The Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi's Pilgrimage

By Raymond P. Scheindlin | Go to book overview

Preface

My theme is poetry; specifically, the poetry of Abū l-Hasan Ibn al-Lawī, generally known as Judah Halevi, the best-known and most admired Hebrew poet of the Judeo-Arabic age. This book is an attempt to create a complex picture of Halevi’s poetic imagination and religious spirit by examining his poems both as independent literary artifacts and as products of the cultures and the literary traditions that nourished him.

The discussion is so organized as to build toward the poems that Halevi wrote in connection with his famous pilgrimage, undertaken toward the end of his life—poems that, like the act itself, bring to focus a wide range of religious ideas and literary motifs that had engaged the poet since the beginning of his writing career. These eighteen poems are presented in part III in Hebrew, accompanied by new literary translations and a few pages of explanation and discussion for each. By way of preparation for the pilgrimage poems, twelve poems are presented and given similar full treatment in part I, making a total of thirty key poems. They are numbered consecutively from the beginning of the book to the end; they are referred to elsewhere in the book by their opening words in translation and their number. Between the preparatory poems of part I and the pilgrimage poems of part III comes a detailed narrative of Halevi’s pilgrimage in part II. The narrative is built out of a group of letters written in Arabic, presented here only in translation.

-vii-

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The Song of the Distant Dove: Judah Halevi's Pilgrimage
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 3
  • Part I- A Portrait of the Pilgrim 9
  • 1- Halevi’s Religious Development 11
  • 2- The National Problem 53
  • 3- The Visionary 70
  • Part II- The Pilgrimage 95
  • 4- Alexandria 97
  • 5- Cairo 119
  • 6- Alexandria Again 141
  • Part III- The Pilgrim Speaks 153
  • 7- An Epistle 155
  • 8- In Imagination 163
  • 9- Argumentation 182
  • 10- The Voyage 215
  • Epilogue 249
  • Notes 253
  • Poem Sources 285
  • Bibliography 291
  • Index of Poems 299
  • Index of Names and Subjects 303
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