According to most scholars Perek Shirah is an anonymous work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels.
According to Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol XV, p. 760:
- Perek Shirah has been preserved in more than 100 manuscripts, 20 of them copied in
the Middle Ages, including geniza fragments, the earliest dating from
about the tenth century.
- It is first mentioned in a polemical work of *Salmon b.
Jeroham, a Jerusalem Karaite of the first half of the tenth century
- The first printed edition, with a commentary by Moses b. Joseph de
Trani (printed as an appendix to his Beit Elohim; Venice, 1576), was followed by dozens of corrupt
editions, generally accompanied by commentaries.
On the date of composition:
Notice that the records mention copied manuscripts of the tenth century, not date of its composition. According to Malachi Beit Arié, Professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who prepared a critical edition of the text ( פרק שירה: מבואות ומהדורה ביקורתית, עבודת דוקטור ,1966) Perek Shira constitutes one of the earliest compositions
belonging to the early heikhalot literature. Although
strictly speaking a liturgical work and not a midrash, it preserves many tannaitic midrashic ideas and texts and
may have been edited into its current form as early as the end of
the tannaitic period.
Dr. Shulamit Laderman, from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, also agrees when she says:
The prayer’s midrashic framework and its inclusion of biblical verses
confirm its early origins. For example, the Song of the Trees
mentioned in 1 Chronicles 16:33 and in Psalm 96:12, which appears in
the third chapter of Perek Shirah is also quoted in the apocalyptic
vision of God’s Throne, ma’aseh merkavah, described in both the
Palestinian and the Babylonian Talmud, which seem to allude to a link
between Perek Shirah and early mystical apocalyptic literature. Laderman, Shulamit: Images
of Cosmology in Jewish and Byzantine Art: God’s Blueprint of Creation,
Also supporting an older origin, J. M. Baumgarten argues that its author knew Psalm 151 which was not knows to scholars in hebrew until the discovery of the DSS. See Perek Shirah, An Early Response to Psalm 151” Revue de Qumran 9 (1978).