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Spiritual Exercises in the Hodayot? 1QHa as Perfective Trajectory

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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  • 1 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
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Abstract

Recent scholarship has tended to view the Hodayot from the perspective of their liturgical function. Although the Hodayot are texts that participate in the continuities of late Second Temple wisdom traditions the question of the formative features of the psalms deserves greater critical attention. This article explores the possibility of a pedagogical dimension to the psalms and offers a new direction for understanding the dialogical orientation of the compositions. A cursory review of scholarship in favor of the predominantly liturgical function of the Hodayot follows the introduction. The question of a didactic dimension for 1QHa is then taken up by considering a conceptual parallel to a family of practices observed from the Greco-Roman paideutic tradition. A sequence of psalms is examined to illustrate the pedagogy and function of the prayers from within the broader spectrum of embodied ascetic practices and a perfective trajectory of spiritual exercises directed towards ritual transformation.

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