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From Sacrifice to Sacred Song:

Music in Jewish and Christian Worship

Author: Jonathan L. Friedmann


The need for attentiveness during worship has been noted since biblical times, when the prophets of Israel condemned sacrificial ritual as superficial and insincere. As prayer replaced sacrifice as the primary ritual of Judaism and Christianity, the demand for heart-felt worship remained central—a fact reflected in the preponderance of religious rulings that stress the futility of prayer without deep concentration. At the same time, music has forever been used in worship, providing an emotional component oftentimes lost in the ritual routine. This paper argues, therefore, that music's primary function in prayer is to help inspire the requisite attentiveness, and to imbue the worship experience with a sense of transcendence not always achieved through words alone. Understood in this way, music is not merely an aesthetic or superfluous accessory to the religious experience, but rather a vital and practical aid in making prayer meaningful.

1. Introduction

In his book, African Religions , Benjamin Ray notes that, “Through ritual man transcends himself and communicates directly with the divine. The coming of divinity to man and of man to divinity happens repeatedly with equal validity on almost every ritual occasion.” [1] To be sure, this statement reflects a religious ideal, in which the individual approaches each ritual repetition with a high level of attentiveness, presumably connecting with divinity in even the most structured of worship situations. This transcending of the self is, of course, the fundamental goal of ritualized behavior. [2] Yet, from biblical times to the present, the struggle to find personal meaning in religious ritual has been as prevalent as ritual itself. While religious services seek to transform central ideas into meaningful experiences, there is a natural tendency to approach such worship as a superficial exercise. Particularly in the liturgical traditions of Judaism and Christianity, spiritual involvement during each repetition of prayer requires great concentration.

Recognizing this challenge, religious commentators have long stressed the need for sincerity in prayer. To be sure, the centrality of worship in Jewish and Christian spirituality reflects the contention that words of prayer are inherently valuable and spiritually efficacious. These attributes of prayer, however, cannot be fully realized unless the worshiper assimilates prayer as an expression of profound personal belief, and prays with undistracted intention.

This struggle for proper focus during religious ritual has ancient precedent. A number of biblical prophets lamented that sacrificial worship had, for many, become a meaningless routine. And, inasmuch as prayer has replaced sacrifice as the primary mode of Jewish and Christian worship, liturgical ritual likewise risks becoming an uninspiring exercise. Thus, along with statements—both Jewish and Christian—that one must cultivate sincerity and attentiveness in worship, music has been indelibly linked with prayer, serving to enhance the impact of the text, and inspire deep contemplation on the mysteries of the universe. In this way, musical settings of liturgy are intended, above all else, to help foster a focused and emotional experience of prayer.

2. The ‘Problem of Prayer'

With the establishment of Solomon's Temple (c. 950 B.C.E.), Jerusalem became the main focus of the sacrificial system in ancient Israel (I Kings 8:5, 62-65). The importance of this centralized ritual is evidenced by its multiplicity of forms and functions: there were propitiatory, dedicatory, meal, fellowship, libation, thanksgiving, and ordination sacrifices. However, outside of the Temple 's routinized sacrificial system, diverging opinions presented in the Hebrew Bible question the efficacy of this ritual. A variety of prophetic voices stress the importance of intention over empty sacrificial offerings, and the primacy of obedience over blood. From these passages emerges a theme with relevance even in post-sacrificial Jewish and Christian worship: the insufficiency of prayer without attentiveness to God.

After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C. E., prayer replaced sacrifice as the mode of Jewish worship. The obligation to focus intently during prayer likewise became a regular topic in rabbinic literature, which uses the term kavvanah (“directed intention”) to denote proper mindfulness and concentration. Though not an explicit obligation in the Bible, the importance of kavvanah during prayer has basis in biblical prophecy, perhaps best exemplified by Isaiah's condemnation of the Judeans' hypocritical rituals: “My Lord said: Because that people has approached Me with its mouth and honored Me with its lips, but has kept its heart far from Me, and its worship of Me has been a commandment of men, learned by rote—truly, I shall further baffle that people” (Isa. 29:13).

Later came the opinion that prayer without directed intention is no prayer at all. [3] As one Christian scholar noted, “To begin praying and allow the mind to be wholly diverted or distracted to some other occupation or thought necessarily terminates the prayer, which is resumed only when the mind is withdrawn from the object of distraction.” [4] As soon as proper attention ceases, prayer ceases. This is of particular concern during vocal prayer, when one must attend to the meaning of words, and internalize sentiments expressed in the prayer.

For this reason, prayer has forever been rendered in song. [5] During the days of Temple sacrifice, music was a constant accessory to ritual, so much so that musicologist Eric Werner noted that without sacrifice much of the music of ancient Israel had no raison d'être . [6] While the high priests orchestrated ritual sacrifices, the Levites provided a musical backdrop, elevating the experience of religious ritual and ushering in the presence of God. In contemporary Jewish and Christian worship, music continues to play a central role, fostering the receptivity of the heart.

Music transcends ordinary expression, opening one to a depth of awareness beyond the limits of language. While liturgy can at times fail to capture the grandeur of the sacred—struggling as it does against the mechanical tendencies inherent in ritual routine—music provides sacred text with a vehicle for spiritual elevation. Words set to music achieve a greater emotive range and associational power than ordinary speech. [7] At its best, song can heighten one's attentiveness during prayer, and imbue the prayer with a sense of ‘otherness' required of the sacred experience.

3. Sacrifice and Commitment

Genesis presents the familiar story of the Akedah (“binding”), where Abraham is told: “Take your son, your favored one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on the heights that I will point out to you” (Gen. 22:2). Without questioning, Abraham “split the wood for the burnt offering, and he set out for the place God had told him” (Gen. 22:3). From Abraham's response, it is clear that sacrifice was a practice familiar to him; it permeated the ancient Near East. Isaac, too, was acquainted with the sacrificial process, asking his father, “Here are the firestone and wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” (Gen. 22:7). However, it is Abraham's obedience and not his skill in sacrifice that is required of him, as an angel of God intervenes before he puts the knife to his son. As it is written: “Because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your favored one, I will bestow my blessing upon you and make your descendents as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands of the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes” (Gen. 22:16-17).

Aside from divergent theological interpretations of this episode—for Jews a polemic against human sacrifice and for Christians a foreshadowing of Christ's crucifixion—the Akedah reveals an important element of biblical sacrifice: obeying God's command is more important than sacrifice, and, at least in some cases, makes the practice obsolete. Indeed, several biblical prophets condemn sacrifice without proper intention as empty ritual.

This theme is clearly expressed in I Samuel 13. During a struggle with an overpowering Philistine army, Saul and his men “hid in caves, among thorns, among rocks, in tunnels, and in cisterns” fearing for their lives (I Sam. 13:6). Saul waited seven days for Samuel to arrive in Gilgal, and when he failed to appear, he initiated a burnt offering to win God's favor. When the sacrifice concluded, Samuel arrived and condemned Saul's lack of confidence in God: “You acted foolishly in not keeping the commandments that the Lord your God laid upon you! Otherwise the Lord would have established your dynasty over Israel forever. But now your dynasty will not endure” (I Sam 13:13-14).

Chief among Saul's transgressions was his doubt concerning God's promise that He would “never abandon His people” (I Sam 12:22). Saul's compromised trust in God led him to conduct a sacrifice; he reverted to an outward practice when internal faith and commitment were required. As Samuel declared further: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience to the Lord's command? Surely, obedience is better than sacrifice, compliance than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22-23).

The disapproval of insincere ritual sacrifice is presented similarly in the prophetic musings of Isaiah. In direct language, Isaiah confronts the Hebrews with God's disappointment: “What need have I of all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sated with burnt offerings of rams . . . Bringing oblations is futile, incense is offensive to me” (Isaiah 1:11-13). In place of such ritual, God commands the Hebrews: “Cease to do evil; learn to do good. Devote yourselves to justice; aid the wronged. Uphold the rights of the orphan; defend the cause of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17).

Elsewhere, the prophet Jeremiah confirms this appraisal of God's chosen people, ruling that sacrifice is essentially worthless if presented by individuals uncommitted to justice and attracted to other gods (Jeremiah 7:1-11). God reminds the Hebrews that He did not command their ancestors who fled Egypt to prepare burnt offerings, but rather to “Do my bidding, that I may be your God and you may be My people; walk only in the way that I enjoin upon you, that it may go well with you” (Jeremiah 7:23).

Importantly, too, unlike pagan gods, the God of Israel does not need sacrifice for sustenance: “For mine is every animal of the forest, the beasts on a thousand mountains. I know every bird of the mountains, the creatures of the field are subject to Me. Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all it holds. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalms 50:10-13). Instead, God accepts burnt offerings only as an expression of genuine commitment—not as food or in place of internal devotion.

In our post-sacrificial days, worshipers can glean insight from these and other biblical critiques of sacrifice. Beneath the externalized ritual was a deeper requirement of devotion and sincerity, a precursor to the rabbinic requirement for kavvanah (“directed intention”) in liturgical prayer. It is thus worthwhile to reflect on Hosea's instruction that the Children of Israel say to God: “Forgive all my guilt and accept what is good; Instead of bulls we will pay the offerings of our lips” (Hosea 14:3). 

4. Prayer and Sincerity

Daily sacrificial offerings continued in Jerusalem until the Romans breached the city walls in 70 C.E., and destroyed the Temple . With this devastation came the end of Israel 's primary religious institution and ritual: the priesthood and sacrifice. Joseph Hertz, the late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, reflected on the enormity of this worship crisis: “Moderns do not always realize the genuine hold that the sacrificial service had upon the affections of the people in ancient Israel . The central sanctuary was the axis around which the national life revolved. The people loved the Temple , its pomp and ceremony, the music and song of the Levites and the ministrations of the priests.” [8] For Israel , the Temple 's ruination was tantamount to the destruction of the world. Following Mircea Eliade's concept of the axis mundi , the Temple and its rituals represented the center of the world, and a link between heaven and earth. [9] Without this centralizing institution, Jewish worship was forever transformed.

In post-Temple times, rabbinic authority replaced the institution of the priesthood, and liturgical prayer became a substitute for sacrifice. Significantly, prayer was called the ‘service of the heart,' reflecting both prophetic and rabbinic opinions that worship must be internalized and sincere. As one rabbi commented, “prayer without heart is like a body without a soul.” [10] Jewish liturgy became exclusively a matter of the spirit, freeing itself of external elements, including material offerings and worship sites endowed with special sanctity. [11] Rather than relying on worship accoutrements, Jewish worship became a thoroughly non-material enterprise—an expression of the God-directed spirit.

Yet, complicating this required spiritual attentiveness was the development of standardized liturgy for fixed times and seasons—prayers to be vocalized regardless of the worshipers' prior mood or spiritual preparedness. Three times a day—morning, afternoon, and evening—observant Jews recite time-appropriate liturgy, an act often motivated more by the clock than by deep spiritual need. Recognizing the conflict inherent in such statutory worship, rabbinic literature offers some advice on cultivating a prayerful state of mind, including the practice of meditating for an hour before praying. [12] Other rabbis ruled that one whose mind is not quieted should not pray, [13] and that a Jew whose disposition is sorrowful, indolent, or frivolous should not approach God through worship. [14] While these decisions do not comply with the demand to pray at predetermined times, they nevertheless reflect a certain ideal: prayers should be recited with right-concentration.

This ideal reached maturity in the medieval period, when kavvanah (“directed intention”) became the most important aspect of prayer. The centrality of proper mindfulness is captured in Maimonides' oft-cited quotation: “ Kavvanah means that a man should empty his mind of all other thoughts and regard himself as if he were standing before the Divine Presence.” [15] However, while mirroring the definition of prayer attributed to St. Augustine , “Prayer is lifting the mind and heart to God,” this demand for un-distracted, God-directed speech is not always easily fulfilled. Recognizing the difficulty of sustaining such lofty concentration, the sixteenth-century codification of Jewish law, Shulhan Arukh (“Set Table”), recommends a little prayer with kavvanah , rather than much without it. [16]

With the development of Hasidism in eighteenth-century Eastern Europe came added emphasis on kavvanah , particularly as it relates to contemplative prayer. A Jewish revivalist movement, Hasidism used earlier traditions of mystic Kabbalah and medieval pietism as the foundation of a religious praxis centered on joy and ecstatic devotion. Contemplative prayer became this movement's spiritual modality par excellence; a Hasid who did not aim to transcend the limits of corporality during prayer did not achieve much of spiritual value. As one scholar summed it up, Hasidism views prayer as “a guide for breaking out of nature towards the spirit.” [17]

Hasidic reflections on contemplative prayer illustrate the intensity with which adherents seek to forge a powerful worship experience, fulfilling the demand for unequivocal intentionality. Emphasizing the need for concentration in prayer, one Hasidic master taught that, “As you stand before God in prayer, you should feel that you stand alone—in all the world only you and God exist. Then there can be no distractions; nothing can disturb your prayer.” [18] One is also encouraged to “Enter into prayer slowly . . . Even if you are not aroused as your prayer begins, give close attention to the words you speak. As you grow in strength and God helps you draw near, you can even say the words more quickly and remain in His presence.” [19] And, addressing the spiritual danger of a meaningless prayer routine, it is taught that, “Prayer is never repeated: the quality of each day's prayer is unlike that of any other.” [20]

The need for attentiveness in prayer is also central to Christian worship. Indeed, for much of the Church's history, contemplative prayer was the stated goal of Christian spirituality. [21] Exemplifying this approach, the unnamed nineteenth-century Russian Monk wrote that, “Without prayer [a Christian] cannot find the way to the Lord, he cannot understand the truth, he cannot crucify the flesh with its passions and lusts, his heart cannot be enlightened with the light of Christ, he cannot be savingly united to God. None of those things can be effected unless they are preceded by constant prayer.” [22] In contemporary times, Christian spirituality encompasses varied ways of fostering personal experiences of God, including liturgical prayer. This desire, as well as the implicit demand that prayer be heart-felt, is captured in a saying attributed to Brother Lawrence, “Practice the presence of God.” [23]

In both Judaism and Christianity, then, prayer is neither casual nor superfluous, but rather a ‘nurturant wellspring,' [24] shaping the entirely of spiritual life. Yet the preponderance of advice, opinions, and rulings on the necessity of attentiveness during prayer is in some ways a reflection of the ‘problem of prayer': the ideal of correct focus in prayer, no matter how crucial, is at times difficult to attain. This problem is, of course, accentuated in the structured rituals of church and synagogue worship, dictated by liturgical calendars and a set order of prayers. In contrast to spontaneous and individualized prayers at moments of deep inspiration, these services occur regardless of prior spiritual motivation, and are attended by individuals oftentimes consumed by the countless distractions of worldly existence. Like the sacrificial ritual of ancient Israel , contemporary worship often struggles against the human propensity for habitual (and ultimately superficial) exercise. As such, the individual in prayer is not always driven by the fundamental adage, “Know before whom you stand.” [25]

5. The Role of Sacred Music 

To aid the worshiper in rising above this inevitable problem of internalization, religious traditions have for ages incorporated the impassioned singing of prayers, relying on the power of music to both evoke and reinforce the mysteries of the universe. When words alone prove inadequate, music serves as efficacious symbolic communication, bringing people into the ineffable. [26] Indeed, liturgical music is the primary tool religion provides for imbuing prayer with its requisite emotional component, and separating the religious experience from everyday life. In this way, music reflects the deepest goals of worship, a fact well stated by Abraham Joshua Heschel: “Song, and particularly liturgical song, is not only an act of expression but also a way of bringing down the spirit of heaven to earth.” [27]

Also, as the necessary repetition of prayers in Jewish and Christian liturgical traditions can prevent the text from attaining a sense of ‘freshness,' the repeated use of music set to a particular text can evoke remembered emotions, bringing to the prayer a specific mood. This meaningful ‘return to the familiar' is more striking in music than elsewhere. A good book may be read twice, a poem a dozen times; but in “no other art-form could we expect the literally hundreds of repetitions to go on pleasing us.” [28]

Scholars have explained the relationship between musical tones and emotions, suggesting that elements of music—such as pitch, tempo, dynamics, and timbre—have a distinct kinesthetic effect on both presenter and listener. When listening or producing varied pitches, the individual reacts to tonal changes, responding psychophysically to musical stimuli. The measurable effect of a piece of music is seen in the emotional impressions it creates, such as strain, fatigue, calmness, or elation. Viewed in this way, the relationship between musical tones and human reactions can be judged as either compatible or incompatible with a religious mood. [29] Prayer-songs of penitence should stimulate pensiveness, thanksgiving prayer-songs should foster a joyous mood, and so forth.

Taking a nuanced approach to the correlation between tones and emotions, Leonard B. Meyer, in his influential study, Emotion and Meaning in Music , [30] adopted the position that while emotions are not inherent in musical tones themselves, to a culturally knowledgeable listener, they do provide certain expectations and tendencies. For any given musical culture, there exist distinct musical stimuli that either inhibit or fulfill the psychological need for resolution. In this way, emotional responses to music are aroused primarily through the interplay of tension and release. And, as Meyer contends, since musical experiences are “continuous and similar to our experiences of other kinds of stimuli,” [31] the individual or cultural group will relate sound stimuli—however consciously—to nonmusical concepts, images, or other qualities.

The emotional function of music accounts for its close association with religious ritual. Music serves to dramatize prayer, making the sacred language come to life through the direct channel of human emotion. For the receptive worshiper, such mood-altering music is inescapable, operating on the essentially immeasurable level of sentiment.

This is especially important, as both music and the sacred experience are at their core non-rational: elements of both can be explained rationally, but the totality of the experience remains ineffable. [32] Music is therefore the ideal manner of relating the sacred experience, as it approximates the qualities of marvel and grandeur associated with God. The non-rational beauty of music, like the ‘beyondness' of the sacred, cannot be completely understood through mere conceptual analysis. This is a point articulated by scholar of Christian music, Don E. Saliers: “music is close to ‘spirit'—a non-material medium of receiving and conveying a sense of the world. In our deepest attentiveness and encounters with certain forms of music, we are opened to a depth of awareness; a feeling about life that words alone cannot give.” [33]

Even in ancient days, the saying held true, “Where there is song, there shall be prayer.” [34] As discussed above, ancient Israel 's religious rituals were performed with musical accompaniment, a fact supported in both biblical and external sources. For instance, the Assyrian bas-relief depicting King Sennacherib's victory over King Hezekiah describes ransom and tribute including, significantly, Judean musicians. Psalm 137 similarly relates the Babylonians' demand that their Hebrew prisoners “Sing us one of the Songs of Zion.” These and other examples illustrate the power and beauty of this music, as historians have noted, “To ask for musicians as tribute and to show interest in the folk music of a vanquished enemy was unusual indeed.” [35] And, insofar as music in ancient Israel developed around the sacrificial ritual, it can be assumed that its emotive qualities, like that of contemporary prayer-song, provided a sonic defense against the spiritual detachment that often comes with prescribed worship.

Of course, this music was not always successful in cultivating mindfulness during ritual sacrifice—a fact reflected in the various prophetic critiques of insincere sacrificial routine. In contemporary Jewish and Christian worship, too, music does not always solve the ‘problem of prayer,' as many worshipers allow personal struggles with theological or other issues to hinder full engagement with the music and message of prayer. [36] Additionally, some musical settings are more suitable for worship than others, though this complex issue is beyond the scope of this paper. What can be argued confidently, however, is that the use of music in worship is a concrete attempt to bolster the attentiveness of the worshiping congregation, and to imbue the moment with a sense of otherness essential to religious experience.

The centrality of music in Judaism and Christianity is more than merely an aesthetic concern. The objects of theology cannot be captured entirely in the realm of language; the human soul finds an effective medium for its varied utterances in music. Jewish and Christian philosophers and theologians have noted the indispensable bond of music and religion. It has even been argued that in these religious systems there can be no approach to the Almighty without song. [37] The Talmud declares that song is obligatory in the ritual of the sanctuary, [38] and it has been suggested that the early church, even in New Testament times, was a ‘singing church.' [39]

The interrelatedness of music and the Ultimate Reality is captured eloquently in the words of theologian R. Heber Newton: “Music brings us face to face with a most real world, in which is the manifestation of a most real Power; a Power not ourselves, greater than us all; before us, round about us; in which we, with all things living, live and move and have our being.” [40]

6. Conclusion

Though worship has evolved from the sacrificial system of ancient Israel to the prayer traditions of contemporary Judaism and Christianity, the need for sincerity and attentiveness in worship has remained constant. Stressing the futility of approaching God with less than whole-hearted contemplation, religious authorities, from biblical times to the present, have urged worshipers to cultivate intentionality in prayer. This demand, however, often remains an unfulfilled ideal, owing largely to the structured and repetitious nature of liturgical ritual.

For this reason, music has for ages been employed as an aid to prayer, helping to inspire a mood of devotion and contemplation. When one fails to resonate with the message of prayer, or is distracted from deep worship by worldly concerns, music can stimulate an emotional state, disarming the rational mind, and inviting an embrace of the sacred moment. To be sure, music does not always alleviate the ‘problem of prayer,' but it is nevertheless intended to guide the worshiper into the requisite prayerful state of mind. Music is thus a powerful—if imperfect—defense against the disengagement that may occur during prayer. And, as long as a wholehearted experience of prayer is the ideal of Jewish and Christian worship, the partnership of music and prayer will endure.



1. Benjamin Ray, African Religions: Symbol, Ritual, and Community 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999), p. 17.

2. Andrew Newberg, Eugene d'Aquili, and Vince Rause, Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief ( New York : Ballantine, 2001), p. 80.

3 . As in the medieval Jewish ruling, “since prayer without kavvanah is no prayer at all, if one has prayed without kavvanah he has to pray again with kavvanah .” Maimonides, Yad , Tefillah , 4:15.

4 . John J. Wynne, “Prayer,” Catholic Encyclopedia vol. XII (New York: Robert Appleton, 1911).

5 . As Abraham Z. Idelsohn wrote: “The singing of psalms and chanting of prayers date back to the very beginning of Israel .” Jewish Liturgy and its Historical Development (New York: Sacred Music Press, 1932), p. 9.

6 . Eric Werner, From Generation to Generation (New York: American Conference of Cantors, 1967), p. 7.

7 . Don E. Saliers, Music and Theology ( Nashville , TN : Abingdon Press, 2007), p. 6.

8 . Joseph Hertz, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book (New York: Bloch Publishing, 1987), pp. 33-34.

9 . Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion (New York: Harcourt Press, 1959), p. 39.

10 . Bahya Ibn Pakudah, Duties of the Heart , Gate 8, 3:9.

11 . Ismar Elbogan, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 1993), pp. 3-4.

12 . Earl Klein, Jewish Prayer: Concepts and Customs (Columbus, OH: Alpha Publishing, 1986), p. 25.

13 . Eruvim 65a.

14 . Berachot 31a.

15 . Maimonides, Yad , Tefillah , 6:16.

16 . Joseph Karo, Shulhan Aruch , Orach Chayim , 1:4.

17 . Rivkah Schatz, “Contemplative Prayer in Hasidism .” Studies in Mysticism and Religion Presented to Gershom Scholem (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1967), p. 209.

18 . Arthur Green and Barry W. Holtz, eds., Your Word is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer (Woodstock, NJ: Jewish Lights, 1993), p. 95.

19 . Ibid., p. 35.

20 . Ibid., p. 97.

21 . Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love: The Way of Christian Contemplation ( New York : Continuum, 2000), p. 1.

22 . Jonathan Star, The Inner Treasures: An Introduction to the World's Sacred and Mystical Writings (New York: Putnam, 1999), p. 164.

23 . Quoted in Timothy George and Alister McGrath, eds., For all the Saints: Evangelical Theology and Christian Spirituality ( Louisville , KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), p. 14.

24 . Michael Fishbane, “Prayer,” Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought , eds. Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr (New York: The Free Press, 1988), p. 724.

25 . Berachot 28b.

26 . Richard Viladesau, Theology and the Arts: Encountering God through Music, Art and Rhetoric ( New York : Paulist Press, 2000), p. 3.

27 . Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Insecurity of Freedom (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966), p. 245.

28 . Dwight L. Bolinger, The Symbolism of Music (Yellow Springs, OH: Antioch Press, 1941), p. 27.

29 . Louis Ibsen al Faruqi, “What Makes ‘Religious Music' Religious?” Sacred Sound: Music in Religious Thought and Practice , ed. Joyce Irwin (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983), p. 26.

30 . Leonard B. Meyer, Emotion and Meaning in Music (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958).

31 . Ibid., p. 260.

32 . Fabio Dasilva, Anthony Blasi and David Dees, The Sociology of Music (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984), p. 80.

33 . Saliers, Music and Theology , p. 66.

34 . Devarim Rabba 80:2.

35 . Werner, From Generation to Generation , p. 7.

36 . See, for example, Jakob J. Petuchowski, ed., Understanding Jewish Prayer (New York: Ktav, 1972), and Elmer Towns , Putting an End to Worship Wars (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 1997).

37 . Oskar Sohngen, “Music and Theology: A Systematic Approach,” Sacred Sound: Music in Religious Thought and Practice , ed. Joyce Irwin (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1983), pp. 1-20.

38 . Arakin 11a.

39 . Ralph P. Martin, The Worship of God: Some Theological, Pastoral, and Practical Reflections (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 1.

40 . R. Heber Newton, The Mysticism of Music (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1915), p. 21.



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Bolinger, Dwight L. The Symbolism of Music . Yellow Springs , OH : Antioch Press, 1941. 

Dasilva, Fabio Anthony Blasi and David Dees. The Sociology of Music . Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984.

Elbogan, Ismar . Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History . Philadelphia , PA : Jewish Publication Society, 1993.

Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion . New York : Harcourt Press, 1959.

Fishbane, Michael. “Prayer.” Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought . Eds. Arthur A. Cohen and Paul Mendes-Flohr. New York : The Free Press, 1988.

George, Timothy, and Alister McGrath, eds. For all the Saints: Evangelical Theology and Christian Spirituality . Louisville , KY : Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.

Green, Arthur, and Barry W. Holtz, eds. Your Word is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer . Woodstock , NJ : Jewish Lights, 1993.

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Towns , Elmer . Putting an End to Worship Wars . Nashville , TN : Broadman and Holman, 1997.

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