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Reconstruction of a liturgy for the Shabbat Amidah in Greek from Jewish prayers preserved in the Constitutiones Apostolorum (circa 380 CE), by Dr. David Fiensy

This is a reconstruction of a sabbath liturgy for the Tefillah of the Amidah, at least in some variant of its public recitation, in Greek and preserved in an early Christian work, the Constitutiones Apostolorum (Apostolic Constitutions), a Christian work compiled around 380 CE in Syria. Several prayers derived from Jewish sources appear in the Apostolic Constitutions and they can be found grouped together and labeled “Greek” or “Hellenistic Syanagogal Works” in collections of apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. Because explicitly Christian references appeared to be added onto a pre-existing text with familiar Jewish or “Old Testament” themes and references, scholars in the late 19th century were already suggesting that as many as 16 of the prayers in the Apostolic Constitutions books 7 and 8 were derived from Jewish prayers. A more modern appraisal was made by Dr. Fiensy and published in Prayers Alleged to Be Jewish (Scholars Press 1985). Based on a careful analysis of the prayers, he concludes that the only prayers which can be identified as Jewish with certainty are those found in sections 33-38 of book 7. . . .

עמידה | My Weekday Amidah by Effron Esseiva

This is Effron Esseiva’s morning Amidah (standing prayer) for weekdays. Effron writes, “It’s called Shmonei Esrei (18) because it used to have eighteen brakhot (blessings). However, it has an additional brakha to bring it to nineteen. This is my interpretation of the Teissa Esrei (19) with abridged kavvanot (intentions).” . . .

On Standing Before God-Who-Sees-Me by Virginia Spatz

The Amidah’s choreography is designed to call to mind an appearance before a sovereign so as to invoke the proper “stance.” Consider, though, the variety of God-communications depicted just in the book of Genesis: God talks to Adam and Eve, to Cain, Noah, and Abimelech. God even talks to the serpent. God heeds Ishmael “where he is”, and Hagar names “YHVH who spoke to her..’God-who-sees-me’.” So, in stepping up to greet God, it is sometimes fruitful to picture, instead of a royal audience, an opportunity to meet God in the cool of the garden, or to approach, at a desert spring, “God-who-sees-me.” . . .


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