What is the source of Perek Shira. That is; when was it composed, and by whom?

According to Wikipedia it is mentioned as early as the tenth century. is there any evidence that it is older than this.

(Note I am not looking for unsubstantiated claims, but rather, rigorous assertions based on evidence such as earliest references, literary analysis, etc.)

  • Surmisal - While not specifically Perek Shira as we currently have it, perhaps the concept came from King Solomon? See I Kings 5:13.
    – DanF
    Jun 7 '16 at 17:52
  • Commentless downvoter?
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 7 '16 at 23:29
  • I didn't downvote. But, I'm curious as to why I got notified on @mevaqesh's comment if he didn't include my name, and I'm not the OP.
    – DanF
    Jun 8 '16 at 13:45
  • @DanF when the OP comments on a post with only one other commenter the system assumes he/she is replying to the original comment and notifies that person.
    – Daniel
    Aug 16 '16 at 2:01
  • I had heard that David HaMelech composed it, though I don't have a source.
    – DonielF
    Aug 16 '16 at 20:42

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, p. 83.

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).

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