Can anyone point me to research done on synagogue liturgy of the first century? Temple liturgy from the same period might be interesting as well, but I’m specifically looking for information on synagogue liturgy.
I’ll include the background on my inquiry as some of you might find it humorous. About a year ago while enjoying some couch time and channel surfing, I stopped on a broadcast of an Easter service from the Notre Dame church. At one point they picked up a highly decorated book (Gospel book I’m guessing) and began parading it around the room… and if I remember correctly - kissing it. I snarfed, thought something like “those crazy Catholics, where do they get this stuff!? Why don’t they stop kissing it and start reading it?” and changed the channel. I know, incredibly uncharitable.
This happened during a time when we were heavily exploring different churches. I was really intent on visiting as many different kinds of churches as I could find. Up on the list soon after the couch surfing episode we visited a “Messianic Synagogue.” The whole service was incredibly liturgical. I didn’t expect that. My jaw dropped when they pulled a Torah scroll from the wall, paraded it around the room… and everyone was kissing it! A kind older gentleman was quick to point out to me - an obvious visitor - that this was an ancient synagogue practice and by kissing the scroll they were simply showing a sign of respect… it wasn’t idolatry. “Oh. Opps.” I thought, “So that’s where that practice came from… it wasn’t something sinister after all?”
And that, friends, is what made me take up an interest in liturgy and wonder if all of those assumptions I had about the Catholic Church were indeed accurate.
In any case, kindest regards and thank in advance to anyone that can help me with the original question.