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Worship

Worship

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The term worship refers to a complex of acts whereby humans express their devotion and reverence toward a deity (in theistic religions) or toward a transcendent yet nondivine being (in nontheistic religions). Arguably, as soon as human individuals become conscious of their utter dependence on a supernatural power and express their devotion to him, her, or it, worship is born. While this private worship is undoubtedly valid, conventionally worship refers to the public and corporate acts of devotion performed in an organized religion. Furthermore, the three pronounsin the masculine, feminine, and neutral gendersused above to refer to the deity (alternatively, deities) or the transcendent but nondivine being(s) indicate the diverse ways they are conceived, either as personal (male and female) or impersonal, as singular (monotheistic) or as plural (polytheistic). This entry focuses on worship rendered to a personal deity, male or female, in theistic religions.

Studies of religion have shown that there is a reciprocal relationship between worship and belief and that in this relationship the former is prior to the latter. The first human reaction to the presence of the tremendum et fascinans to use Rudolf Ottos (18691937) expression for the sacredis not to formulate beliefs about it but to worship it in awe and devotion. This worship eventually gives rise to theological reflections and beliefs, which in turn shape and regulate the rituals in which worship is carried out.

One of the most fundamental forms of worship is sacrifice. These rituals are performed publicly, in the open air or in religious buildings, and privately, among family. Religious officials generally preside at public sacrifices, whereas the male head of the household often, but not always, presides over worship in family settings. In Daoism and Buddhism, for instance, worship, including sacrifices, may be undertaken by women as representatives of the family. Various objects are offered to the one God, gods, spirits, ancestors, demonic beings, or any other transcendent being. In bloodless sacrifices, food and drink, such as fruits, grains, and baked goods, milk and milk products, water, alcoholic beverages, and flowers, are offered. Inanimate objects are offered too, including clothing, jewelry, coins, precious stones, and precious metals. In blood sacrifices, domesticated animals and, less often, humans are ritually slain, and their blood is sprinkled on the altar or on the fields to maintain the cosmic order or promote fertility. The sacrificial rite may be a simple act of lifting up the offering, killing or burning the animal, and the libation of its blood. Eventually, the rite can become highly complicated, requiring performance by religious experts. The intentions of sacrificial worship are described as fourfold: praise, thanksgiving, supplication, and expiation. Sacrifices are offered regularly (daily, weekly, monthly, at the beginning of seasons, and yearly) and extraordinarily (for special joyful events or on dangerous occasions) and at various sacred sites, both natural (e.g., trees, mountains, rivers, and stones) and constructed (e.g., temples, pagodas, and churches).

Ritual worship varies greatly from religion to religion, from age to age, and from place to place. In Vedic practice and later Hinduism, the central sacrifice is the offering of fire, personified as the god Agni and the symbol connecting Vedic understandings of the person, society, and the cosmos. In addition, worship of deities through the offering of foods, service, and gestures of respect toward the deities (pūjā ), later amalgamated into devotional (bhakti ) Hinduism, is one of the most pervasive forms of Hindu worship. This worship takes a variety of forms, from simple gestures, such as offerings of water, foods, and flowers, recitation of mantras, singing of songs, and the waving of camphor before the image of the deity, to more elaborate gestures, such as offering hospitality to the god, invocations, bathing and dressing the image, and carrying the enthroned image in procession. Central to this pūjā is the experience of auspicious seeing (darsana ), in which the devotee sees the god or goddess and is seen by those who are granted favors by the deity, symbolized by the returning of the sacred food (prasāda ).

In ancient Israel, sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple, officiated by the priestly class, played a pivotal role in the religious life of the people until the destruction of the Temple in 70 ce. In terms of ritual, in pre-Rabbinic Judaism a distinction is made between burnt offerings (holocaust), in which the sacrificial animal is totally burned up, and peace or communion offerings, in which only parts of the sacrificial animal are burned, with the animals blood poured out or smeared on the altar and some parts of the animal consumed by the people in a sacrificial meal. In expiatory sacrifices, the sacrificial animal is burned up and no part of it is eaten. Ancient Israel also practiced bloodless sacrifices consisting of the offering of agricultural products. These sacrifices, blood and bloodless, were made daily and on solemn festivals, such as Passover, Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. With the destruction to the Temple, the whole Jewish sacrificial system came to an end, and new forms of worship arose with the emergence of the rabbis as spiritual leaders.

According to Christianity, the Jewish sacrificial system and worship reached their culmination in Jesuss death on the cross, which is seen as the perfect and definitive sacrifice, bringing about the redemption of the world. Jesuss life, ministry, death, and resurrection are made efficaciously present (not repeated) in the sacramentsthere are seven of these in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Of them, the highest is the Eucharist, the perfect sacrifice, in which Jesuss body and blood are believed to be physically and really present and the spiritual benefits of Jesuss sacrifice on the cross are imparted to his followers and constitute the church as his mystical body. Christian worship is often called liturgy, that is, the whole public worship of the mystical body of Jesus Christ, head and members.

Islam is in principle opposed to sacrifice. Consonant with its fundamental belief in the unity of God (tawhīd ) and in Muhammad (c. 570632) as the final prophet, Islam emphasizes worship as service (ibadah ) to God and veneration of the Prophet. This worship/service constitutes the so-called Five Pillars of Islam: the confession of faith (shahada ), ritual prayer (salat ), fasting (sawm ) during the month of Ramadan, the pilgrimage (hajj ) to Mecca, and almsgiving (zakat ).

Whereas sacrifice occupies an important place in theistic religions, it is by no means the only form of worship. In all the religions examined above, the reading and studying of the scripture constitutes an essential part of worship. In Hinduism, the study of the sacred books is combined with ascetic (tapas ) and meditation (yoga ) practices. In Judaism, after the destruction of the Temple and in the subsequent Diaspora, a class of nonpriestly leaders called rabbis sought to construct a system of worship in which the study of the Torah is a central mode of honoring God. This Torah piety also provides insights into the commandments (mitsvot ) that govern the lives of devout Jews. To replace the Temple sacrifices, the rabbis composed prayers for the use of their synagogues (such as the Prayer of Eighteen Blessings) and introduced the practice of reciting Deuteronomy 6:49 and 11:1331 and Numbers 15:3741 (the shma ). Worship is conducted in the presence of the Torah scroll, and the leader of the worship stands in front of the ark housing it. Another innovation is the public reading of the Torah and exposition of scripture. In Christian liturgy, scriptural readings, from the Old and New Testaments, are incorporated into the liturgy and are often followed by a homily. In Islam, the Qur$an is the object of ubiquitous veneration and devotion. Wrapped in silk, it is stored as the most sacred object in the room and must not be handled in a state of ritual impurity.

The reading of sacred scripture also plays a key role in other religions, such as Sikhism and Buddhism. The ĀdiGranth, draped in silk and placed on a cot under an awning, is the central object of worship in every Sikh gurdwārā, and offerings of money, flowers, and food are made to it. On special occasions there is nonstop recitation by a relay of readers. In Buddhism, the simplest act of devotion is homage in front of the image, usually of the Buddha, accompanied by an offering of flowers, incense, and candles. In this ritual the devotee, particularly in the Theravada tradition, takes refuge in the three jewels, that is, the Buddha, the dhamma (teaching), and the samgha (community). Because of the emphasis on the Buddhas teaching, one important component of Buddhist liturgy is the recitation and chanting of the sacred texts, such as the tipitaka. In Tibetan Buddhism, the reading by a monk of a specific text, often a version of the Prajñápáramitá in 100,000 verses or 8,000 verses, is done if possible once a year in each household to insure blessings for the family.

In addition to the official liturgy, other acts of worship, conventionally referred to as popular religion or devotion, play a no less important role in the piety of the faithful. Among these are fasting (e.g., during Ramadan for Muslims, during Lent for Christians, on certain festivals for Jews, and throughout the year for Buddhists), pilgrimage (e.g., the hajj for Muslims, circumambulation in Tibetan Buddhism, visits to sacred places for Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians), meditation (in yoga, Zen Buddhism, and Daoism), ancestor worship (in Confucianism) and the feeding of hungry ghosts (in Buddhism), veneration of saints (in Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy), the cult of relics and images (in Roman Catholicism and Buddhism), life-cycle rituals (the samskára in Hinduism and the sacraments in Christianity), the sanctification of time by means of the Liturgy of the Hours and the sacred calendar, the taking of vows, healing and exorcism, and so on.

Worship is the lifeblood of religion. Ever-changing and yet permanent, this universal phenomenon represents the response, both of the individual and the community, to the presence of God or a supernatural being. While historical and theological studies of worship have revealed much of its nature and developments, much still remains controversial, especially regarding the origins of worship and sacrifice, the relation between worship and ideology, the social dimensions of worship and devotion, the role of goddesses and women in worship, the relation between worship and personal cultivation in meditation, the relation between the local and translocal traditions of practice, and the impact of postmodernism and globalization on worship.

SEE ALSO Buddha; Buddhism; Christianity; Church, The; Hinduism; Islam, Shia and Sunni; Jainism; Jesus Christ; Judaism; Lay Theories; Muhammad; Nation of Islam; Religion; Rituals; Sikhism; Supreme Being; Symbols

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beyer, Stephan. 1973. The Cult of Tárá: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Bradshaw, Paul, ed. 2002. The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox.

Cragg, Kenneth, and R. Marston Speight, eds. 1980. Islam from Within: Anthology of a Religion. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Faure, Bernard, ed. 2003. Chan Buddhism in Ritual Context.London and New York: Routledge Curzon.

Fink, Peter, ed. 1990. The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Lopez, Donald, Jr., ed. 1997. Religions of Tibet in Practice.Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Phan, Peter C. 2004. Being Religious Interreligiously: Asian Perspectives on Interfaith Dialogue. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

Rodrigues, Hillary. 2003. Ritual Worship of the Great Goddess: The Liturgy of the Durgá Pújá with Interpretations. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Schipper, Kristofer. 1993. The Taoist Body. Trans. Karen C.Duval. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wainwright, Geoffrey, and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, eds.2006. The Oxford History of Christian Worship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Peter C. Phan

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Worship

Worship. The offering of devotion, praise, and adoration to that which is deemed worthy of such offering, usually God. Worship of that which is less than God as though it is equivalent to God, especially if it is addressed to particular images, is idolatry. In non-theistic religious, worship is more usually expressed as gratitude to the enlightened guide or guides, as with Buddhists and Jains.

More often, however, worship is associated with the adoration of the supreme Being, the unproduced Producer of all that is, from whom all things and all events ultimately come, and to whom all things return. This sense of the transcendence of God necessarily evokes worship. From this sense of the absolute majesty, holiness, and supremacy of God derives Israel's life of worship, of the constant recognition of God in Temple, sacrifice, Psalms, pilgrimage, and eventually synagogue, liturgy, and Prayer Book—epitomized in kiddush ha-Shem. By wearing the tefillin, an observant Jew bears on his body a constant worship of God.

Christians inherited this sense of God's independence from, and yet concern for, the universe which he has created—and in particular they inherited the Psalms, which from the start informed their religious intelligence and became the backbone of prayer and devotion. But Christianity recognizes in Jesus the incarnate presence of God, through whom praise and worship is offered to the Father—in other (less contingent) words, transcendence and immanence are held together in the reality of Jesus’ own prayer.

Islam shares the Jewish sense of the absolute uniqueness and oneness (tawhīd) of God. Since this and its consequences (not least in belief and behaviour) are made known in the Qurʾān, the very chanting of the Qurʾān (even without a knowledge of what it means) becomes an act of worship. But the acknowledgement of God is so fundamental that it becomes a daily obligation in ṣalāt, and an annual obligation in ṣawm, the month-long fast in Ramaḍān—both of these being among the Five Pillars of Islam. But Muslim devotion goes far beyond obligation, spectacularly so in the case of the Sūfīs.

An attitude of worship and devotion is equally characteristic of Hindus and it defies brief description. Worship (pūjā) is held and sustained in the home (where there is likely to be a small shrine devoted to a particular deity), but it readily flows out into temples and shrines, and into many practices of particular devotion. Since Hindus in general believe that Brahman becomes manifest in many different ways, there are many different forms of the deity. More formal communal worship may be expressed through dance and drama, or through the singing in groups of kīrtana and bhajana (‘songs of praise’). These are usually associated with bhakti, a particularly powerful tradition of devotion and praise. But for the Hindu, the human relation to the divine is possible at all times: every circumstance can be an occasion of the divine. It is this which underlies the importance in worship of mantra, maṇḍala, and yantra. For the Hindu, worship is as natural as birth and death: it is the bridge which connects the one to the other.

See also YASNA.

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worship

wor·ship / ˈwərshəp/ • n. the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity: the worship of God ancestor worship. ∎  the acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity; a religious ceremony or ceremonies: the church was opened for public worship. ∎  adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle: Krushchev threw the worship of Stalin overboard. ∎ archaic honor given to someone in recognition of their merit. ∎  [as title] (His/Your Worship) chiefly Brit. used in addressing or referring to an important or high-ranking person, esp. a magistrate or mayor: we were soon joined by His Worship the Mayor. • v. (-shiped , -ship·ing ; also -shipped, -ship·ping) [tr.] show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites: the Maya built jungle pyramids to worship their gods. ∎  treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity: she adores her sons and they worship her. ∎  [intr.] take part in a religious ceremony: he went to the cathedral because he chose to worship in a spiritually inspiring building. DERIVATIVES: wor·ship·er (also wor·ship·per) n.

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worship

worship (arch.) good name, credit, dignity, importance; respect shown OE.; veneration of a power held divine XIII. OE. weorðsċipe, wurð-, wyrð-, f. weorð WORTH2 + -sċipe -SHIP.
Hence worship vb. XII. ME. worpshipie. worshipful XIII; as an honorific title XIV.

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Worship

Worship

of writers: authors collectivelyBk. of St. Albans, 1486.

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worship

worshipblip, chip, clip, dip, drip, equip, flip, grip, gyp, harelip, hip, kip, lip, nip, outstrip, pip, quip, rip, scrip, ship, sip, skip, slip, snip, strip, tip, toodle-pip, trip, whip, yip, zip •biochip • microchip • woodchip •sheepdip • skinny-dip • rosehip •landslip • payslip •fillip, Philip •gymslip • side-slip • polyp • oxlip •cowslip • pillowslip •julep, tulip •Cudlipp • paperclip • catnip • parsnip •turnip • handgrip • cantrip • hairgrip •airstrip • filmstrip • kirby grip •weatherstrip • gossip • airship •midship • kinship • godship • warship •gunship • worship • wingtip •fingertip • horsewhip • bullwhip •bunyip

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Worship

WORSHIP

WORSHIP , service rendered to God and comprehending both the attitude of reverence and love toward the Deity and the activity – in conduct as well as ritual – in which the homage finds expression.

Terminology

The biblical vocabulary of worship is extensive and varied. The following are the principal terms employed:

1. hishtaḥawah, "to prostrate oneself," is the most frequently used (86 times);

2. ʿavad, "to serve";

3. yare', "to revere";

4. sheret, "to minister," especially in a cultic sense;

5. darash, "to seek, inquire";

6. sagad (Heb.), seged (Aram.) (both in Daniel), "to bow."

There are also other terms used to express various liturgical acts and the feelings of joy awakened by worship.

Ideological Basis

The earlier version of this entry hewed closely to the position of Yehezkel *Kaufmann whose work, though ingenious, overstated the contrasts between Israel and its neighbors. In addition, as was true of his contemporaries, Kaufmann equated the religion of ancient Israel with the religion of the Bible. The present revised entry concentrates on the biblical view of worship, namely that Israelites must worship Yahweh alone, without equating that view with the actual patterns of worship in ancient Israel, which require separate investigation. For all its distinctiveness, Israelite religion fit neatly into ancient Near Eastern patterns. Like their neighbors, the Hebrews had no concept of nature or its immutable laws. As such, they believed that it was possible to influence the powers that be in human favor by acts of ritual and worship. God might sometimes be spoken of as beyond human understanding (Isa. 40:28; 55:9; Ps. 145:3; Job 5:9) but is accessible nonetheless. Humans turn to the divine, sometimes out of a sense of wonderment and awe, of reverence and gratitude, of joy and trust, which call forth a desire for adoration and thanksgiving. At other times distress and danger impel people to seek God's help, for He is the ultimate source of salvation (Isa. 43:11; Hos. 13:4). God is perceived as both near (Ps. 145:18) and far (Ps. 22:12). Sin estranges humans from God. In biblical thinking rebellion against the Divine will, revealed in His commandments, and the breaching of His eternal covenant, creates a gulf between divinity and humanity, which only atonement can bridge. Penitents seek expiation for their transgressions through confession and sacrifice (Lev. 4 and 16). There are times when the acts of an inscrutable providence result in human challenge and protest (Gen. 18:24; Jer. 12:1ff.; Job, passim). Biblical worship had room for all these human reactions.

Israel's contemporaries had forms of worship analogous to those of Israel; Hebrews and their neighbors shared the notion that it was possible for humans to have some control over their destinies. Both Yahweh and his divine contemporaries demanded the service of the clean of hand and pure of heart (Ps. 24:4; Egyptian Book of the Dead, chapter 125).

Humans have always been conscious of a certain duality in divine worship. In a Hittite inscription designated Instructions for Temple Officials it is stated:

Are the minds of men and of the gods generally different? No! …When a servant is to stand before his master, he is bathed and clothed in clean [garments]; he either gives him his food, or he gives him his beverage. And because he, his master, eats [and] drinks, he is relaxed in spirit and feels one with him. But if he [the servant] is ever remiss, [if] he is inattentive, his mind is alien to him. And if a slave causes his master's anger, they will either kill him… (anet, Pritchard, Texts, p. 207).

The author discerns a twofold approach to the deity:

(a) the avoidance of uncleanness and whatever else may vex the divinity;

(b) the provision of offerings.

The same negative and positive approaches to God are reflected in the positive precepts and prohibitions of the Torah. The two aspects are found, for example, in the ritual laws of purification and the ceremonial observances, respectively. They are likewise discerned on the higher level of ethical conduct: wrongdoing is to be eschewed and righteousness is to be pursued in the service of God (Isa. 1:16–17). For worship is not solely or even primarily a matter of ritual. It is of supreme significance that in Micah's formulation of the fundamentals of religion two of the three requirements ("to do justly and to love loving kindness") concern human relationships, and only the third ("to walk humbly with thy God") refers to the Deity (6:8). The Hittites and the Hebrews depicted their gods in human imagery. Both required just and ethical conduct along with ritual, as did the Egyptian and Mesopotamian gods.

Emphasis is often given to the antithesis between cultic observances and righteous conduct. The former is deemed to belong to the priestly conception of religion, whereas the prophets, it is held, rejected ritual and stressed the spiritual approach to God. To some extent this is true. The fact that prophets often railed against the mechanical potency of ritual proves that the concept had deep roots, encouraged of course by the priesthood (Lev. 16:30, 34), whose income depended on it (Hos. 4:8). Yet, the Bible does not show a hard and fast dichotomy. Priests could also be prophets (Jeremiah, Ezekiel); prophets, when necessary, emphasized the importance of ritual requirements (Ezek. 40–48; Haggai 1:2ff.; Mal. 1:8, 12–14). The Torah ordains cultic regulations in juxtaposition to its formulation of ethical principles (e.g., Ex. 20:8–14; Lev. 19:15–22), or synthesizes them into a single law (e.g., Deut. 16:14). Late prophetic teaching lent support to this view (Mal. 3:4–5). The attempt to interpret liturgical and ethical requirements as diametrical opposites serves to compartmentalize the life of the worshiper; the Bible seeks to make it whole. It points to the ultimate purpose of religion in key passages like these: "And thou shalt love the Lord, thy God…" (Deut. 6:5); "And thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself" (Lev. 19:18); "For I desire loving kindness and not sacrifice…" (Hos. 6:6). Worship unites in itself both outward forms and religious inwardness. At the same time some of Israel's religious teachers realized that there was a tension between the observance of the external rites and the inner content of religion in which lurked the danger of formalism and hypocrisy. The prophets inveighed against these tendencies. They denounced corrupting wealth and callous indifference to the needs of the poor (Amos 3:12, 15; 4:1ff.; 5:11; 6:4–6); sacrifices and celebrations that were rooted in unrighteousness and insincerity (Amos 5:21ff.; Isa. 1:11ff.); and taking advantage of religious festivals to engage in illicit sexual behavior (Amos 2:7; Hos. 4:13ff.); whoring after the Baals (Hos. 2ff.; Jer. 3:1ff.); the intemperance and evildoing of priests and false prophets (Isa. 28:7ff.; Hos. 4:4–10); and the horror of sacrificing children to Moloch/Baal (Jer. 7:31; 32:35; cf. Lev. 18:21; Deut. 18:10). Even the Temple was not spared when it ceased to be a center of holiness (Jer. 7:11ff.; Micah 3:12). The prophets did not hesitate to condemn practices that were inherently good but had become vitiated by dishonorable conduct and iniquitous living (Amos 5:21–24; Isa. 1:11ff.; Jer. 6:20). The prophets did not disapprove of sacrifices if offered in sincerity and truth (Mal. 3:4). It was to falsehood and evil that they were opposed. They demanded loyal obedience to the will of God instead of the sacrilege of a cult that was no more than blasphemous hypocrisy (Hos. 6:6; Jer. 7:21–23; Micah 6:6–8; cf. Ps. 51:16ff.). Righteous living was fundamental to true worship. But in a different constellation of circumstances the later prophets, in particular, urged earnest devotion to the forms of organized religion as vital to the survival of the faith and the nation.

The Elements of Biblical Worship

The fabric of Israel's worship was woven of many strands. These may be summarized as acts of purification; dietary laws; sacrifices, tithes, and other offerings; the observance of the Sabbath, festivals, and fast-days; and prayer understood in its broadest sense.

The laws of defilement and purity – largely in Leviticus (e.g., 14:9; 15:11; 17:15–16), Numbers (ch. 19), and Deuteronomy (e.g., 21:1–9) – and the dietary regulations (Lev. 11; Deut. 12:16; 14:4ff.), irrespective of their conjectured origin, form in the Bible part of the law of holiness (Lev. 11:44). "I shall wash my hands in innocence" (Ps. 26:6; cf. 73:13; 24:4).

In a sense, the sacrifices – both public and private – the firstlings, the first fruits, as well as the tithes and other priestly and levitical dues (Ex. 13:11ff.; Lev. 1–7; 27:30–33; Num. 5:9ff.; 15:18ff.; 18:8ff.; Deut. 12:17ff.; 14:22–29; 15:19ff.; 24:19–21; 26:1–14) are comparable to taxes, rents, and fines (R.H. Pfeiffer). Yet as was true in other ancient religious systems, the sacrificial system was a dramatic approach to the divine, an act of homage and thanksgiving (Ps. 24:1; i Chron. 29:14), or of expiation (in His grace God accepts the oblation instead of the sacrificer's life). Hence when the true significance of the offerings was forgotten it was said that God actually revoked them (Isa. 1:11; Ps. 50:8ff.).

The Sabbath and the other holy days of Israel's calendar have played an immeasurable role in developing and ennobling Israel's worship. The attempt to find the origin of the Sabbath in the Babylonian šapattu has proved abortive. Whatever its origin, the idea of the Sabbath in the scriptural context is a unique institution, meant to articulate divine sovereignty over time, just as the sabbatical year articulates divine sovereignty over territory. From one point of view, it was Israel's answer to the Egyptian bondage; any human being, even a slave, needs rest. Not only humans, but also animals require recuperation from toil (Ex. 23:12; Deut. 5:12–15). In the Exodus version of the Decalogue, the Sabbath assumes cosmic significance; it becomes a memorial to the story of Creation (Ex. 20:8–11; cf. Gen. 2:1–4). Nor were the prophets less emphatic in stressing the hallowed character of the day (Isa. 58:13–14; Ezek. 20:20), and Nehemiah took stern measures to enforce its observance. An extension of the Sabbath idea is to be seen in the sabbatical year (Ex. 23:10ff.; Deut. 15) and in the year of jubilee (Lev. 25).

Like the Sabbath, the festivals were designed to bring the worshiper nearer to God. They were occasions of deep religious joy (Deut. 16:15; Neh. 8:10ff.). Biblical religion, while deploring all forms of intemperance and overindulgence, nevertheless looked askance at asceticism. Wine was created to gladden the human heart (Ps. 104:15). The Lord was to be served in gladness (Ps. 100:2; cf. Shab. 30b). Modern research has conjectured that certain biblical festivals are derived from earlier lunar and solar celebrations in antiquity, or are related to Canaanite agricultural feasts, which have been adapted to Israelite thinking. Without entering into the validity of these theories, it must be stressed that the religious significance of these observances is not in their supposed origin, but in their scriptural presentation. The paschal offering and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 12; Deut. 16:5–6; Ezek. 45:21), and the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) or of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:34ff.; Num. 29:12–39; Deut. 16:13–15; 31:10–13) mark respectively the barley harvest and vintage time. As such they had a thanksgiving character; they gave expression to the Israelite's gratitude to God for the earth's bounty. But to the agricultural aspect a historical element was added: Passover calls to mind the deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12–13; 23:15; Deut. 16:1–8) and Tabernacles is a reminder of the Lord's care for Israel during their desert wanderings (Lev. 23:43). Israel found God not only in the phenomena of the world, but also in the providential course of events. This historical insight plays an important role in Israel's worship, both in its ceremonial and in its prayers (e.g. Ps. 136; i Chron. 16:8ff.). The Feast of Weeks (Ex. 34:22; Deut. 16:10 – also called the Feast of the Grain Harvest (Ex. 23:16) and the Day of First Fruits (Num. 28:26) – is in its biblical setting a purely agricultural celebration, but in rabbinic times it evolved into the festival of the giving of the Torah at Sinai. Characteristically, too, when farmers brought their first fruits before the Lord, they expressed gratitude in a succinct historical review (Deut. 26:5–10). Minor celebrations, such as Purim (Est.) and Ḥanukkah (the Festival of Dedication; see i*Macc. and ii*Macc.) based on Hellenistic models, obviously have a historical motif. The same is true of the fast days of the fifth and seventh months (Zech. 7:3–5), recalling the fall of Jerusalem. But the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16) is entirely religious in character; and the Day of Blowing the Horn, called New Year – Rosh Ha-Shanah – in rabbinic literature (Lev. 23:24; Num. 29:1), and the New Moon (Num. 28:11ff.; i Sam. 20:5ff.; ii Kings 4:23, etc.) and the Feast of the Wood Offering (Neh. 10:35; 13:31) were likewise unrelated to historical events. It should also be noted that the special sacrifices (Num. 28–29) which marked all the major celebrations served to emphasize the religious nature of these occasions; and the inwardness of these observances was illuminated by prophetic teaching (Isa. 1:11ff.; 58:3ff.; Joel 2:13).

Finally it should be observed that biblical worship might be individual and collective. Examples of personal worship abound throughout the Bible: the Patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, Hannah, and Hezekiah, among others. Without doubt David composed a number of prayers (cf. ii Sam. 7:18–29) and some of his compositions are certainly in the Book of Psalms. But apart from this, the Book of Psalms contains a variety of prayers and hymns that voice the personal supplications, hope, faith, and joy of the authors. These may have been subsequently adapted to national or congregational use, but their individual significance was not wholly lost. To the same category of worship belong also the private sacrifices brought to the Temple, although the ritual formed part of the general priestly ministrations.

At the same time the Bible ordains and illustrates various forms of public worship. Of this aspect of worship the Bible likewise furnished innumerable examples (the public sacrifices; the Temple choral services; the statutory assembly prescribed in Deut. 31:10ff.; and historic occasions like those described in i Kings 8:1ff.; Neh. 8:1ff., etc.). The synagogue services of a later period continued the tradition of congregational prayer and study, without excluding opportunities for personal religious meditation.

Developments in Israel's Worship

Biblical religious rites clearly underwent a continuous process of development. The biblical account of worship in the patriarchal age reflects practices originating in different times and places. Altars were built and the name of yhwh proclaimed (Gen. 12:7–8; 13:4). Tithes were given (Gen. 14:20) and sacrifices offered (Gen. 22:13; cf. 4:3–4; 8:20). The Lord entered into a covenant with Abraham, the accompanying ritual being reminiscent of *Mari customs (Gen. 15; cf. Jer. 34:18). Prayer (Gen. 24:12ff.) and acts of purification (35:2ff.) are mentioned. The Patriarchs blessed their children (27:27–29, 39–40; 49:3ff.) and Jacob made a vow (28:20ff.). The Lord blessed the Patriarchs, assured them of His salvation, and promised the land of Canaan to their children (12:2ff.; 26:3–5; 24; 28:13–15, etc.). In some cases the patriarchal tales reflect family religion that persisted through time in ancient Israel, without an elaborate priesthood or sanctuary; the theophany granted a family elder could determine the site of worship.

The *Tabernacle and its cult (Ex. 25–31; 35–40) reflect worship in monarchic as well as exilic and post-exilic Israel. Prophets like Amos, Hosea, and Jeremiah held that the wilderness period determined the basic character of Israel's authentic worship (Amos 5:25; Hos. 2:16–17; Jer. 7:21–23).

At times, syncretism was rife; the prohibitions against taking over Canaanite sacred sites and practices (Deut. 12:2–3; 30–31) prove that such was the case. At times yhwh was worshiped under the guise of Baal; or along with him (i Kings 18; ii Kings 21:3). Saul, Samuel, and David were zealous advocates of the worship of Yahweh alone to exclusion of all other gods, while other kings like *Solomon (see i Kings 11:4), *Ahab, and *Manasseh worshiped other gods alongside Yahweh. David united the nation and chose a central site for worship at the new capital, Jerusalem. He assembled the material for the future Temple and reorganized the priesthood (ii Sam. 8:7–12; 17–18). He is said to have enriched Israel's psalmody and introduced instrumental music into public worship (Amos 6:5; i Chron. 15, 16, and 25). He also organized a processional ceremony in which the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, perhaps on one of the great festivals (ii Sam. 6; cf Ps. 24 and 132). Solomon built the central Temple in Zion, where worship was strongly ecclesiastical – mediated by the priests and levites – and markedly national, with universal tones appearing in Second Temple writings (Isa. 56:6–7; 66:23; Zech. 14:16–19).

[Israel Abrahams /

S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]

Second Temple

The Babylonian Exile seemed at first to be the final catastrophe which must quench the last flickering flame of Israel's true faith (Ezek. 20:32; Ps. 137). But it was just at this tragic juncture in its history that the Jewish people rose to the full stature of its national greatness. Under the inspiration and direction of prophets like Ezekiel and the so-called Deutero-Isaiah, the exiled people transmuted disaster into a new vision of life, which they proceeded to implement with unflagging vigor. Prayer, by no means absent from pre-Exilic worship, began to play an ever greater role; many psalms were composed or elaborated at this period. The first tentative steps were also taken towards the collection of Israel's sacred literature. It may well be that the foundations were then laid of the concept of synagogal worship, which differed radically from the Temple service. It was decentralized, the stage replaced the priest; prayer was substituted for the altar-offerings, scriptural reading and interpretation became a vital component of religious life; and the seeds of religious study and preaching began to burgeon. The accent was on spiritual education. In the words of R.T. Herford: "In all their long history, the Jewish people have done scarcely anything more wonderful than to create the synagogue. No human institution … has done more for the uplifting of the human race." Even if there were no synagogues actually established in the Exile (but see Ezek. 11:16; 33:30–32), they were certainly to be found in Judea by the fourth century b.c.e. They did not rival the Temple but complemented and survived it.

Upon the return of the exiles, in several stages, under the benignant Persian rule, Jewish religious life assumed new spiritual dimensions and an unprecedented dynamism. The people turned their back completely on idolatry, and worship became more spiritualized (cf. Ps. 26:6ff.). Under the persistent urging of the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, the Temple was rebuilt and its worship acquired new dignity and earnestness. The daily and festival sacrifices were, in time, accompanied by a unique treasury of psalmody, to which choral and instrumental music lent great beauty. Ezra, like a second Moses, made the nation Torah conscious as never before (cf. Ps. 1 and 119). Nehemiah, by his firm and able administration, gave the people greater unity and inner strength. According to some historians (notably L. Finkelstein), some of the earliest rabbinic traditions are to be traced back to the Exile period. Be that as it may, Judaism became in the early days of the Second Temple era an impregnable religious citadel that served to preserve Jewish identity, without government or country, through long centuries. But in the final analysis Israel's worship was neither primarily prophylactic nor narrowly national. It was perhaps Israel's greatest contribution to spiritual civilization, and its seminal power was such that it provided the framework and much of the content of Christian and Islamic worship to this day.

[Israel Abrahams]

bibliography:

Y. Kaufmann, Toledot; W.O.E. Oesterly, The Jewish Background of the Christian Liturgy (1925); I. Elbogen, Der juedische Gottesdienst in seiner geschichtlichen Entwicklung (19313); N.H. Snaith, in: H.W. Robinson (ed.), Record and Revelation (1938); H.J. Kraus, Gottesdienst in Israel (1954); D.R. Ap-Thomas, in: vt, 6 (1956), 225–41. add. bibliography: R. Albertz, A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, 2 vols. (1994); K. van der Toorn, Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel (1995); M. Haran, Temples and Temple Service in Ancient Israel (1995); S. Geller, in: A. Berlin and M. Brettler (eds.), The Jewish Study Bible (2004), 2021–40.

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Worship

WORSHIP

Worship in the Buddhist tradition takes many forms and is directed toward many different beings and objects, from images of the Buddha, to his physical remains (relics), to visualized bodhisattvas.

The question of the proper form and purpose of worship is addressed in several places in early Buddhist texts. Some texts stress that the Buddha should not be worshiped at all, but rather that the dharma (Pāli, dhamma) should be the focus of Buddhist practice. Thus, in the Saṃyuttanikāya (Connected Discourses), a monk named Vakkali expresses his desire to see and worship the Buddha, who sharply rebukes him: "What is the sight of this putrid body to you? He who sees the dhamma, Vakkali, he sees me; he who sees me, he sees the dhamma" (SN 3.120). Variations of this attitude toward worship of the Buddha can be found in a variety of early texts. In the Dīghanikāya (Group of Long Discourses), for instance, there is a scene in which the Buddha, having been showered by flowers from a blossoming tree, tells his chief disciple and faithful attendant, Ānanda, that such outward displays of worship are not appropriate; rather, the best form of worship of the Buddha is following the dharma (DN 2.138). Likewise, in the MahĀparinirvĀṆasŪtra (Pāli, Mahāparinibbana-sutta; Great Discourse on the Nirvāṇa), when Ānanda learns that the Buddha is about to die and is in anguish at the thought of the loss of his beloved teacher, the Buddha tells him that his physical presence is not necessary, for he has left the dharma, and that is the only guiding light that Ānanda and the other disciples will need. Scholars and Buddhists alike have frequently taken this famous episode as indicative of the Buddha's own attitude toward worship: Focus on learning and following the dharma, not on worshiping the physical form of the Buddha, which leads only to grasping.

However, in another famous episode in the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra, Ānanda asks the Buddha what should be done with his bones after his cremation, and he tells him that his remains should be gathered up and placed inside a stŪpa (Pāli, thūpa) built at the intersection of four great roads. There, the Buddha says, his followers can come to "offer a garland, or scent, or paint, or make a salutation, or feel serene joy in their heart, which will be to their benefit and well-being for a long time" (DN 2.142). This clearly sets a different precedent for worship, one that encourages worship of the physical objects related to the Buddha as an opportunity to honor the departed teacher and to establish an emotional connection to him. This practice, called buddhānusmṛti (Pāli, buddhānusati; recollection of the Buddha), involves the worshiper in creating through meditation a mental image of the Buddha that can, then, be mentally worshiped. This form of worship is common in both the TheravĀda and MahĀyĀna school traditions.

The great Buddhist ruler AŚoka (third century b.c.e.) is credited with having spread the relics and thus their worship by dividing the original eight portions into eighty-four thousand parts and enshrining them in stūpas throughout India. Such relics are often said to embody the Buddha, and thus are worshiped as extensions of his person. From at least the third century b.c.e. relic veneration has been one of the most important forms of worshiping the Buddha, and it continues to be at the core of worship in much of the Buddhist world. In contemporary Sri Lanka, for example, the Temple of the Tooth, which houses what is said to be one of the Buddha's canines, is visited by thousands of Buddhists daily and is perhaps the most important religious structure in the country.

In addition to the worship of the Buddha's physical remains, sculptural images are important objects of worship. Early Buddhism tended to represent the Buddha in iconic forms—via his footprints, an empty throne, the tree under which he attained enlightenment, the wheel of dharma—in order to emphasize his physical absence from the world and to prevent his followers from grasping on to the person of the Buddha. At both SĀÑcĪ and Bhārhut, two of the earliest Indian sites from which there are sculptural remains, there is evidence that such objects were worshiped in much the same way that the Buddha describes the proper worship of his relics: Offerings are made of flowers and the worshipers bow down in respect, forming the añjali mudrā, or gesture of reverence and respect.

Sculptural images of the Buddha himself began to appear sometime around the turn of the first millennium. These images focus on significant moments in the biography of the Buddha, such as his enlightenment or his defeat of MĀra. In medieval India, a set of eight episodes from the Buddha's life—the aṣṭamahāprātihārya—became a common sculptural motif, and allowed the worshiper to honor and venerate the entire life of the Buddha in a single image.

Perhaps the most common form of worship in the Buddhist world is buddha pūjā, literally "honoring the Buddha," which can be performed both in the formal setting of a monastery or at a home shrine. It typically involves making some sort of offering to a Buddha image or relic or stūpa—a flower, a small lamp, food, or even money. When buddha pūjā is performed in a monastery, the worshiper first removes his or her shoes, washes the object to be offered to purify the offering, and then approaches the image or stūpa with hands clasped in the añjali gesture of respect. The object is then offered, and the worshiper bows down or prostrates before the image or stūpa. Such worship focuses the mind of the worshiper on the Buddha and his teachings and also generates merit. Although buddha pūjā can be performed at any time, it is particularly important to worship the Buddha in this manner on poṣadha (Pāli, uposatha) days and on special holidays, such as the Buddha's birthday, Vesak.

In the Mahāyāna tradition, in addition to worship that is directed toward the Buddha, bodhisattvas and other divinities (such as Tārā and Prajñāpāramitā) are objects of great devotion. In the Pure Land schools, AmitĀbha in particular is worshiped; proper veneration of and faith in Amitābha, in some schools attained through the fervent recitation of his name, leads to rebirth in his Pure Land.

Finally, not only are buddhas and bodhisattvas the object of worship, but also monks, since one should honor and worship one's teacher as a living embodiment of the Buddha's teachings. In Thailand, the relics of famous monks are often objects of great devotion and worship. Likewise, in China and Japan, the mummified bodies of important monks are sometimes preserved as living presences, and in many Buddhist schools in Tibet, one worships one's lama in the same way that one would honor the Buddha himself.

See also:Buddha Images; Buddhānusmṛti (Recollection of the Buddha); Dharma and Dharmas; Merit and Merit-Making; Relics and Relics Cults

Bibliography

Eckel, Malcom David. To See the Buddha: A Philosopher's Quest for the Meaning of Emptiness. San Francisco: Harper, 1992.

Kinnard, Jacob N. Imaging Wisdom: Seeing and Knowing in the Art of Indian Buddhism. Richmond, UK: Curzon Press, 1999.

Trainor, Kevin. Relics, Ritual, and Representation in Buddhism: Rematerializing the Sri Lankan Theravāda Tradition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Jacob N. Kinnard

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Worship

WORSHIP

In Anglo-Saxon, "weorð-scipe" meant "worthship," in which "worth" is to be understood in the sense of value or honor. Worship, therefore, originally meant the state of worth, the quality of being valuable or worthy. In the course of time, the word, both as a noun and as a verb, acquired a considerable variety of meanings, and at present almost defies definition. In general it may be said, however, that in the present usage of the word, worship has less to do with the state that commands respect or adoration than with the attitude or act of adoring. In a very general way, "worship" expresses the response of religious man to the Holy as he apprehends it: his attitude of submission, devotion, respect, and veneration, and the acts prompted by this attitude, his "Godward" dispositions and activities. The Holy is experienced by homo religiosus as an invitation, an address, an Anspruch; his response to it, internally as well as externally, in private as well as in public manifestation, in a free and spontaneous expression, as well as in the form of a rigidly fixed ritual, is worship. One could say, therefore, that worship is basically religion itself, in as far as it stresses the conscious involvement or devotion of man. It is the virtue of religion and its exteriorization in religious acts.

The function of worship is, in the first place, to make the Sacred present in the awareness of the worshiper or the worshiping community, as the power of being that safeguards, preserves, renews, or rejuvenates existence, not only in man, society, and mankind, but also in nature and the universe. By making the Holy present, or by recognizing and celebrating the reality of its presence in the world, worship is instrumental also in maintaining the cosmic order as the conditio sine qua non of life and salvation. By establishing his relation with the Holy, by acknowledging his total dependence on it, the worshiper participates in the Sacred; he recognizes himself as homo religiosus; he integrates himself in the sacredness of the cosmos; he lives in the powerful presence of the gods; and, in this state of communion, he is restored to his right relation to the universe. Even where the totally other character of the Holy is emphasized to such an extent that there is no awareness of possible communication with this Transcendence, the function of worship as a spiritual enrichment of man remains. A typical example is that of the Jains; they venerate the Tirthankaras, who are so far above all earthly things that they can neither perceive nor reward the acts of worship shown them. Nevertheless, the Jains continue to worship them, believing that it purifies their hearts and so brings them closer to their object. But it is not only the individual worshiper who finds a force of integration in worship; public worship likewise binds together those who share the same religious experience and serves to integrate the group. One might even say that, at least in archaic societiesin primitive cultures as well as higher civilizationsworship is the primary integrating factor of the group.

Object and Objects of Worship. Worship is bound up with the belief that there is a Transcendent Reality, and with at least implicit acknowledgment that man is meaningfully related to this Reality as to the end to which he aspires or should aspire. Thus Transcendence can be the only object of authentic worship. Its personal or impersonal character need not be treated here. However, the Transcendent, or the Holy, can become the object of worship only by manifesting itself or by being manifested: the necessary locus and focus of worship is the hierophany. Only by some sort of embodiment can the Holy become accessible. There is an immense variety of hierophaniescosmic, biological, local, and symbolicbecause absolutely everything that exists is a potential manifestation of the Sacred, and can, therefore, somewhere at some time become a hierophany, or be transfigured into one.

The error of popular theories about fetishism, nature worship, worship of stones, etc., results from a failure to understand the instrumentality of these hierophanies. Objects that become hierophanies are venerated, not because of what they are in themselves, but only because and insofar as they reveal what they are not; insofar as they point beyond themselves to the "wholly other" of which they are but a manifestation. Either by their appearancenovelty, unusual shape, unusual circumstances under which they appear, strength, beauty, monstrosity, etc.or by consecration, they embody the Holy for the worshiper. They are transparent for their sacred meaning. Idolatry, the act directly opposed to worship with regard to the object, is precisely a misapprehension of a hierophany: an object that should be only instrumental in worship, because it is related to the Holy it reveals, becomes the end of veneration itself. Anything less than supremacy is fundamentally disqualified as an object of authentic worship. A holy statue, for example, may be worshiped only insofar as it is precisely a statue, i.e., a representation of the Sacred. The danger of idolatry looms when the hierophanic nature of the object becomes dimmed in the religious awareness of the believers. An idol frequently is such a outworn survival of a hierophany; it is no longer transparent, it blocks the view.

In a wider sense one may call objects of worship those things also that are in some way connected with worship, such as vestments or ceremonial attire, cult tools, and musical instruments. Entering the sphere of the Holy, these acquire the qualities of the Sacred either by a consecration ad hoc, or simply by being used in sacred activities; they are set apart, and may not be used by unqualified persons or for profane purposes. They share in the ambivalence, and consequently also in the taboos, of the Sacred. They belong to a different ontological level than other objects that are the same materially. In this way, they may in their turn stand for the Holy as fullfledged hierophanies.

Attitude and Act of Worship. Worship can be an attitude as well as an act, inward as well as outward. As an attitude it is a state of consciousness in which the presence of the Holy is experienced, or in which the Holy is experienced as present. As an act it is an attempt to establish contact or communication with the Holy, or a celebration of its presence. Attitude and act have a reciprocal influence: the attitude of worship inspires and prompts the acts, but devotional acts also create and foster the attitude proper to worship. Very often such acts succeed in making the Sacred present in the awareness of the worshiper, and in so doing they elicit the responsive attitude of religious man. Because of the ambivalent nature of the Holy, which, as R. otto has shown, is a simultaneity of mysterium tremendum and mysterium fascinans, the attitude of worship is equally ambivalent and characterized, in various degrees of amalgamation, by both awe, culminating in terror, and attraction, culminating in intimate communion or even ecstatic identification with the Holy.

Fundamentally opposed to the attitude of worship is that of magic. The attitude of worship, indeed, is an unequivocal and submissive acknowledgment of a transcendent power, whereas the attitude of magic is rather an attempt to dominate and manipulate power. Magic ceremonies, therefore, although they may look very much like acts of worship, are intrinsically opposed to them because they are expressions of a different underlying attitude. In practice, however, it is often very difficult to determine where worship ends and magic begins, or where the boundary is between the ερς λόγος of an authentic act of religion and the magic formula or incantation. This difficulty can exist not only because of a superficial and extrinsic similarity, but also because, even in the so-called higher religions, magic and superstition frequently accompany true worship. The difficulty of distinguishing between the respective attitudes of worship and magic is increased also by the fact that worship, although essentially submissive, does not necessarily exclude an often legitimate self-esteem, and that magic, although essentially dominating its object, does not exclude at all the awe-like terror that the power it attempts to manipulate may not be entirely under control. Magic very often is an outgrowth of an exaggerated fixation or ritualization of worship; the formula or the rite is then no longer the expression of a religious experience, but rather a substitute for it. A certain temptation to magic seems, in all religions, to be inherent in a misapprehension of the relation between attitude and act in worship.

An important distinction, in respect to the attitude of worship, is the classical one between the do ut des and the do ut abeas attitudes underlying sacrifices or offerings. They obviously correspond to the ambivalent nature of the Sacred, the object of worship; the exchange of gifts expresses the desire to establish communication with the fascinosum, while the apotropaic rites express the horror sacer for the tremendum. However much the Sacred is the Absolute for the believer, nevertheless its supernatural and superhuman character may be felt as a menace to the limitations of created and fallen existence. Homo religiosus worships with awareness that the object of his worship can be auspicious or harmful, even dangerous. In fact, it is always dangerous if he is not duly prepared for this encounter with the totally other.

Another important distinction is that made by L. Frobenius, between Ausdruck, the spontaneous expression of a personal experience, and Anwendung, the faithful execution of certain prescriptions, usually with a well-defined purpose. There seems to be a dialectical movement in process between both types: the spontaneous Ausdruck type, especially in its social aspects of public worship, has a tendency to change into an Anwendung type. However, the multiplication of ritual stipulations and prescriptionsand one needs only to think of the Vedic sacrifice of the horse, which required a careful preparation of up to two yearsprovokes a new reaction in the form of a "worship in spirit and truth" (Jn 4.24). On the one hand, there is a permanent danger that the ritual, which tends to overemphasize the importance of a fixed traditional form, may smother the inwardness of personal attitude and the spontaneity of individual expression. On the other hand, because of his very nature as a social being, man cannot escape the necessity of an embodiment of his worship in the visible and historical institutions of a worshiping community: in commonly accepted symbols, established rites, and concerted action. This dialectic movement between opposite poles is a necessary constituent of worship.

Individual spontaneity and sincerity must inspire and permeate communal worship, but the devotion of a cult community must provide the individual worshiper with a new dimension that not only responds to the social aspect of his religious nature, but also sustains and revitalizes his personal relation to the Sacred, making the Sacred more forcefully present to him than it usually is in the individual expression. E. Durkheim certainly went too far in making the collective self the object of worship, which in turn is of its very nature the expression of the collectivity. But the importance of corporate worship should not be underestimated. There is a reciprocal influence between society and worship. Society creates communal forms of contact with the Holy, but worship also integrates society and creates specific cult associations, which have their initiation ceremonies and from which strangers are excluded.

Forms of Worship. The forms of worship are extremely diversified because religion is a dimension of man's existential situation itself. Although there is a basic human mode-of-being-in-the-world as such, nevertheless the existential situation is modified profoundly by the concrete circumstances of time, place, cultural background, basic type of economy, sociological system of family and kinship, political organization, and many other factors. The worship of the desert is different from that of the city; the worship of primitives, from that in higher civilizations; the worship of planters, from that of hunters or pastoral nomads; the worship of a matriarchal people, from that of a patriarchal society; the worship of a small sib-type community of pygmies, from that of a strongly organized and dynastic state; the worship of a secret society, from the public cult in the same tribe; strict monotheism, from the worship of a religion in which a plurality of gods, and often other supernatural beings, are venerated; and the worship of a people with a highly developed priesthood and liturgical books, from that in which the head of the family or the clan conducts the cult activities according to oral traditions. Very often open and esoteric cults are found within the same religion. Age, sex, and position in society may command particular forms of worship; so also important events in human existence, such as birth, puberty, marriage, and death. Always, however, there are certain basic structures of worship.

Prayer. The typical form of individual worship is prayer; the typical form of social or public worship is cult, or ritual. However, the term "cult" is sometimes taken in a wider sense to include prayer, and in this case cult and worship are practically synonymous. The division adopted here seems to be the most convenient for a general classification of worship, but should not be applied too strictly. In fact, prayer may be, on the one hand, a social expression of worship and it may be associated with certain embryonic rites, such as the gestures (raising or folding of the hands), appropriate poses of the body (standing, kneeling, stooping, prostration), musical accompaniment, dance, and similar actions. On the other hand, prayer may be included in cult also as the ερς λόγος, interpreting and co-realizing the ritual. In this case, prayer (λεγόμενα) and ritual (δρώμενα) are complementary aspects of one act of worship. Prayer in its private or individaul form can be the most immediate and most flexible expression of the attitude of worship; sometimes it does not even need formulation, and becomes holy silence, a prayerful state of consciousness. While naturally remaining within the general function of worship, prayer still admits a variety of purposes, from the humble prayer of petition (an implicit acknowledgment at least of the submissive relation of the worshiper to the Transcendent), to that of praise (a disinterested affirmation of the reality and supremacy of the Holy) or to that of quiet union. Where prayer enters public worship, it inevitably becomes subject to a process of fixation, and, like the ritual, the symbolism of ceremonials and the objects and tools of cult, it assumes more and more a traditional and archaic character. Occasionally even a sacred language may develop. This conservatism of religious expression in general is often justified by the professed desire to imitate faithfully the holy deeds of the gods. When the process of estrangement between attitude and expression is completed, the formula or rite, no longer understood, may even become a new hierophany, since its otherness manifests the Sacred. This hieratic character of worship, together with the great emotional impact of religious manifestations, explains also the marked influence of worship on art, especially on poetry, music, and dance.

Cult. Cult is the socially recognized or institutional embodiment of worship in patterns of ceremonial acts, and may be sacrificial or sacramental. Here again the distinction is not absolute; there are intermediary types, and both basic forms may be intricately combined in the same act of worship. Sacrifice is, in the first place, an offering, a gift of man to the gods, and expresses the acknowledgment that the thing offered, or what it stands for, belongs to them. In fact, the thing offered is always in some way a substitution for the offering person: he acknowledges his own belonging to the deity and gives himself in and with his offering. The supreme sacrifice, therefore, even in non-Christian religions, is self-oblation, which, in some religions, may take the form even of self-immolation or ritual suicide. The do ut des formula, explicitly or implicitly connected with many sacrifices, does not necessarily indicate a commercial type of exchange or a bribing of the gods, but rather an establishment of communion by means of a ceremonial exchange of gifts. It is the binding force of mutual gifts that is important in this case.

Sacrificial and Sacramental Forms of Worship. Sacrifice is also essentially a consecration of the offered gift, by which, usually through some sort of transformation or destruction, the gift is totally withdrawn from profane use and assimilated to the Holy. Whether sacrifice means etymologically "to make sacred" or, rather, "to do the sacred," this element is clearly essential to sacrifice: the gift is endowed with a new nature.

Here there is to be noted also a transition from the sacrificial to the sacramental sphere, because consecration is strictly speaking sacramental; it is an act that symbolically effects the communion with the Holy. The act is human, but the activity is divine. The same holds true for the sacrifice of a supernatural being and for the frequently ensuing sacrificial meal. Again, the activity is really divine, and it is by repeating or reenacting the deeds of the gods that man is able to effect communion with the Sacred: his acts are absorbed in the holy activity of the gods. This imitative aspect of cult is evident in the great cult dramas and mystery rituals of the higher religions, but it can be recognized also in the initiation ceremonies of primitive peoples and in such universal phenomena as the dance, e.g., the cosmic dance that repeats the movements of celestial bodies, or the great majority of animal dances. It is very likely, for that matter, that procession, dance, and drama are related expressions, and sometimes various stages of the same ritual reenactment of the great mythical events on the occasion of their celebration in festivals: the origin of nutritive plants, the reproduction of game animals, the coming of the rains, the investiture of the king who represents and safeguards cosmic order, and similar events. To the sacramental forms of worship belong the ritual celebration also of the common, ordinary activities of man, such as eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. These activities are given their true dimension by being related to the prototypical deeds of the gods. It is significant that these forms (sacred meal and ritual intercourse), as well as many other ordinary rites (touch, kiss, etc.), nearly always symbolize communion with the deity. Cult really is the encounter with the gods in the celebration of their mysterious salvific presence.

Importance of Purification Rites in Worship. Precisely because of this communion with the Sacred in cult, purification rites have an essential importance in the life of worship. The Sacred is mysterium tremendum and has to be approached carefully. It is taboo for those who are unprepared. Purification frequently takes the form of washing in water, blood, or the urine of sacred animals, but includes also confession, exorcism, expiation, abstinence from sexual relations or from certain foods, beating, removal of shoes, ritual nakedness, and other practices. Fire, too, is a common and potent purifying substance.

Places and Times of Worship. The object of worship implies the necessity of places and times of worship. If the Transcendent really manifests itself to religious man, it must do so, of necessity, somewhere and at some time. For religious man, there is a holy ground. He has a consciousness of the sacred character of certain peculiar places, where the Holy is manifest to him in some special way, and where, consequently, he attempts to come in contact with it through worship. The place of the hierophany is the natural place of worship. It is qualitatively different from the surrounding space, and beyond its threshold is the meeting place with the gods. There are certain given places of worship, such as forests, rivers, mountains, caves, and springs. Other places are indicated by a theophany or by some sort of an oracle, e.g., or by some extraordinary event's taking place in them and interpreted as a god-sent sign of their holiness. Still other places of worship are manmade: the hearth for the family cult, the tomb (in particular the tombs of holy men), and the house devoted to cult. In this case the hierophanic nature of the place usually is the result of a consecration in which man repeats ritually the cosmogonic act of the gods: he creates his world. For this reason the holy place becomes for religious man the navel of the earth, the center of his world, to which everything else is oriented. It is the cosmos as opposed to chaos.

Cosmic Symbolism of the House of Worship. The cosmic symbolism of the house, and especially of the house of worship, is in many religions very striking: it is an imago mundi. Quite often the opening toward the world of the gods is symbolically represented, e.g., in the roof. Because the sanctuary is the dwelling place of the gods, religious man yearns to live there, and certain acts of worship express this desire in precise fashion, such as pilgrimage and orientation toward the holy place in prayer. Specially consecrated persons may even live in the temple. On the other hand, the sanctuary is also a locus terribilis, and purification rites are connected with the crossing of the threshold. Sometimes certain precincts of the sanctuary may even be all but inaccessible; only the initiated, the priest or the priest-king, may enter this most sacred place of divine presence.

Sacred Time. The sacred time is the era of the gods, the time of the beginning, the illud tempus. In time, as religious man knows it, certain periods mark a beginning: midnight, sunrise, new moon, the start of rains, the equinox. In his own life there are beginnings: birth, coming of age, marriage, even death as a transition to another mode of being. There are beginnings likewise in his social and economic activity: the founding of a village, the investiture of a king, sowing, the opening of hunting or harvesting seasons, the start of a war. Time is not continuous in his experience; it has a rhythm, it is a cycle of birth, growth, decay, death, and regeneration. In this process he recognizes and acknowledges the order instituted by the gods, and he aims at preserving this order because his existence and salvation depend on it.

His worship, therefore, is characterized by a celebration of the active and saving presence of the Holy in time, by his concern to co-realize the repetition of the work of the gods, by his effort to sanctify the great moments of his human existence, and, in general, by his desire to become contemporary with the gods. Worship is rhythmical and cyclical; particular rites mark the sacred moments of the day, the holy days of the week and the month, the holy periods of the year. The well-known "rites of passage" accompany the great events of his life. The calendar points out carefully the precise dates and times for feasts and festivals. The desire to reenact the deeds of the gods in these celebrations is evident, not only from the symbolism of the rites, but also quite frequently from the recitation of the myth that narrates these deeds, as the ερς λόγος of the ritual. Certain rites, such as fasts or vigils, may be required to prepare man for the sacredness of the time of worship.

Ministers of Worship. In the public forms of worship, one or a few members of the worshiping community direct the ritual. Certain acts are their prerogative. In simple religious ceremonies of natural groups, the ministers of the cult are the heads of families or clans, the chiefs or elders of the tribe. But as the cult becomes more elaborate and complicated and thus requires ritual of liturgical competence, specially qualified or specially traine personsmedicine men, shamans, priestsemerge to take charge. They may be elected to this office, assume it by mystical vocation, or receive it through hereditary transmission. They may be a natural choice because of certain talents or psychophysiological qualities, or they may acquire ritual competence only by long training. Their function is to communicate with the Sacred as mediators for the worshiping community. They guarantee the right fulfillment of all ritual prescriptions and the observance of the traditional feasts. Frequently they are the representatives of the godsin the case of divine kingship, even their incarnations. They are the protagonists in the cult drama, ritually imitating the gestures of the gods, wearing the masks or other symbolsbeard, hairdress, vestmentsof the gods they represent, or, in ecstasy, acting under their possession. In coming into close contact with the Holy, the minister has to observe strict taboos and purifications: chastity, celibacy, and other austerities. But on entering the realm of the Sacred, and anointed, he becomes taboo himself, especially during the performance of his sacred functions.

In most religions the ministers of the cult are men, but women may occasionally have important functions, especially in agricultural societies and in the worship of female deities. It is customary for a priest to don vestments of the opposite sex in the worship of androgynous or bisexual deities. A special case is sacred prostitution, where girls or women perform ritual intercourse in the sanctuary of vegetation and fertility deities, sometimes on certain occasions with the minister of the cult, sometimes also on a more or less permanent basis with other worshipers. Both types are reenactments of the hierogamic union between heaven and earth and therefore are ritual acts.

See Also: epiphany; fertility and vegetation cults; magic; myth and mythology; prayer; prostitution (sacred); purification; sacred and profane; stones, sacred.

Bibliography: r. will, Le Culte, 3 v. (Paris 192535). j. cazeneuve, Les Rites et la condition humaine d'après des documents ethnographiques (Paris 1958). s. o. mowinckel Religion und Kultus (Göttingen 1953); Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 4:12026. e. underhill, Worship (New York 1937). a. bertholet, Der Sinn des kultischen Opfers (Abhandlungen der Deutschen (Preussischen, to 1944) Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1942); Grundformen der Erscheinungswelt der Gottesverehrung (Tübingen 1953). l. bouyer, Rite and Man: Natural Sacredness and Christian Liturgy, tr. m. j. costelloe (Notre Dame, Indiana 1963). a. e. jensen, Myth and Cult among Primitive Peoples, tr. m. t. choldin and w. weissleder (Chicago 1963). j. g. frazer, The Worship of Nature (London 1926). a. brunner, Die Religion (Freiburg 1956). m. eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion, tr. r. sheed (New York 1958). f. heiler, Erscheinungsformen und Wesen der Religion (Stuttgart 1961). g. van der leeuw, Religion in Essence and Manifestation, tr. j. e. turner (London 1938; 2 v. Torchbooks New York 1963). a. s. herbert, Worship in Ancient Israel (Richmond 1959). v. p. gro/nbech, Essay on Ritual Drama (London 1931). s. h. hooke, ed., Myth and Ritual (Oxford 1933). k. kerÉnyi, "Vom Wesen des Festes," Paideuma 1 (1938) 5974. Les Danses sacrées (Sources Orientales 6; Paris 1963). a. vorbichler, Das Opfer auf den uns heute noch erreichbaren ältesten Stufen der Menscheitsgeschichte (Mödling 1956). h. hubert and m. maus in Mélanges d'histoire des religions (Paris 1909), English Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function, tr. w. d. halls (Chicago 1964). c. l. albanese, Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age (Chicago 1990). e. hornung, Akhenaten and the Religion of Light (Ithaca 1999). c. l. albanese, Reconsidering Nature Religion (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 2002).

[f. de graeve/eds.]

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