ALVAN BEN ABRAHAM (10th–11th century), rhetorician, poet, and paytan who lived in Syria. His piyyutim and poems were collected in a divan of which only a few pages were found in the Cairo Genizah. Evidently Alvan was also a ḥazzan: various piyyutim from the Genizah which bear the signature "Alvan Ḥazzan" may be his. Several of his nonreligious poems are in the form of letters written to patrons in various cities in Syria. These letters express the author's longing and respect for those to whom they are addressed. The language of the poem is generally marked by simplicity, but occasionally the poet incorporates ancient paytanic expression, as was customary among the poets of the time. The name Alvan is biblical (Gen. 36:23) and was used exclusively in Syria. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Davidson, in: JQR, 2 (1911), 221–39; Ḥ. Schirmann, Shirim Ḥadashim min ha-Genizah (1966), 53–57. (Abraham Meir Habermann)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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