The Jewish Roots of Christian Liturgy

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I Introduction First Christian communities appeared in Jewish Palestine and Diaspora after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, called the Christ, around 30 CE. Not only Jesus himself was a Jew, but also his followers and very first members of the new growing community were mainly Jews. They all shared the Jewish belief, the Sacred Scripture that Christians later started to call the Old Testament (OT), and were not aware of founding a new religion. A closer examination of Jewish worship will let us understand how it influenced the new Christian worship. We will have a closer look at places of worship, liturgical sources and customs which were common at that time. A last task will be to ask whether there are any significant Jewish elements…show more content…
There are some references to this pattern in the gospels (e.g. Lk 2,38; Mt 11,25-30; Jn 11,41-42). Further we will see how some of these prayers in connection with the domestic Jewish worship were essential for the Christian liturgy of the Eucharist.

D. The third main place of Jewish worship was home, especially during the time of meal. In the OT the communion of meal and feast was understood as a sign of covenant (eg. Gen 26,30). The Sabbath as a day was a special sign of covenant with God (Ex 31, 13-15) and so was the meal. The main meal of the year was the Passover meal, as a memorial day for the Lord’s passover in Egypt and deliverance from slavery (Ex 12). The weekly Sabbath meal on Friday evenings and the yearly Passover meal thus became quite elaborate. Bradshaw reminds that there is unfortunately no detailed evidence about meal-prayers in the first century, but according to the later evidence many assume that every meal started with berakot (plural of berakah) and ended with them. The opening berakot were pronounced over wine and bread, while the berakot at the end of the meal, called Birkat ha-mazon, consisted of a berakah for food, a hodayah for revelation and a tefillah for redemption (Bradshaw: 44f; Kavanagh: 621). For Christians the Last Supper with Jesus, which was a Passover meal, assumed a new meaning (Eucharist) – as a thanksgiving and
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