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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

While it is difficult to determine with certainty the habits of daily prayer among the majority of early Christians, we can with care determine some structures of time, gesture, and communal boundaries by examining the written records. The chronological and gestural structures of daily prayer show more stability than the theological interpretations of prayer, which Jeremy Penner calls ‘strategies of legitimation’. This chapter will show how strategies of legitimation are ex post facto explanations of pre-established cultural patterns. Christian authorities drew upon biblical precedents and types to impart theological significance to prayer and to standardize private practices of time and ritual gesture. Distinctive Christian identity was fortified through restrictions such as limiting use of the Lord’s Prayer and the kiss of peace to the baptized. More attention is given to popular practice than to ascetical/monastic practice.

Keywords: communal boundaries, daily prayer, gesture, hours, initiation, kiss of peace, Lord’, s prayer, sign of the cross

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