Emory University
Fall 1997
Max. 20
Professor David R. Blumenthal (7-7545; 634-3833; reldrb@emory.edu )
M 7:30 - 10:00
at professor's home


Prayer is one of the main forms of Jewish spiritual and religious identity. Liturgy is the textual form that prayer takes. This course will begin by studying prayer and liturgy in the Bible. Then, substantial time will be devoted to the traditional prayerbook. This will be followed by some time in medieval Hebrew religious liturgical poetry. Finally, we will look closely at modern forms of Jewish prayer and liturgy.


David R. Blumenthal, God at the Center
David R. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest


Wings of Awe
The Book of Blessings
Otsar ha-Tefillot
Siddur Nashim
The Authorized Daily and Sabbath Prayerbook
Seder Rav Amram
Seder Avodat Yisrael
Kol Haneshama


Ability to read and understand Hebrew; permission of the instructor.
This is a course for graduate students and qualified undergraduates.


Active class participation.
Quizzes and final exam. Possible paper.

Prayer in the Bible

Sept. 1

Discuss: Lev. 1-6; Dt. 21:1-15; Dt. 26:1-15; Ps. 30; Pss. 113-118; Ps. 145; I Sam. 1:1-18 and II; Kings 4:23

Assn.: familiarize yourself with the siddur; shaharit

Rabbinic Liturgy

Sept. 8

Discuss: outline of the prayerbook and shaharit

Sept. 15

Discuss: amida and maariv

Sept. 22

Quiz #1

Discuss: kavvana (I)

God at the Center, 56, 109, 164, 183, 186, 191, 221
materials from "Prayer" (DRB)
Understanding Jewish Mysticism, vol. 2, part 2
Facing the Abusing God, ch. 1-5

Sept. 29

Discuss: minha and birkat hamazon

"Ashrei" (on my website)

Oct. 6

Quiz #2

Discuss: amidot of shabbat and holidays

Oct. 13 (Fall Break)

Oct. 20

Quiz #3

Discuss: Mahzor for amidot for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

Medieval Liturgical Poetry

Oct. 27

Quiz #4

Discuss: Zemirot Shabbat

adon olam (12), lekha dodi (316), yom ze leyisrael (364), tsur mishelo (366), yedid nefesh (590)

Nov. 3

Discuss: Mahzor piyyut

Yom Kippur: selihot (102-148)
Rosh Hashana: unetane tokef (480), adirei ayuma (328), kol shinanei (370), melekh elyon (366); ha'aderet veha'emuna (YK: 402)

Nov. 10

Review Quiz #1

Discuss: kavvana (II: zoharic prayer)

God at the Center, zoharic prayer, at index
Understanding Jewish Mysticism, vol. 1, part 2
materials from "Prayer" (DRB)

Modern Liturgy

Nov. 17

Discuss: Kol Haneshama

esp. 6-7, 24-5, 63-9, 74-5, 78-9, 89, 98-9, 118-19, 120-1, 134-7, 153-5, 176-7, 232-3, 240-1, 247, 262-3, 292-3, 384-5, 387, 397, 520-1, 524-5, 740-1, 743 (copy)

assignment from Leila Berner of her own work (copy)

Nov. 24

Review Quiz #2

Discuss: Modern rabbinic liturgies

Prayerbook for Yom ha-atsma'ut
kinot for the shoah (copy)
Prayer for the State of Israel
Facing, liturgical passages (copy)

Dec. 1

Discuss: Book of Blessings

esp. xv-xvi, 3-7, with 417-23; 24-7, 170-3, with 431-6; 43-50, 61, 101, 125-9, 133, 165-259, 267-9, 289, with 440-56, 468-76; 351-413 (copy of parts)

Dec. 8

Discuss: Siddur Nashim, Debbie Friedman tapes (on reserve)

Final exam: due whenever you can get it in.

Reserve List:

Wings of Awe TH BM675.H5.Z6643
The Book of Blessings Woodruff BM675.BM655.F35
Otsar ha-Tefillot TH BM675.D32623
Siddur Nashim Woodruff BM675.S3.J3
The Authorized Daily and Sabbath Prayerbook TH BM675.D3.H4
Seder Rav Amram TH BM675.D3.H43
Seder Avodat Yisrael TH BM675.D3.B3
Kol Haneshama TH BM675.S3.Z655

* The original syllabus is bilingual. Because the web does not always transmit Hebrew, I have transliterated where necessary.

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