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The Reading of the Bible in the Ancient Synagogue

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses reading of the Hebrew Bible in ancient synagogues. It describes the main lectionary cycles, especially the Triennial Palestine Cycle (TC) without dwelling on the Annual Babylonian Cycle (AC) which is still used. The chapter explains more and more clearly that these cycles were not creations ex nihilo. But the amount of continuity that may be discovered in their formation should not obscure the gaps which mark their development. The Mishna wants the readings done from leather scrolls written in the Hebrew 'square script', not with the ancient Hebrew characters still known in the time of Bar Kokhba (died 135). The synagogue, meaning the Pharisee synagogue, only used selected passages taken from the Prophets. Then the prophetic text is read as an interpretation of the Tora, remaining itself outside the ambit of interpretation.

Keywords: ancient synagogue; Annual Babylonian Cycle (AC); Hebrew Bible; Mishna; prophetic text; Triennial Palestine Cycle (TC)



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