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date: 19 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Taking the communal prayer as point of departure the chapter compares typical elements of prayer in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The comparison concentrates on bodily performances, texts, and bodily orientation as well as on regulations and observations regarding the intention while praying, the minimal elements of a valid prayer, and obligations to pray. In all three religions, prayer is structured by a defined beginning and ending. The time of the day, the week, or the year influence its structure and the contents of its texts. Prayer has a social function, establishing and defining a community as well as differentiating this community internally. In the course of history, the shape and the interpretation of prayers changed just as the societies and communities that used to perform them. Part of this phenomenon was the process of adopting and adapting rites from the respective other among the three religions designed to highlight distinctions.

Keywords: prayer, liturgy, ritual, performance, community, identity

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