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Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature$
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Jean Baumgarten and Jerold C. Frakes

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 April 2021

Terrestrial Suffering in a Topsy-Turvy World

Terrestrial Suffering in a Topsy-Turvy World

(p.328) 11 Terrestrial Suffering in a Topsy-Turvy World
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Oxford University Press

There are three topics that illustrate the relationship between Jewish texts and the lived history of the Jewish people. First, there are historical poems linked to the elegiac tradition of Hebrew poetry, preserving the memory of the daily misfortunes of the Jewish quarter. Second, there are books of medicine (sifrey refuous) that illustrate how receptive the Jews were to the cultural traditions of the societies in which they lived. Third, there is the period of the festival of Purim, serving as an antidote to the tears and suffering of Jewish life and signaling the triumph of laughter and transgression, as well as the creation of a utopian society. The Purim plays, which form the beginnings of modern Jewish theatre, illuminate the peculiarly Ashkenazic role of dream and play in the culture.

Keywords:   sifrey refuous, medical texts, Purim, historical poems, Purim

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