5. The Ceremonial Experience
5.1 The procession or rally In this chapter we shall look at psalms that feature or suggest a cer- emonial occasion. All psalms, as we know, have served as part of a prayer or ritual ceremonies of one sort or another over the centuries, and as such they are all worthy of serving as elements on ceremonial occasions, be it expressly for that purpose, or when cobbled together by editors. Therefore, in this chapter we shall deal only with the psalms whose descriptions or formal components depict a ceremonial cele- bration or some kind – particularly the preliminary part of festivities, namely the pilgrimage.1 The fundamental difference between this kind of experience and others is that in the others, the mental/spiritual aspect of the experi- ence is derived from the content, i.e., the ideas and views expressed: the ideas and the speaker’s emotional reactions and perspectives of what is happening in the given situation being described affect each other. Here, however, the very sense of participation and belonging to the festive congregation is what gives rise to the ideas that serve in these contexts as symptoms of identification, i.e. as testimonies to the celebrants’ conscious identity. The tenets of morality and faith being expressed by the participants are, in the main, declarations about the superiority of the festive congregation over those who are not part of it. The speaker’s sense of festive elation stems from the power of the 1 For example, Bazak argues that Ps. 133 also depicts a pilgrimage...
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