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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Praying Legally
Holtz, Shalom E.

Providence, RI: Brown Judaic Studies, 2019 pp. xvi + 156. $29.00

Series Information
Brown Judaic Studies, 364

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Description: In biblical and other ancient Near Eastern sources, prayer is an opportunity to make oneís case before divine judges. Prayers were formulated using courtroom or trial language, including demands for judgment, confessions, and accusations. The presence of these legal concepts reveals ancient Near Eastern thoughts about what takes place when one prays. Holtz highlights legal concepts that appear in prayers, including the motif of the speakersí oppression in Psalms the possibility of countersuit against God through prayer, and divine attention and inattention as legal responses. By reading ancient prayers together with legal texts, this book shows how speakers took advantage of prayer as an opportunity to have their day in the divine court and even sue against divine injustice. Features: -Identification of legal vocabulary and concepts that appear in ancient prayers -Analysis of legal metaphors in prayer examples in Akkadian and postbiblical rabbinic texts -Interpretations of trial records and texts from Psalms and Lamentations

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Lamentations, Mishnah, Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Ancient Near East, Literature, Psalms

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Review by Alan Lenzi
Published 7/9/2020
Citation: Alan Lenzi, review of Shalom E. Holtz, Praying Legally, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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