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Liturgy and Biblical Interpretation

The Sanctus and the Qedushah

Sebastian Selvén

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Religion/Theologie


What happens to the Bible when it is used in worship? What does music, choreography, the stringing together of texts, and the architectural setting itself, do to our sense of what the Bible means—and how does that influence our reading of it outside of worship? In Liturgy and Biblical Interpretation, Sebastian Selvén answers questions concerning how the Hebrew Bible is used in Jewish and Christian liturgical traditions and the impact this then has on biblical studies. This work addresses the neglect of liturgy and ritual in reception studies and makes the case that liturgy is one of the major influential forms of biblical reception. The case text is Isaiah 6:3 and its journey through the history of worship.

By looking at the Qedushah liturgies in Ashkenazi Judaism and the Sanctus in three church traditions—(pre-1969) Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism (the Church of England), and Lutheranism (Martin Luther, and the Church of Sweden)—influential lines of reception are followed through history. Because the focus is on lived liturgy, not only are worship manuals and prayer books investigated but also architecture, music, and choreography. With an eye to modern-day uses, Selvén traces the historical developments of liturgical traditions. To do this, he has used methodological frameworks from the realm of anthropology. Liturgy, this study argues, plays a significant role in how scholars, clergy, and lay people receive the Bible, and how we understand the way it is to be read and sometimes even edited.

Liturgy and Biblical Interpretation will interest scholars of the Bible, liturgy, and church history, as well as Jewish and Christian clergy.

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Roman Catholicism, Isaiah, Lutheranism, Torah, biblical reception, Jewish, Anglicanism, Ashkenazi Judaism, biblical interpretation, Christian, Bible, exegesis, Hebrew, liturgical tradition, ritual