catalogue.
Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, OH, www.huc.edu
Lists several classes in the catalogue.
Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, NY, www.jtsa.edu
Lists many classes in the catalogue and offers several each semester.
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
University of California, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
University of Texas, Austin, TX
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The Friedberg Genizah Project. http://www.genizah.org/TheCairoGenizah.aspx.
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit. http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit.