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Jewish Liturgical Reasoning$
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Steven Kepnes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195313819

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313819.001.0001

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 Liturgical Theology

 Liturgical Theology

The Semiotics of the Preliminary Morning Service

(p.163) 5 Liturgical Theology
Jewish Liturgical Reasoning

Steven Kepnes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

God is the central figure in the text of the prayer book, or Siddur; but God also presents a significant semiotic challenge. Indeed, God is a challenge to all linguistic and semiotic systems. How does one express and name the inexpressible? The argument in this chapter is that the prayer book is very aware of these issues and that it presents a series of sophisticated semiotic strategies to express and approach God. The analysis begins with an explication of C. S. Peirce's semiotics. The chapter then undertakes a semiotic analysis of the opening part of the daily morning service, the Birkhot Ha‐shahar. This includes analysis of scriptural verses, prayers, liturgical poems, Tallit, and Tefillin. The chapter ends with a semiosis of the Kaddish prayer for the dead.

Keywords:   Peirce, semiotics, God, Birkhot ha‐shahar, Kaddish

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