Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Van der Horst on the Greek Synagogal Prayers

THE BIBLE AND INTERPRETATION: The Bible and Ancient Philosophy in Greek Synagogal Prayers

The most fascinating aspect of these prayers, however, is that they testify to the existence of a vibrant Graeco-Jewish culture in the centuries after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Although we cannot strictly prove that the philosophical elements were already present in the Jewish original (and were not from the hand of the Christian compiler), it is highly probable that these elements belonged to the Jewish Grundschrift. In that case we witness here a form of Jewish Hellenism, a culture that combines intense Jewish piety with openness towards Greek culture, especially its philosophical aspects.

See Also: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (Brill Academic Publishers; Lam edition, 2014).

By Pieter W. van der Horst
Professor emeritus
Utrecht University, The Netherlands
June 2015