Saturday, October 4, 2008

Judaism and Hebrew Prayer - Stefan Reif

This book has been in my library - a present from my son-in-law - for some years. I got stuck the first time through - now it is time to take it up again from the beginning, to see what we know or not.

Are the origins of the synagogue to be sought in a reaction to the centralization of worship in Judaism, or in a wider context? When did prayer become central to Jews and how are the conflicts and tensions of the Talmudic period reflected in the history of its liturgy?
These are two questions that professor Reif addresses.

How, in this context, did we learn to pray? Several times in the last two weeks, I have noted posts on the Lord's Prayer. Where does this prayer come from and how do we approach, appropriate, or pray or not such a prayer?

Jeffrey Gibson of Cross-talk particularly intends, if I read him correctly, to question the traditional rationale of the origin of the Lord's Prayer - so in obedience to the call to discipline my reading, I intend to read Reif and post what I find in his inferences about the origins of Hebrew Prayer.

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