Biblical Prose Prayer: As a Window to the Popular Religion by Moshe Greenberg

By Moshe Greenberg

The Psalms are the simplest recognized and most generally used prayer texts of the Bible. however the prayers of the Israelite took one other shape: the prose prayers that we discover embedded in biblical narrative. Prose prayer used to be spoken through individuals of all ranks. female and male, Israelite and foreigner, all loved equivalent entry to God. The pervasiveness and spontaneity of this prayer, self sufficient because it used to be of the constitution and taboos of formal worship, became it right into a criterion for sincerity either in relatives with God and in these between human beings.Greenberg reveals during this wealthy lifetime of deepest prayer a environment for the excessive non secular ideas--and the scathing critique of worship--that characterised the "genius" of the prophets of the 8th and 9th centuries B.C. His compact and masterful examine, initially the 1981-1982 Taubman Lectures at Berkeley, indicates a proof for the extraordinary democratization of worship in post-biblical Judaism.

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Sample text

A solution to this hard question may develop as we pursue our main topic: the analogy between social language and the language of prayer. Page 33 How do the characters in the Bible express gratitude among themselves? ).  A is gratified by this particularized appreciation, over and above the less tangible good wish to which it is attached; B on his part is content to have made a return to A that pleases him.  Put bluntly: of man it can be said, baruk X leYHWH, "Blessed be X before YHWH"; but when we say baruk YHWH, ["before" whom] is YHWH blessed?

Put bluntly: of man it can be said, baruk X leYHWH, "Blessed be X before YHWH"; but when we say baruk YHWH, ["before" whom] is YHWH blessed?  2:20 [Aramaic]).  Such a procedure accords perfectly with the personal conception of God in the Scriptures; the only analogy available for intercourse with him was the human­personal.  To be sure, we must reckon with literary shaping of speech in both cases; but having made such allowance, the simplicity and manifest functionality of the patterns of speech and prayer encourage belief that in the embedded prayers we have as faithful a correspondence as we might wish to the form and practice of everyday, nonprofessional, extemporized verbal worship in ancient Israel.

Page 33 How do the characters in the Bible express gratitude among themselves? ).  A is gratified by this particularized appreciation, over and above the less tangible good wish to which it is attached; B on his part is content to have made a return to A that pleases him.  Put bluntly: of man it can be said, baruk X leYHWH, "Blessed be X before YHWH"; but when we say baruk YHWH, ["before" whom] is YHWH blessed?  2:20 [Aramaic]).  Such a procedure accords perfectly with the personal conception of God in the Scriptures; the only analogy available for intercourse with him was the human­personal.

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