Prayer After

Prayer After "the Death of God"
A Phenomenological Study in Hebrew Literature
Avi Sagi

It is a widespread conception that prayer is the essence of religious fulfillment. In the eyes of many, prayer can be understood only on the assumption that it is an appeal to God. Moreover, even the prayers of non-believers are perceived as a search for God. But does every person praying necessarily turn to God? Is the religious meaning attributed to prayer the only possible meaning? This book sets out to reassess the metaphysical and religious premises at the basis of the discourse on prayer by transferring the focal point from theological and metaphysical questions regarding prayer to the human experience of the person praying. The book does not focus on theoretical understanding of the human experience of prayer and does not offer an alternative to theological theory. Rather, it attempts to evaluate the meaning of prayer in the world of those who are praying. In order to approach their world, the book concentrates on prayer as reflected in modern Hebrew literature, particularly from the Second Aliya until today. This literature deals extensively with the subject of prayer and its meanings, and expresses the condition of those who have experienced “the death of God” in a world in which God is no longer relevant. Study of this body of literature reveals that even after “the death of God” prayer continues to exist. Furthermore, literary reflection assumes that prayer is a primary phenomenon of existence, in no way dependent on the question of the addressee of the prayer – that is, man is a praying entity. Therefore, the question of the addressee remains unanswered: Must there be an addressee to prayer? Is prayer a way of coping with the addressee problem? Or is the addressee of prayer one and the same as the person praying? This book examines the way in which Hebrew literature deals with these questions and concludes that prayer is, first and foremost, the refusal to accept the existing situation, and the recognition of the power of hope and its ability to overcome the weight of the past and the present. Man as a praying entity can escape the conditions of his life because he is freeborn. Prayer is a definite embodiment of this escape and freedom. The roots of this book are founded on an analysis of contemporary literary works, particularly poetry, and its broad scope provides a new and deeper understanding of human existence itself – existence in which man is characterized as a praying entity.
Digital Edition Kotar

Danacode:   110-20168 ISBN:  978-965-226-407-7 Language:   Hebrew Pages:   228 Weight:   500 gr Dimensions:  16X24 cm Publication Date:   05/2011 Publisher:   Bar-Ilan University Press

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