Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2010 | 55 | 1 | 65-89

Article title

PSALM CHANT AS AN INTEGRATING ELEMENT OF JEWISH COMMUNITY IN ANCIENT TIMES (Spiew psalmiczny jako czynnik integrujacy spolecznosc zydowska w dobie starozytnej)

Title variants

Languages of publication



A psalm chant belongs to the basal realm of worship in Jewish communities. Among confessors of Judaism this way of expressing religious emotions had its origin in primaeval and secular tradition, which was cultivated even before Christ. The Books of the Old Testament include the mentions of singing religious chants, and especially psalms that appear already in the earliest texts - among others, in ascribed to Moses Pentateuch. Nowadays, it is commonly accepted that a final drafting of the collection of psalms can be dated to the confines of the 3rd century B. C. At the same time, one cannot say that the oldest psalms do not have much longer history. References to singing psalm chant are confirmed already in the period of the so-called Second Temple, which was built after liberation of Jews from Babylonian slavery after 520 B. C. Apart from ritual character and assignment of psalm chant to strictly religious aims that were strongly conditioned by the canons of temple worship, one could also observe the phenomenon of a private religiousness, in which psalms also played a significant role. Especially in houses of prayers and synagogues, where devout Jews gathered several times a day, psalm chant was an important element. Even in their families Judaism's believers said their prayers availing themselves of psalm chants that were regulated with Jewish Law, and were either of laudatory or of thanksgiving nature. It was an important way of entrusting God with private affairs by each Jew. Moreover, psalms were a prayer both for welfare of one's family and the whole community of confessors. Such a daily common ritual resulted in an incessant tightening family and social bonds in Jewish circles. Such circumstances and ways of practising Judaism were extremely important for the fact that for a great part of its history, Jewish nation was deprived of statehood. Remaining under foreign regulations concerning religion and culture, Jews looked for the ways of unconstrained expressing their views, aims and realization of life aspirations. Therefore, a significant role was played by a specific culture of common life, which was conditioned by religious Law, and in which - as it was mentioned - psalm chant played such a great role. Psalmody was an integrating element of Jewish communities, and particularly in the circles of Diaspora, whose members inhabited foreign territories together with a population of different descent and culture. This way of creating culture, specific for Jewish communities, was adopted by the early Christianity, which at the beginning was treated as a branch of Moses' religion. An adaptation of psalmody for purposes of christological worship brought about (as one of the important elements) gradual isolation of both religious systems, though the psalmody was still used for religious purposes by both confessions.










Physical description

Document type



  • Andrzej T. Nowak, Uniwersytet Muzyczny Fryderyka Chopina w Warszawie, ul. Ok√≥lnik 2, 00-368 Warszawa, Poland


Document Type

Publication order reference


CEJSH db identifier

YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.