Psalm-singing in the Community of Therapeutae Based on De vita contemplativa by Philo of Alexandria. The Therapeutae’s ascetic devotion is characterized not only by searching the scriptures, meditation and prayer but also by singing of hymns and psalms. Hymns were composed by the principals of the community, they were those who taught the community members to sing them and they continually enriched the hymnal with new ones. The Essenes’ and Therapeutae’s psalm-singing indicates first of all the common Old Testament origin. However these religious communities had different self-identity from that of the normative Jews and this identity required for a special psalm-poetry to be accomplished. The Therapeutae’s psalms remind us of the church psalm-tradition characterized, just like the Essene hymns, by responsive singing and refrains. This singing of hymns developed outside the church is due not only to the distance from the Sanctuary or to the estrangement from the priesthood, but also to the prophetical preaching criticizing sacrifice. The Essenes considered their community to be like a spiritual temple and this spiritual worship is very striking in the case of the Therapeutae as well. Part of the Essenes’ thanksgiving hymns may have resounded on festive occasions, probably on the feast dedicated to the renewal of the Covenant as well. However it is certain that the Therapeutae sang their hymns at dawn on the fiftieth day (Jewish Pentecost). Consequently these were connected to their feast expressing joy. Their overflowing joy presents similarities with the atmosphere of sacral feasts in the Qumran community. In the Essene table society one could feel the foretaste of the future Messianic feast (1Q28a II, 11–22). The nocturnal feast of the Therapeutae associated with singing and cultic dance was a new dash of colour as compared to the Essenes’. This practice shows similarities with the mystery religions.
A therapeuták himnuszéneklése Philón De vita contemplativa című munkája alapján
Adorjáni Zoltán: A therapeuták himnuszéneklése Philón De vita contemplativa című munkája alapján. In: Református Szemle 100.2 (2007), 408--417