Dr. Shalom HoltzDr. Shalom Holtz, professor of Bible at Yeshiva College and associate dean of academic affairs, has a new book coming out from Brown Judaic Studies. Titled Praying Legally, Dr. Holtz explained how “in the Hebrew Bible and related ancient sources prayer there is an opportunity to make one’s case before divine judges. Prayers were formulated using courtroom or trial language, including demands for judgment, confessions and accusations.” This use of legal language, he noted, “reveals ancient Near Eastern thoughts about what takes place when one prays.”

Dr. Holtz noted that “Praying Legally is a direct outgrowth of my earlier research on trial procedure attested in ancient Mesopotamian records. This book, and several other articles written along the way, draw out the connections between the language of earthly litigation and the ways humans address their petitions in the divine courtroom, through prayer. In the book, I emphasize how courtroom imagery in prayer allowed human speakers to ‘have their day in court’ and even question divine justice.”


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