Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Prayer in the Temple

The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 3:1), an early book of the New Testament (probably written between 60-100 CE) makes the following mention:
Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.(NKJV)
I've heard conjectures that the Cohanim and Leviim had instituted some kind of liturgy along with the sacrifices, but this seems to imply that Jews in Jerusalem had a set our of prayer at the Temple?


Blogger -suitepotato- said...

Given that this was written somewhere right around the destruction of the second temple, I'd be a little skeptical of the authenticity. If it was much later, it might actually have been written down, entered into the book, by someone going on second-information viewed through a hazy memory.

Though, when the temple WAS there, I can see no reason why they wouldn't have set times at the temple, some sort of regular schedule there. Not that everyone in the city could possibly be expected to follow along as Muslims do today, but more like, if you're at the temple or in the vicinity there will be rites at this time.

February 27, 2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

>Given that this was written somewhere right around the destruction of the second temple, I'd be a little skeptical of the authenticity.

Huh? I was thinking the opposite - this was still within the lifetime of many people who were around while the Temple stood, so they should know what was really going on.

February 27, 2008 1:36 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

as it happens, I believe archaologists have found remnants of what seem to be batei knesiot, and have accounts of prayer services especially in the area of the Old City, from as early as about 100 or so years after the destruction of the Second Temple. It is possible that by the Temple, they meant the site of the ruined Temple. I can try to find an online source to confirm, but I can't guarantee one...

February 27, 2008 5:44 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Miri, 100 years after the churban, we are talking well into the Mishnaic age, right? AT this point, you are right, there are many synagogues and prayer emerges, though I think it is still the domain of the proto-rabbinic class and not the common people. (Read The Ancient Synagogue)
Acts is describing the time about 40 years prior to the destruction of the Temple.

February 27, 2008 8:24 PM  
Blogger Tobie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 28, 2008 1:58 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

wait a sources place the destruction at about 70 C.E....I'm pretty sure that's what my professor said. I mean, that's still right around it, but it's vague enough (datewise) that it might be actually post churban, don't you think?

February 28, 2008 4:46 AM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Miri, sorry if this is confusing.

The book was written between 60-100, so it is not clear whether it was written before or after the churban, but the story it describes would have happened sometime just after 33 CE, so the Temple would have been around.

It's like someone describing the WTC in a book written last year. Everyone who reads the book would know whether the description was accurate.

February 28, 2008 6:01 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

The question is was this written down by someone who was alive before the destruction and remembered and recounted first hand, or was it a pseudo-first-hand from someone born later who thinks they heard someone born then say so?

It was a kind of hectic time, so I get skeptical of things dated to that point. A lot of people were killed, and others who survived may themselves have been recounting dubious memories.

Maybe it is true though. Like I said, I can't see why they wouldn't.

February 28, 2008 2:39 PM  

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