Literature or Liturgy?

Early Christian Hymns & Prayers in their Literacy &
Liturgical Context in Antiquity

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. No. 363

Book Title

Edited by: Clemens Leonhard & Hermut Lohr
June 2014
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161532184
222 Pages
$137.50 Paper original


Information about Ancient Christianity is preserved in literary texts. These sources contain passages that became liturgical texts during their history of reception while the context or form of some of them could suggest their ritualized use in the churches of New Testament times. The essays in this volume elaborate on the question of how ancient pieces of liturgy might be found in the extant literature. It also asks how readers of these literary texts can avert the risk of anachronistic reconstructions of ancient liturgies. The topics of this collection range from Jewish Early Medieval poetry to Ancient Greek hymns. The papers discuss the physical appearance of prayer texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the performative aspects of texts as they are visible in the Old Testament Suspected Adulteress ritual, as well as prayer texts in the Psalms of Solomon and in the Acts of Thomas. All those lines of research in texts and methods intersect in the conceptual center of the volume: the question of liturgy in the literature of the New Testament which is also debated in detail.


Survey of contents:

Ralph Brucker: "Songs”, "Hymns”, and "Encomia” in the New Testament? - Naomi Janowitz: Water, Word, and Name: The Shifting Pragmatics of the Sotah/Suspected Adulteress Ritual - Daniel K. Falk:Material Aspects of Prayer Manuscripts at Qumran - Stefan Schreiber: Can Wisdom Be Prayer? Form and Function of the Psalms of Solomon - Michael Rand: Fundamentals of the Study of Piyyut - Didier Pralon: Les hymnes grecs païens de l’époque hellénistique et romaine - Hermut Löhr: What can we know about the Beginnings of Christian Hymnody? - Clemens Leonhard: Which Hymns were sung in Ancient Christian Liturgies? - Gerard Rouwhorst: Hymns and Prayers in the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas