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Confession of Sin in the Hebrew Bible and in the Early Jewish Tradition

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Chapter Summary

This chapter aims to establish which form of confession was appropriate to which particular occasion, and to examine the setting of confessional formulae and their liturgical standardization. It analyzes biblical and extra-biblical documents from the earlier period until the second century after Christ. Collective confession is characteristic of Deuteronomic history and theological reflection. The three-verb formula appears within the great penitential prayer at Dan 9:4b-19 which is attributed to Daniel himself. The prayer is part of the prophecy that God will end the religious persecution the Jewish community has been suffering at the hands of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Solomon's prayer (1 Kgs 8:22-53) seems to be a mixture of late pre-exilic and early post-exilic elements. It appears that formulaic confession of sin reflects a conventional language, a common Jewish heritage of established phraseology, regularly employed to express confession of sin in differing situations and by means of various combinations.

Keywords: Daniel; Deuteronomic history; Jewish community; Solomon's prayer



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