Professor Daniel K. Falk (University of Oregon) delivered the 2013 Peter Craigie Memorial Lecture, “Singing With Angels: Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls” at the University of Calgary on October 17, 2013.
Why did Jews begin to pray together daily? Prayer as regularized service of the community is one of the profound contributions of Judaism to western civilization, but the origins of Jewish liturgy remain obscure. The most important evidence is to be found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, which include the earliest known collections of Jewish liturgical prayers. Falk explores the significance of these prayers for understanding the distinctive religious life of these particular sectarians, who joined the angels in worship of God and warfare against dark forces, and in their prayer sought to harmonize with God’s created order and rectify disorder. Falk also reflects on what these texts reveal of trends in early Jewish prayer and piety more broadly.
Audio of the lecture is available here, beginning at 20:00.