Judaism and Hebrew Prayer: New Perspectives on Jewish Liturgical History

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Are the origins of the synagogue to be sought in a reaction to the centralisation 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? Did Christianity and Islam have something to do with the emergence of the first Jewish prayer codices? What was the fate of the early mediaeval Palestinian rite and how did its Babylonian equivalent come to dominate the text of the early siddur? ...
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Overview

Are the origins of the synagogue to be sought in a reaction to the centralisation 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? Did Christianity and Islam have something to do with the emergence of the first Jewish prayer codices? What was the fate of the early mediaeval Palestinian rite and how did its Babylonian equivalent come to dominate the text of the early siddur? How much cross-fertilisation was there between statutory prayer, mysticism and poetry in the prayer-books of Ashkenazi and Sefardi circles? Can one identify in today's Hebrew prayers the influence of the massive demographical changes in the distribution of the Jewish people and of the establishment of the State of Israel? In an attempt to answer these tantalising questions, Stefan C. Reif takes the reader on an intriguing journey through periods about three thousand years apart and into locations as distant from each other in every sense as Sura in Mesopotamia and Cincinnati, Ohio. In this first attempt for almost three-quarters of a century to provide a scientific overview of Jewish liturgical history, the latest scholarship and the most original sources are carefully identified and utilised. The result is a book that will prove attractive both to scholarly and to lay opinion, and will exchange the narrow and tendentious scholasticism of nineteenth-century Jewish liturgical research for a broader approach to the history of such religious phenomena which is appropriate for modern readers.
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Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
Anyone interested in Jewish liturgy and its development will profit from this book.
From the Publisher
"Judaism and Hebrew Prayer is sure to be the standard text on the subject for years to come..." Hebrew Studies

"...Dr. Reif's book is a contribution that can help cure the affliction of ignorance of our precious and sustaining liturgy on all levels." Jewish Book World

"This will remain for many years the definitive guide to Jewish liturgical development....indispensable to scholars, it is highly recommended to anyone with a serious interest in Jewish or Christian liturgy." Theological Book Review

"A major contribution to the study of Jewish liturgy....a work of impressive breadth and erudition....An indispensable resource for all interested in the history of Jewish prayer, this study belongs in any library concerned with Judaic studies or the history of religions." Michael D. Swartz, Religious Studies Review

"Combining a history of Jewish worship and liturgical rights with an authoritative, fully documented account of the various trends in liturgical scholarship, Judaism and Hebrew Prayer is the first original work of its size and scope in the English language." Gabriel Sivan, The Jerusalem Post Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521440875
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/1993
  • Pages: 451
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1 On Jewish liturgical research 1
2 The biblical inspiration 22
3 The early liturgy of the synagogue 53
4 Some liturgical issues in the talmudic sources 88
5 How the first Jewish prayer-book evolved 122
6 Authorities, rites and texts in the Middle Ages 153
7 From printed prayers to the spread of pietistic ones 207
8 The challenge of the modern world 256
9 A background to current developments 294
Notes 332
Select Bibliography 411
Index of sources 422
Index of prayers and rituals 428
Index of names 430
Index of subjects and rites 434
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