Lowly to lofty: The Hodayot's use of liturgical traditions to shape sectarian identity and religious experience

Esther G. Chazon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Hodayot's signature feature is the hymnist's thanksgiving for his election by divine grace and elevation from a base, sinful spirit to a state of purification, heavenly knowledge, and common lot with the angels. The present paper shows how, in creating this feature, the hodayot adapt and juxtapose two divergent liturgical traditions - those of penitential prayer (Part 1) and of praying with the angels (Part 2). The final part of the paper (Part 3) demonstrates that the same strategy is adopted at the editorial level of the 1QHa and 4QHb manuscripts. These manuscripts build to a numinous climax by increasing the intensity of joint human-angelic praise toward their conclusion, capped by the penultimate Self-Glorification Hymn. At the same time, they keep the penitential motifs and the election/human baseness dialectic in view to the end. Hence, the liturgical traditions of penitential prayer and praying with the angels are used, at the editorial as well as the compositional stages, to magnify the sense of privileged elevation from a base, sinful state to the sublime state of communion with the angels in singing God's praise together.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2-19
Number of pages18
JournalRevue de Qumran
Volume26
Issue number101
StatePublished - Jun 2013

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