The essay discusses and rejects the presumption that Israel celebrated a ritual of covenant renewal at Shavuot in Second Temple times. Narrative texts like 2 Chronicles 15 and Jubilees 6 may associate the establishment of Israel’s covenant with God and the festival of Shavuot without any connection to a ritual. The Rule of the Community from Qumran hints at the performance of a ritual for the integration of new members which is geared to the special situation of its type of group and hence by no means applicable to throngs of pilgrims who come to the Temple in Jerusalem at Shavuot let alone to the whole people of Israel. Furthermore, the sources presume that the covenant between God and Israel is not abolished and does not require an annual renewal. As ancient Judaism did not know a ritual of covenant renewal, Christian texts (including Acts 2) cannot allude to such a ritual. Whatever the origins of the Christian festival of Pentecost, it does not continue or supersede a Jewish ritual of covenant renewal.
New Insights into its History and Interaction
– Is the Eucharistic Prayer a ‘Berakha’ and what information is available for the reconstruction of the history of the Jewish ‘Grace after Meals’?
– How does Jewish liturgy rework the Bible, and are Christians and Jews using similar methods when they create liturgical poetry on the basis of a biblical text?
– Which texts of the Cairo Genizah are of direct importance for the history of Christian liturgies, and are Christian creeds in fact Prayers or Hymns?
– What does it mean that both Jews and Christians recite Isaiah's "Holy, Holy, Holy" at important points in their respective liturgies?
Questions like these brought together scholars and specialists from different disciplines to share their recent insights at a conference in Aachen, Germany, and to offer the reader a fascinating discourse on a broad range of aspects of Jewish and Christian liturgies.