Amram Darah

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AMRAM DARAH (fourth century c.e.), Samaritan poet who wrote in Aramaic and whose poems form a central part of the Samaritan basic prayer book, the Defter, to this day. He is believed to be the priest (or high priest) Amram b. Sarad mentioned in the Samaritan chronicles of *Abu al-Fat and the New Chronicle. According to these sources, Bāba Rabbah appointed him, together with a layman, as head of the fourth district of the reorganized Samaritan province in the fourth century c.e. The Tolidah identified him with Tūta, the father of the famous poet Markah, which would make him one of the early revivers of the Samaritan liturgy in an age of political renaissance. His epithet, Darah, meaning the ancient one, differentiates him from later priests called Amram. Amram Darah's style is primitive, and his poems lack a standard number of lines and a fixed line length. Twenty-nine poems in the Defter are attributed to him, the greater part under the heading "Verses of Durran," i.e., verses by Darah or in the style of Darah. A smaller section bears the designation "Verses of Markah" because of their stylistic affinity to the poems of his son.


A.E. Cowley, Samaritan Liturgy, 1 (1909), 21, 27–29, 38–47, 62, 341; 2 (1909), 491, 670; Z. Ben-Ḥayyim, Ivrit ve-Aramit Nusaḥ Shomeron, 3, pt. 2 (1967), 12–15; idem, in: Eretz-Israel, 4 (1956), 119–27.

[Ayala Loewenstamm]