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Gibson Re: Olson Re: [XTalk] LP and Kaddish

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... This appears to remain true. And, BTW, some search of the XTalk archives ... For an interesting twist on this, see below. ... There has been a great deal
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 2 5:11 PM
      At 11:58 AM 6/2/2006, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:

      >Bob Schacht wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > Las time I checked, the main problem was the lack of good early sources
      > > about what the Kaddish actually included at the time of Jesus. What sources
      > > do we actually have for the First Century Kaddish? . . .

      This appears to remain true. And, BTW, some search of the XTalk archives
      will reveal more on the Kaddish and Amidah. Jeffrey responded:

      >Here's what I wrote on the question of the relationship of the LP to the
      >Kaddish
      >(and some other Jewish prayers) in my article on the LP (and whether it
      >really is
      >an "eschatological" prayer) that was published in Biblical Theology
      >Bulletin 33
      >(Fall, 2001) 96-105. . . .

      I'd like to focus on one aspect of your essay:


      >******
      >
      >
      >4. The Jewish Matrix of the LP
      >My fourth reason for holding my view on the focus and concern of the LP is
      >grounded in the fact that the focus and concern of allegedly ancient Jewish
      >prayers that (it is claimed) form the thematic and theological matrix for
      >the LP
      >is "God's protection of the believing community from apostatizing."

      For an interesting twist on this, see below.


      >. . . There are, of course, formidable difficulties to this approach, the
      >most important
      >of them being not only our lack of knowledge of the earliest form and
      >wording of
      >the Amidah, the Kaddish, and the Evening Prayer, but also the question,
      >raised by
      >Billerbeck (1: 406-07) and others, and noted by Heineman (72-78) and Meier
      >(2:297,
      >299, 361-62 n. 36, 363 n. 44), of whether these prayers, whatever they
      >originally
      >said, are actually in any way contemporaneous with the LP.
      >
      >. . . The question then is: What is the focus and concern of these prayers?
      >
      >. . . once we take into account (a) the theological thrust of the liturgical
      >setting in which the Kaddish was typically said . . .

      There has been a great deal of speculation about this, often vulnerable to
      anachronism, IIRC.


      >. . . And the Kaddish, when recited liturgically, was apparently done so
      >only after, and
      >therefore within the context of thought provided by, the recitation of not
      >only
      >the Amidah, but, more importantly, also, and like the Evening prayer, of
      >the Shema.

      How certain is this?

      >So it would seem that if the LP is indeed somehow grounded in these
      >prayers and
      >derives its focus and concern from that which they possess, then the focus and
      >concern of the LP is not the future coming of God's Kingdom, but
      >preservation in
      >faithfulness and avoidance of apostasy, especially as this was exemplified
      >by the
      >Wilderness generation.

      I think it is important to remember that Jewish piety was undergoing
      significant evolutionary changes from the destruction of the Temple ca. 70
      C.E. to the establishment of Rabbinic Judaism and the synagogue as the
      primary center of Jewish religious life in Galilee up to and following the
      Bar Kokhba revolt (130 C.E.?) So it seems to me that the sitz im leben of
      the Kaddish is very much in question.

      For example, Anita Diamant in her book "Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the
      Dying, Bury the Dead, & Mourn as a Jew"
      (<http://www.myjewishlearning.com/redirect/redir.php?U=http://www.randomhouse.com/schocken/home.html>Schocken
      Books) wrote that
      (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycle/Death/Burial_Mourning/Kaddish/HistoryKaddish.htm)

      >Kaddish originated not in the synagogue but in the house of study (beit
      >midrash). After a scholar delivered a learned discourse, students and
      >teachers would rise to praise God's name. During the mourning period for a
      >rabbi or teacher, students would gather to study in his honor, and his son
      >was given the honor of leading the prayer. Over time, reciting Kaddish
      >replaced studying as the tribute given to a scholar. Eventually the custom
      >extended to all mourners--not only the survivors of rabbis and leaders. By
      >the sixth century, Kaddish was part of synagogue prayers, and during the
      >13th century, when the Crusades threatened the Jewish communities of
      >Europe, it became inextri­cably linked to loss and mourning.

      This sitz casts a rather interesting spin on the LP in context. Imagine the
      LP as a kind of "Amen" to Jesus' teaching? and then developing a special
      sense after his crucifixion, and then again after the ascension? (See the
      concluding verses of the long version of the LP). [Of course, for present
      purposes I'm using "the ascension" here as short hand for whatever may have
      formed the motivating event that came to be called the ascension.]

      Diamant is not writing about post-Rabbinic times here. In terms of dating,
      she wrote,

      >Beloved from its earliest days, parts of the Kaddish date from the first
      >century B.C.E. Written mostly in Aramaic--the spoken language of most Jews
      >from the fifth century B.C.E. until the fifth century C.E.--it was recited
      >not only by priests, but by common folk as well.
      >
      >The Lord's Prayer, or Pater Noster, is the Christian analog to the
      >Kaddish. Based on verses from the Gospel of Matthew (6:9-13), it was
      >written around the same time. Both prayers extol God's strength and ask
      >for the establishment of God's sovereignty on earth. The Kaddish and the
      >Lord's Prayer are also used in much the same ways: recited at most
      >services and at virtually all funerals, they bind their respective faith
      >communities with universally familiar words and rhythms.


      Bob Schacht
      University of Hawaii





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