Jewish and Christian Liturgy
LAWRENCE A. HOFFMAN
Jewish and Christian liturgy emerged at roughly the same time and from a common heritage. We should therefore expect some obvious parallels, easily explainable by their shared provenance. But origins are one thing, and development is another. Jewish liturgy "peaked" by the time of the Mishnah's promulgation (c. 200), in the sense that its basic structure and calendrical formulation were already in place by then. Christian liturgy did not reach that state until the wake of the Council of Nicea (325) and beyond. So the surface similarities are spotty and not altogether self-evident. Also, Christian liturgy conrated the old Jewish mealtime prayer practice with the synagogal liturgy of the word, making them both over into the Eucharist, whereas table and synagogue prayer remained separate for Jews. Still, a Jew who visits church worship on an average Sunday will nod in knowing recognition.
Both Jewish and Christian services look forward and backward simultaneously, collapsing time into a single worship moment--that is, they remember time past when a covenant was initiated and look