Yose ben Yose
YOSE BEN YOSE
YOSE BEN YOSE (fourth or fifth century c.e.?), the earliest liturgical poet known by name. *Saadiah mentions him as foremost among the famous poets of antiquity (Arabic introduction to the Iggaron, and Hebrew translation, ed. A. Harkavy, in Zikkaron la-Rishonim ve-Gam la-Aḥaronim, 5 (1891), 50f.). Of the many theories about him, the only one that appears tenable is that his native country was Palestine, as it has been established beyond doubt that the oldest piyyut was developed in that country. Even in the early Middle Ages, nothing was known of the period and the circumstances of his life. He is sometimes called ha-yatom ("the orphan") apparently because he bore the name of his father. Others called him "high priest" from which it would seem that he was believed to have lived in the times of the Temple, while others identify him with the amora Yose b. Yose. He probably flourished as early as the fifth or even the fourth century. Since these dates cannot be definitely determined, it is not certain whether he is to be regarded as the originator of the artistic piyyut or as reliant upon older models no longer extant. Despite his dependence on the picturesque style of the Midrash and occasional neologisms, Yose's language is distinguished by its purity and its lofty poetic diction. He is the only non-Spaniard whose verses Ibn *Janaḥ quotes in his dictionary as ideal models (Sefer ha-Shorashim (Berlin, 1893), 305, 419).
Large parts of his compositions have been preserved in the genizah, and have been published by M. Zulay and E. Fleischer. A. Mirsky has edited and annotated all his preserved liturgical poems (19772). Among the unpublished texts of the genizah are some which were apparently composed by Yose.
The following poetical compositions are attributed to Yose:
(2) At least three versions of the *Avodah, namely:
(a) Azkir Gevurot, for the Shaḥarit of the Day of Atonement (Rosenberg), M. Sachs, Koveẓ Ma'asei Yedei Ge'onim Kadmonim (Berlin, 1856), 1–9, 85–87; H. Brody-M. Wiener, Mivḥar ha-Shirah ha-Ivrit (1934), 26–36; A. Mirsky, Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 127ff.; with English translation: T. Carmi, The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse (1981), 209ff.; M.D. Swartz and J. Yahalom (eds.), Avodah: An Anthology of Ancient Poetry for Yom Kippur, 295ff.
(b) Attah Konanta ' Olam be-rov Ḥesed used in the old French ritual in the Middle Ages, later preserved in the ritual of *Apam, the text of which was published in Rosenberg's Koveẓii, 111–5 as well as in S.D. Luzzatto's Italian maḥzor (Leghorn, 1856); A. Mirsky, Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 178ff.; M.D. Swartz and J.Yahalom (eds.), Avodah: An Anthology of Ancient Poetry for Yom Kippur, 291ff.
(c) Asapper Gedulot, for the Minḥah prayer, extant only in a small Cairo Genizah fragment (published in I. Elbogen, Studien zur Geschichte des juedischen Gottesdienstes (1907), n. 8); A. Mirsky, Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 203ff.
(3) Omnam Ashamenu, a confessional prayer included in the German ritual, translated into German by L. Zunz (Zunz, Poesie, 163); A. Mirsky, Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 118ff.
(4) Yoẓer (perhaps), of which only the first line Or Olam Oẓar Ḥayyim remains; see A. Mirsky, Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 217ff.
(5) Two rhymed verses quoted by Ibn Janaḥ in Yose's name which belong, as M. Zulay has proved, to the rhymed rehitim for the Day of Atonement.
(6) Several compositions for the New Year: Ahalelah Elohai, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 93ff.
(7) Efḥad be-Ma'asai, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyutei Yose ben Yose, 101ff.
(8) Anusah le-Ezrah, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyutei Yose ben Yose, 109ff.
(9) Etten Tehillah, for Yom Kippur, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 173ff.
(10) The lamentation En Lanu Kohen Gadol traditionally attributed to him, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 210ff.
(11) The piyyut on the members of the body Eftaḥ Sefatai, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 218ff.
(12) Az le-Rosh Tattanu, ed. A. Mirsky, in: Piyyutei Yose ben Yose, 219ff.
And a few more doubtful piyyutim.
Zunz, in: wzjt, 2 (1836), 305–7; Zunz, Poesie, 81, 96, 122, 124, 130, 137; Zunz, Lit Poesie, 26–28, 643–5; Landshuth, Ammudei, 85–88; A. Harkavy, Zikkaron la-Rishonim ve-Gam la-Aḥaronim, 1:5 (1891), 105f.; I. Elbogen, Studien zur Geschichte des juedischen Gottesdienstes (1907), 74, 78–81, 118f.; Elbogen, Gottesdienst, 306–8, 550, 560; Bacher, in: jqr, 14 (1902), 742f.; W. Jawitz, in: Festschrift zum siebzigsten Geburtstag David Hoffmanns (1914), 74–82; Simchoni, in: Ha-Tekufah, 12 (1924), 179f.; Davidson, Oẓar, 4 (1933), 398; J. Kenaani, Millon Konkordanẓyoni li-Leshon ha-Piyyutim (1931), includes a list of Yose b. Yose's piyyutim on p. xii; Zulay, in: ymḤsi, 6 (1945), 235f.; Roth, in: jbl (1952), 171–8; Schirmann, in: jqr, 44 (1953/54), 142–4; A. Mirsky, Yalkut ha-Piyyutim (1958), 1–11; Ligier, in: Nouvelle Revue Théologique, 72 (1960), 40–45; A. Mirsky, Reshit ha-Piyyut (1965); E. Fleischer, in: Koveẓ al Yad, 7 (1968), 1–79. add. bibliography: Hebrew Liturgical Poetry in the Middle Ages (1975), 93ff., passim; idem, in: Ha-Yoẓerot (1984), 19ff.; W. Horbury, in: Suffering and Martyrdom in the New Testament (1981), 143–82; A. Mirsky (ed.), Piyyutei Yose ben Yose (19912); J. Yahalom, Poetry and Society in Jewish Galilee of Late Antiquity (Heb., 1999); M.D. Swartz and J. Yahalom (eds.), Avodah: An Anthology of Ancient Poetry for Yom Kippur (2004).
[Jefim (Hayyim) Schirmann /
Angel Sáenz-Badillos (2nd ed.)]