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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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Prayer in the Vernacular

Prayer in the Vernacular

Chapter:
(p.260) 9 Prayer in the Vernacular
Source:
Introduction to Old Yiddish Literature
Author(s):

Jean Baumgarten

, Jerold C. Frakes
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276332.003.0009

Beginning in the sixteenth century, the problem of translating prayers into the vernacular was one of the important questions confronting Jewish society. The rabbinical authorities adopted an ambivalent attitude that illustrates the tensions that this issue inevitably caused. As for the Yiddish authors, they decided in favour of a partial vernacularization of the prayers. Meanwhile, the history of bilingual holiday prayer books (makhzourim) followed a development similar to that of the other liturgical works Considered as a whole, these liturgical texts demonstrate the modest inroads made by the vernacular into Jewish religious life and testify to a transformation among the ordinary faithful of their religious experience. These texts were part of a vast religious offensive intended to organize the Jewish masses more effectively and to spread the teaching of Jewish traditions.

Keywords:   prayer books, Jewish traditions, makhzourim, holiday prayers, liturgy, vernacular

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