July 14, 2016 at 01:06PM on Facebook
Some fascinating new research on worship among the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls:
‘The prayers include motifs common in synagogue prayer today, including pleas for the restoration of Israel and for God to remember the history of his dealings with Israel and have mercy on the people. The themes of sin, redemption, and God’s grace, often considered hallmarks of Christian worship, are also prominent. In his classes Falk sometimes presents writings from the Christian apostle Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls side by side, with identifying words removed, and asks his students to choose which is which. They find it very hard to do.
‘“We think of Paul as talking about ‘grace’ over against ‘law,’ and that you can’t earn favor with God. You have exactly that language in these prayers,” he says. “Their approach to prayer is not ‘I’m entitled to this.’ They’re really overwhelmed with their human frailty before God, and they’re struck with awe that God would accept them. They say, ‘There’s nothing that we could do to earn favor with God; I am but a worm.’ They sound almost Lutheran.”’
The Genesis of Prayer | Penn State University