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Liturgical Progression and the Experience of Transformation in Prayers from Qumran

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A distinctive feature of the prayer collections found at Qumran is that they have different prayers for each day of the week, month, Sabbath, festival, purification ritual, and so on. In the cases of the Words of the Luminaries and the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice, these different prayers construct a liturgical progression over the course of the cycle. I argue that this is to engender a progressive religious experience among the worshipers: over the course of the week towards confident approach to God in preparation for Sabbath, and over the course of Sabbaths in the quarter towards ritual transformation. Moreover, I propose that the Daily Prayers and Festival Prayers may also form an intentional liturgical progression over the cycle. If so, I would also suggest that in the liturgical cycle as a whole, there is in the daily ritual scripted experience of the larger cycles.

Affiliations: 1: The Pennsylvania State


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