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THE 

JEWISH QUARTERLY 
REVIEW 



OCTOBER, 1896 



" AMEN." 

NOTES ON ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND USE IN 
BIBLICAL AND POST-BIBLICAL TIMES. 

"Ameh" is perhaps the commonest word of human 
speech. Three great religions have brought it into daily- 
use wherever they have gone 1 . Like other things in 
daily use, indeed, it is probably seldom thought of, and 
some may be surprised to learn that much has been 
written about it; many a rule concerning its use, many 
a maxim regarding its value. Much, it is true, of what 
has been said may be paltry enough according to the 
estimate of to-day. But as long as the word "Amen" 
continues to occupy the place it does in synagogue and 
church and mosque, it must merit attention. It is, in fact, 
one of those beautiful relics of the past, the legitimate hold 
of which upon the imagination and the heart an age such as 
ours does well to cherish, while some of the facts gathered 

1 This is illustrated by the story, the source of which I do not know, 
of a meeting between two converts to Christianity — perhaps an Indian 
and a Pacific Islander — one of whom was reading in his own tongue the 
Christian Scriptures. Communication between them was impossible, till 
one of them thought of summing up his mental attitude to the contents 
of the book in the doxology "Hallelujah," whereupon the other at once 
heartily replied " Amen." The Hebrew expressions had, of course, been 
naturalized in both languages. 

VOL. IX. B 



2 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

in this article have a certain additional interest from their 
bearing on other wider and more important subjects 1 . 

i. The word "Amen." — The fundamental idea of the 
root )CN, in the north and south Semitic languages 
alike 2 , is "stability, steadfastness, reliability." "Amen" 
represents in form an old Semitic amin, which, according 
to analogy, should be an intransitive adjective 3 . It has 
retained this power, however, only in the somewhat rare 
Arabic Amin m , "safe, secure," while in Hebrew "Amen" 
has become an indeclinable particle. As contrasted with 
other particles from the same root, it seems to involve 
the will as well as, perhaps we should say rather than, the 
judgment 4 . This is best seen on an examination of 
the instances of its occurrence in the Old Testament. 

2. Usage of "Amen" in the Old Testament. (1) Modes 
of Use. — The first thing that strikes one about the use of 
"Amen" in the Old Testament is that it is practically 

1 Some (especially statistical) details have been retained merely for 
the sake of giving them a permanent record somewhere, for reference 
if they should ever be wanted. 

2 Cf. e.g. Assyrian temenu, "foundation," and Syriac, "daily bread," in 
the Paternoster (Curetonian and Sinaitic Palimpsest MSS.) on the one 
hand ; and Aethiopic am e na, " trust," and also "confess" (hardly " verum 
esse," as Dillmann says, quoting Luke i. i), on the other. 

3 Barth, indeed, regards it (Die Nominalbildung, &c, 5 c and 7 b) as an 
abstract noun. Nor is it an answer to say that the feminine form amint 
or amant (nw) is abstract ; for in Hebrew, at least in the first letters 
of the Dictionary, when words exist in both forms, it is rather the rule 
than the exception that they should agree in this respect. Moreover, on 
the other hand, the majority of nouns of the form amin are concrete, and 
there is, as a matter of fact, a difference between amin, and amint (see 
next note). 

4 For now, see especially Isa. xliii. 9, where E. V. is right, as against 
the LXXand Peshitta, in rendering rmx as oratio recta, "Truth I" Cf. also 
the quasi-adverbial use of noN at the end of a sentence in Ps. cxxxii. 1 1 
and Jer. x. 10 (see also 1 Kings xvii. 24, Pesh.\ The three particles 
referred to above are connected with the parallel stem amuna. n:i3« (JE) 
introduces a solemn confession (Gen. xx. 12, Josh. vii. 20) ; oaw (8 times, 
6 in Job) seems to be used by preference to introduce hypothetical or 
ironical sentences ; while djon (5 times) always introduces a question 
(Ps. lviii. 2, reading d"?m with most, is sarcastic). 



" AMEN " 3 

confined to the literature that modern criticism regards as 
Exilic or Post-Exilic. What makes this still more note- 
worthy is that the three cases of which this cannot be 
said form a class by themselves— they are cases of what 
we may call the Initial Amen. Benaiah, after receiving 
instructions about the coronation of Solomon, replies: 
" Amen ! Yahwe the God of my lord the king say so too ! " 
(i Kings i. 36). So Jeremiah says to Hananiah : " Amen ! 
Yahwe do so ! " &c. (Jer. xxviii. 6). In the third passage 
it is God that is addressed ; Jeremiah replies to the 
"word" that came to him from Yahwe in the phrase: 
"Amen; Yahwe!" In these cases "Amen" is a kind 
of conversational particle, and stands by itself, prefixed 
to an exclamatory sentence, expressing a wish, " So be it ! " 

In the later literature the "Amen" tends to become 
more and more liturgical. The Deuteronomist makes " all 
the people" say "Amen" to each of the twelve 1 curses 
(Deut. xxvii. 15-26) ; Nehemiah tells us that the "congre- 
gation" pledged itself in the matter of the poor brethren 
by a solemn "Amen" (Neh. v. 13) ; when Tobias and Sarah 
were left alone he prayed, and at the end of his prayer 
"she said with him, Amen" (Tobit viii. 8) 2 ; and, according 
to the Vulgate, when Gabael prayed and blessed Tobias, 
all who were present said, " Amen " (Tobit ix. 1 2). In this 
group the sentence introduced by the " Amen " is left 
to be understood from the situation. We might call this 
the Detached Amen. 

This liturgical "Amen" tended to become double. "Amen, 
Amen " is the formula assigned by the Priestly writer to the 
suspected wife in the oath of purgation (Num. v. 22 3 ) ; as 
it is also the formula with which the people solemnly 
accepted the Priestly Law (Neh. viii. 6 4 = 1 Esdras 

1 So in MSS. A and F of the LXX. B and Luc. have thirteen, having 
two curses in ver. 22 or ver. 23. 

2 The Vulgate text differs at this point, and has no " Amen." Syr. and 
Aeth. follow LXX. 

3 It is single in the Targums. 

4 The "Amen" is single in LXX (BXALuc.). 

B 2 



4 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

ix. 47 1 ), and, according to the romance, the words of 
Ozias (Judith xiii. %6 [20] a ) 3 . This formula becomes 
"Amen and Amen 4 " when following a doxology at the 
end of each of the first three divisions of the Psalter, 
although in the fourth division (Ps. cvi. 48 s ), and the 
equivalent I Chron. xvi. 36, there is for some reason 
only one "Amen," and so at the end of 3 and 4 Mace We 
have thus what we may call a Final Amen, and the 
Vulgate provides us with two cases where a speaker says 
"Amen" to his own prayer, viz. 2 Esdras (i.e. Neh.)xiii. 31, 
and Tobit xiii. 18, while the same thing occurs in Pr. of 
Manasses, ver. 23 s . A pure Subscriptional Amen appears in 
the Old Testament only at the end of Tobit 7 . It also is 
single. There remain to be considered only four passages 
where our authorities disagree as to what we should read, 
"Amen" or something else, and so we must examine the 
usage of the Versions. 

(2) Treatment of " Amen " in the Versions. The practice 
of the LXX confirms the view just propounded as to the 
history of the word "Amen," while it illustrates the necessity 
of considering the various parts of the LXX apart. In the 
Pentateuch the LXX regularly translates \oa into Greek 8 , 
and the same practice is continued throughout the Prophets, 

1 So in B, Syr., and Aeth. ; but Vulg., A, and Luc. have only one a/ifo. 

2 Only one " Amen " in A. 

3 Ecclus. 1. 29 ends in E. V. and some Greek MSS. with a doxology and 
double "Amen," but the best MSS. and edd. and Vulg. omit the whole 
clause. The Syriac text differs at this point. 

4 The LXX [BKART] has no "and." 

5 MSS. ART of the LXX have two "Amens," but N follows the M.T. 
with one. 

• It is to be noted that we have only Latin authority for what has since 
become so common, an "Amen" said to one's own prayer (for Prayer of 
Manasses, ver. 23, might fairly be regarded as of subscriptional origin), 
and, as we shall see, the usage can hardly be said to be found in the 
New Testament. 

7 So in BA ; in N it may be almost said to be preceded by a doxology. 

8 The LXX translates "Amen" by fivoiro eight times, by akr)$u>s once 
(Jer. xxxv. 6 [BNAQ] = M. T. xxviii. 6). For the other Greek versions, 
see farther on. 



" AMEN " 5 

Former and Latter, and even the Psalter. But when we 
come to the work of the Chronicler, we find pt& simply 
transliterated a[ir\v, even in i Chron. xvi. 36 (though = 
Ps. cvi. 48). This practice, once begun, is continued right 
through the Apocryphal books 1 . Aquila admitted a^v to 
1 Kings i. 36, but uses 7reiri(7Ta>0/?rco in Jer. xxxv. [xxviii.] 6, 
and elsewhere (probably always) ireina-T^iiivios. Theodo- 
tion uses a\xrjv in the one place (Deut. xxvii. 15) where we 
can trace him (see, however, below on Isa. xxv. 1), and 
Symmachus appears to have carried this practice through 
consistently (we can test it in six cases). The same is true 
of the Aramaic (Targum and Peshitta) and Latin Versions, 
except that naturally the Vulgate Psalter has fiat=y£voiTo. 
The English Version carried the general rule of the Vulgate 
right through the Psalter also, but for some unaccountable 
reason followed the LXX in Jer. xi. 5. The Revised 
Version has of course restored "Amen" there. 

The phenomena of the Versions appear thus to confirm 
the impression given us by the M. T. : whether " Amen " 
was common or not, originally, as a conversational particle, 
it became more and more common as a liturgical formula, 
and the more it became stereotyped in this way the less did 
it suggest any definite idea to the mind that needed to be 
translated into other languages, and the more natural did 
it become to transliterate it as d/^?)f, amen. Whether the 
tendency can be traced even farther than this already 
in the LXX is not so certain. The LXX has, no doubt, 
discovered three li amens " in the Old Testament not to be 
found in the M. T. ; but then it renders them ylvovro, not 
a/x?jz>, and they do not seem to be cases of ingenuity, such as 
we shall find later in Rabbinical literature, but rather of 
a faulty MS. or careless reading. Thus in Jer. xv. 11 ion 
has been read px, while in Jer. iii. 19 "Amen" must have 
been known as a living word in the language rather than 
as merely a liturgical formula, when Tffc< was read as '-\ / " 'tf, 

1 Except Judith xiii. 20 (yevotTO, ytvoiro), where, however, Aeth. and 
Pesh. have "Amen, Amen." 



6 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

i.e. 13 niiT JON, and translated Tivotro, KvpLe on. Still 
it is, of course, quite as possible that it was some earlier 
Hebrew copyist that made this mistake. In Isa. xxv. i, 
the LXX, followed by Theodotion, read yivoiro, i.e. jcx, 
where the M. T. has J^N 1 . There can be little doubt 
that the M.T. is right in these three passages. The case 
is somewhat different in Isa. lxv. 15. Here it is the 
Massoretes (followed by Symmachus and Vulgate, and sup- 
ported by Aquila's TieTturTOiixivas) that have found }£X, where 
the LXX render akr)8ivov and Targ. NK?$ xr6x . Symmachus 
actually understands this }DX in the liturgical sense, and, 
as we shall see, it was probably so interpreted in the 
Apostolic age. But as, on the one hand, the liturgical 
" Amen " is peculiar to men in reply to God, and on the 
other hand, Barth's theory that ??N is an abstract noun has 
hardly been substantiated, it is most probable that "Amen" 
is not the original form of the word in this place. It is 
natural to think of ruMSN ( c f. njlDK b$ t Deut. xxxii. 4) 2 , 
especially as this is translated aXr\6ivov in Isa. xxv. 1. 
Still simpler would be the almost equivalent fCK following 
it in the same verse — a suggestion, in favour of which 
might be urged the fact that the LXX itself has actually 
converted this latter }£N into f»K, which, as usual, it trans- 
lates by yivoiro. 

3. Result. — Our examination of the use of the word 
" Amen " in the Old Testament has given us twelve certain 
cases in the Hebrew text, and six to ten in the Apocrypha, 
and seems to lead to the following conclusions as to Old 
Testament usage. (1) The original use of "Amen" was to 
introduce an answer to a previous speaker (1 Kings i. 36, 
Jer. xxviii. 6, xi. 5). (2) Then the words of the answer 
were suppressed, and "Amen" stood alone (Deut. xxvii. 15 ff, 
Neh. v. 13, 1 Chron. xvi. 36 =Ps. cvi. 48, Tobit viii. 8, 

Aq. has rremaToi/xtvais, i.e. probably "Amen," and Sym. maret, i.e. 
probably not "Amen." 

2 Cf. Ps. xxxi. 6 noN bH ; 2 Chr. xv. 3 np» vtVn ; Jer. x. 10 nn« dvtjn ; in 
which last case, indeed, Theod. has 0«ds dKi]0iv6s, as the LXX has here. 



" AMEN " 7 

ix. 12 [Vulg.]), this liturgical "Amen" tending to become 
double (Num. v. 22, Neb., viii. 6 [M. T.] = i Esdras ix. 47 
[B, Syr., Aeth.], Judith xiii. 26). (3) The next stage is 
where there is no indication of a change of speaker, so that 
" Amen " actually appears to be the last word of the sole 
speaker, instead of the first (or only) word of the response. 
This usage is exemplified in two ways : (a) in the formal 
subscriptions appended, in conformity with Eastern custom, 
to a completed MS. Such " Amens " standing absolutely 
after a doxology are found in the Old Testament (" Amen 
and Amen ") at the end of the first three (four) divisions 
of the Psalter (Pss. xli, lxxii, lxxxix), and then, at a very 
much later date, in 3 and 4 Maccabees ; (b) in the " Amen " 
said by the speaker to his own prayer, found twice in the 
Vulgate (2 Esdras [i.e. Neh.] xiii. 31 and Tobit xiii. 18), and 
also in Prayer of Manasses, ver. 23. (4) Already in our 
oldest MS. of Tobit we have what is almost a fourth stage, 
a simple subscriptional "Amen," without doxology. We 
have thus in the Old Testament four usages: (i) Introductory, 
(ii) Detacbed, (iii) Final, (iv) Subscriptional. 

4. New Testament. — The growing liturgical use of " Amen" 
in the later books of the Old Testament, and the phenomena 
of the LXX, prepare us for what we find in the New 
Testament, the Textus Eeceptus of which contains the word 
in some 119 places, of which the Revised Version retains 
100 1 . Strange to say, each of the four usages we have 
just found in the Old Testament is represented in the New 
Testament also. Usage i. (Introductory), which we have 
seen reason to regard as the original, is represented 
naturally enough by the " Amens " in the non- Epistolary 
part of the Apocalypse (vii. 1 2 ' i , xix. 4, xxii. 20) prefixed 
to a doxology, and referring back to words of another 

1 "Amen" is retained in the Vulgate throughout ; and in the English 
versions outside of the Gospels. In the Gospels, when it introduces 
a sentence, it is translated "Verily," and at first, in the Old English 
versions, it seems to have been regularly rendered " soSlice." 

2 Westcott and Hort have here also a final "Amen" in square brackets. 



8 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

speaker. Usage ii. (Detached) is found in the remaining 
"Amen" of this part of the Apocalypse (v. 14), and is 
testified to by Paul in 1 Cor. xiv. 16. Corresponding to 
usage iii. (Final) we have the usage of the New Testament 
Epistles (including the first part of the Apocalypse). If we 
exclude Apoc. i. 7 1 , where a liturgical " Amen " is added 
to vai at the end of a solemn statement, the thirty-four 
" Amens " of the Epistles [T. R] fall into two groups, 
fifteen following doxologies, and nineteen following bless- 
ings. The fifteen doxology " Amens " are all well attested 
(except 2 Pet. iii. 18) 2 , but of the nineteen benediction 
"Amens" only two (Eom. xv. 33, Gal. vi. 18) are retained 
by Westcott and Hort, although they admit two others 
(1 Thess. iii. 13, a prayer, and Heb. xiii. 25) to their margin, 
and the Revised Version even admits the last mentioned, 
and Apoc. xxii. 21 to its text, as also, though doubtfully, 
Philem. 25. Of usage iv. (Subscriptional) there is no 
instance in the best texts of the New Testament ; but there 
is a marked tendency to it in later MSS. 3 

As the book of Acts does not contain " Amen," all that 
remains to be examined is the Gospels. It is remarkable 
that these documents, whose literary history forms so 
intricate a problem, contain far more " Amens " than all 
the rest of the books of the Old and New Testaments 
together ; and yet their usage does not exactly correspond 
to any one of the four stages we have distinguished. These 
" Amens " are all of one kind— for the five final " Amens " 4 
are wanting in the best texts — and form a very peculiar 
class, unparalleled in Hebrew literature 5 . They are initial 

1 Apoc. i. 18, 1 John v. 21, 2 John 13, which somewhat resemble it, are 
excluded in R. V. 

2 Retained in R V., but omitted by Westcott and Hort. The other 
fourteen are Rom. i. 25, ix. 5, xi. 36, xvi. 27, Gal. i. 5, Eph. iii. 21, Phil. iv. 20, 
1 Tim. i. 17, vi. 16, 2 Tim. iv. 18, Heb. xiii. 21, 1 Pet. iv. 11, v. 11, Jude 25. 

3 Aethiopic MSS. often have a triple "Amen," corresponding to the 
S8S of post-Biblical Hebrew. 

' Matt. vi. 13, and at the close of each Gospel. 

5 Delitzsch in Zeitsch. fur Luth. Theol., 1856, p. 422, and Caiman, Gram, des 
JUd.-Pal. Aram&isch, p. 193, note. 



» 



11 AMEN 9 

"Amens" like group i. (pre-exilic and Apocalypse), but 
seem to lack the indispensable backward reference. This 
is the more striking as they are all in sayings of Jesus, and 
very frequently occur in a sort of dialogue 1 . An examina- 
tion of these passages, however — and they number about 
fifty-two in the Synoptics and twenty-five in John — will 
generally show that there is some trace, after all, of 
a reference either to some preceding words, or to the 
sentiment underlying them 2 . 

In Luke " Amen " occurs only six times 3 , three of the 
cases being common to the Synoptics, and three in verses 
peculiar to Luke. In three other places Luke has aAijtfcos 
where the parallel passages in the Synoptics have ajxriv 4 , 
and once (Luke xi. 51) vai corresponds to an aixrjv in 
Matthew. In Luke iv. 25, a verse peculiar to Luke, kit' 
aXrjdelas may represent an original aix-qv, but in view of the 
ajxr\v in the preceding verse this is perhaps hardly likely 5 . 
In five (six 6 ) passages peculiar to Matthew and Luke, the 
latter simply omits afxr^v. The avoidance not only of the 
form a.jxr)v, but even sometimes of any equivalent particle, 
is therefore characteristic of the third Gospel. 

Mark has four passages where aixrjv is peculiar to him, 
although Matthew has a parallel passage ; while Matthew 
has only two lacking in Mark. The frequency of afxr\v 
in Matthew is due to nineteen passages not in Mark, viz. 



1 They are invariably followed by \iyai iifiiv, except where this naturally 
becomes Ktyw aoi, viz. in the solemn sayings to Peter (John xiii. 38 = 
Mark xiv. 30, John xxi. 18), to the thief on the cross (Luke xxiii. 43), and 
to Nicodemus (John iii. 3, 5, 11) ; and this form is used rhetorically once 
in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 26). 

2 e. g. Matt. vi. 2 : " The hypocrites [pray] in the synagogues . . . that 
they may have glory of men. Amen, I say unto you, They have received 
their reward." 

3 For xiii. 35, where it is wanting in the parallel Matt, xxiii. 39, does 
not have it in the best texts. 

* Luke ix. 27, xii. 44 (where, however, D has apr/v), and xxi. 3. 

5 W d\tj6eias in LXX oftenest represents DotDN : also T2; and Eisjp. 

6 In Luke xv. 7 the ovras in a sense represents the &\a\v of Matt. 



IO THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

nine * peculiar to Matthew and ten where the parallel in 
Luke either omits (a) simply the apr/v (five or six times 2 ), 
or (6) the whole formula 3 , or else changes it into something 
else 4 . Of the Synoptics, therefore, it is Mark that seems 
never to avoid the word. 

A well-known peculiarity of the fourth Gospel is that 
it invariably (twenty-five times) has a^v aii-qv, as against 
the just as invariable single apr/v of the Synoptics (about 
fifty-two times) ; and this phenomenon occurs even in one 
and the same saying, e.g. John xiii. 38 = Mark xiv. 30= 
Matt. xxvi. 34= Luke xxii. 34, where Luke, as already 
explained, omits the ajx-qv altogether 5 . Delitzsch 6 explained 
this peculiarity of the fourth Gospel as being due to 
a corruption of the Aramaic vernacular amen amino, 
( = amen amer-'na=afj.riv Xeyoo), which sounded like d/x?jv 
apriv, but Dalman (loc. cit.) contests this explanation 7 . 

Two New Testament passages alone remain, and in these 
afxr/v is treated as a noun 8 . In Apoc. iii. 14, where it is 
masculine, it is immediately explained as a designation 
of Christ as " the faithful and true witness." The key to 
this usage is doubtless the traditional Massoretic pointing 
of Isa. lxv. 16, which as we have seen is at least as old 
as Symmachus, with possibly a reminiscence of the practice 
of Jesus and of % Cor. i. 20. This latter passage is less 
clear ; but to a\i.i\v has probably about the same meaning 
as in 1 Cor. xiv. 16. 

5. Liturgical Use of Amen. — We have already observed 
the increasingly liturgical character of the "Amens" in 
post-exilic literature. (1) Our positive knowledge of the 

1 A tenth (Matt, xviii. 19) has a/xije in square brackets in Westcott and 
Hort, but none in E. V. 

2 Matt. v. 26, viii. it>, x. 15, xi. n, xiii. 17 (xviii. 13). 

3 Ibid. v. 18, xvii. 20. 4 Ibid, xxiii. 36, xxiv. 47. 

5 The other twenty-four passages are peculiar to John. 6 loc. cit. 

7 Apparently on the ground that the alleged pronunciation is a charac- 
teristic of the Babylonian not the Palestinian Talmud. See, however, pp. 71 
and 77 of tlie same work. 

8 The third passage (1 Cor. xiv. 16 calls for no remark. 



"amen" II 

details of the temple ritual of this period is very limited 
indeed. From i Chron. xvi. 7-36 it would appear that 
in the time of the chronicler it was the custom that when 
the Levitical choir sang selections (one or more) from the 
Psalter, the people answered, saying " Amen," and praised 
Yahwe 1 . It is at least plausible to hold that the usage 2 
was one which, being well known, did not need to be 
constantly indicated in the MSS. of the Psalter, and that 
so, from motives of economy of space, the doxology was 
omitted except at the end of the great divisions of the 
Psalter (so Gratz) s . If this be so, we should find a parallel 
case in the English Church Prayer-book, where the Amen- 
doxology used after every selection from the Psalter 
is not printed. On the other hand, the comment of 
Shelomo b. Melech on Ps. xli. 14 suggests an equally 
plausible explanation of the presence of these doxologies : 
ansion aruoa ibdh intaa bah nxiin jnu -nwn nai; 
and, when Gratz urges in support of the other view 
that in 1 Chron. xvi the Amen-doxology is added to 
selections from Pss. cv and xcvi which want it, he seems 
to fail to take account of Ps. cvi. 47 which is also included. 

(a) Even for the Herodian temple ritual our witnesses are 
not contemporary, and such as they are they are not only 
meagre, but so unsystematic and fragmentary, not to say 
conflicting, that it is precarious to try to construct a sys- 
tematic account, especially as the practice may have varied. 
We can hardly do more here than mention some of the 
points. 

The chief occasions when one would look for Amen- 
responses in the ordinary temple ritual are these : (a) When 
the priests came out on to the steps and pronounced the 

1 It is likely enough that some such practice was in existence even 
if with Keuss, and after him Stade (and Cornill ?), we regard this passage 
as a later insertion into the work of the Chronicler, which originally 
passed directly from ver. 7 to ver. 37. 

2 Cf. Ps. lxviii. 35 [36] and 1 Chron. xxix. 20. 

3 Monatsschriftfiir Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenihums, 1872, p. 486. 



12 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

blessing on the people (Tamid. vii. a), and the latter, at 
a signal, prostrated themselves and worshipped. In this 
ritual, however, the blessing was not, as in the synagogues, 
pronounced in three parts with an " Amen " after each, but 
in one (ibid.) ; and a longer response was used (see further 
below). (6) When, after attending to the other offerings, 
the priest stooped to pour out the drink-offering, and at 
a signal the Levitic choir chanted the selection from the 
Psalter ; for, at the trumpet blast that marked every pause, 
the people bowed and worshipped (Tamid. vii. 3). But we 
are not told of any '■' Amen " at this point, (c) In response 
to the concluding doxology with which the Levites may 
have ended their chant. If we assume that doxologies 
were really said after each Psalm, then it is at least possible 
to assume also that the forms used in the Herodian temple 
have been preserved for us in Taan. 16 b, where we are 
told that to each of the special doxologies on fast days for 
rain, which ended with the words, " Blessed be Yahwe, the 
God of Israel, from age to age " (D^iyn p bar>w vita 'n "|m 
ahyn nyi), the people replied, " Blessed be the name of the 
glory of his kingdom for ever and ever " (iniata "lira Q2> IVD 
1JJ1 D^1j^>). But the argument that a rarer ceremony (prayer 
for rain) borrowed its ritual from some more common one, 
needs to be used with caution ; and more precarious still 
is the assumption (Gratz) that the more common one was 
precisely the daily Psalm ritual. Still this is as likely as 
not to have been so, and with this proviso we may accept 
the hypothesis 1 . 

All this, however, gives us no certain ' ; Amen." And there 
is a well known and often repeated statement in the Talmud, 
that " Amen " was in fact not said in the temple, but only 
in the synagogues (phaaa). In the temple the form used 
was the response quoted above ('ui DE> Ilia). The explana- 

1 See some interesting discussions and conjectures in Ludwig Blau's 
article, "Origine et Histoire de la Lecture du Schema" (Sevue des Etudes 
Juives, XXXI, 179-201', including the subject of the practice in the 
Synagogue of Jericho. 



" AMEN 13 

tion follows (Taan. Bab. 16 b): tnpoa }dn piy fKC P'obi 
■piaa qb> irt^i ohyn ny ohyn |d eoti^s 'n nx 1312 loip news? 1 . 
Judah Calats (j>i>a mw), however, is probably nearer the 
truth when he points us (Sefer ha Musar, Pereq 4, ed. 
Mantua, p. 4a) to those passages in the Talmud that tell 
us that in the temple the divine name in the priestly 
benediction was uttered as spelled (uroa), instead of, as 
usual, vuaa, i.e. by the substitution of a less awful name, 
and that accordingly the "Amen" said in the synagogues 
after each of the three parts of the benediction was omitted 
in the temple. It would appear, therefore, that when 
the Tetragrammaton was pronounced, the longer blessing 
'U1 DS5> Tina was used. The meaning of this obviously is, 
as Gratz clearly saw, not that people were not allowed to 
say "Amen" in the temple, but that there the special 
solemnity of the service demanded, and the postponement 
of the response to the end of the whole act allowed, the use 
of a more extended and impressive formula than a single 
"Amen;" just as in the English Church "Amen" alone 
is sung after hymns or short prayers, but after each Psalm 
a complete doxology. 

If now we venture to apply these results to the Psalm 
ritual, we find that the Amen-doxology has disappeared. 
What then of the five doxologies in Pss. xli, lxxii, lxxxix, cvi, 
and 1 Chron. xvi ? Can it be that they are really not temple 
doxologies at all, but synagogue doxologies? This was 
Gratz's view; and he accordingly maintained that they 
made their way into the Psalter only after the destruction 
of the temple. Their presence in the LXX, however, and 
especially in the translated form yivoiro (see above), seems 
against this view. Gratz himself could not see how the 
Amen-doxology could have made its way into 1 Chron. xvi 
so late as this. Can we indeed be sure that " Amen " was 
not really said after all, only appended at the end of the 
longer formula, as it is in the English ritual just referred to ? 

(3) In the synagogue the response to the Shema seems 

1 i.e. Neh. ix. 5. 



14 THE JEWISH QUAETEELY EEVIEW 

to have been the long one ('131 DK> T)i3 : Gratz, loc. cit., p. 493), 
although usage varied ; but the response to the priestly 
blessing, which was closely associated with the prayer, was 
" Amen," and the leader (navin "<)sb "U1J?n) was directed not 
to join in the " Amen " lest his mind should be disturbed 
(sport "OBO, Ber. V, 4) 1 . 

(4) Outside the synagogue, too, " Amen " was used in 
response to the father's blessing before and after food, 
though (notwithstanding Tobit viii. 8) not in private 
prayer (Lightf., Hor. Heb., 30a), and it frequently occurs, 
as already remarked, at the end of MSS. and treatises 2 , 
as also on epitaphs (e.g. n^D n"kk py pa rnmt Tin nnotw). 
Other formulae in use are: *t>"ax, i.e. pn nw p fCN; Ki"3na, 
i.e. }DK "»033l ^nri3 awn mtya, as an introductory formula 
like the Mohammedan, bi'smi 'llahi ' rrdhmani 'rrakvm ; 
w"\\ i.e. jok any y\w snt ntn*, or nb"^b>, i.e. caia d-o^ ivrw 
JON, after a man's name ; and Njn"3n, i.e. )0N py pa 1K>S3 >nn, 
after the mention of one who is deceased, like the Arabic, 
salla 'allahu 'alaihi wa sallam. 

6. Jewish doctrine of "Amen." — The theoretical pre- 
scriptions concerning the use of "Amen" were many. 
The following specimens will be sufficient to illustrate 
the style. The bread must not be broken at meals till 
" Amen " was quite finished (jdn rfaw *iy ynfab W"i yyon px 
d'oiyn '•so, Ber., f. 47 a), except in the case of one or two 
delaying inordinately (pny ON l^ax p3iyn an 130 nb dx i>ax 
wo -irw 13 pannes jva Dni' pnon^ "p-w px 13 panxoc oiyo, 
Judah Calats, loc. cit., f. 43a, 11. 14-16). "Amen" could 
be freely said to a benediction uttered by a Jew; but 
in the case of a Gentile (Samaritan) great caution must 
be used (-|-oon Tiian ins jox paiy pxi "paon tanK" inx ;dn paijj 
nanan ^a yotw "iy, Ber. VIII, 8) 3 . A man must not pro- 

1 For the practice at a later date, see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah HUchoth 
Tephillah, § 9. 

a e.g. i"d :"», i.e. tti nte ns: jw. wV'a, i.e. joai joa oVort mm -rrn. 

3 Contrast Bartholomaeus Gtavantus, Thesaurus Sacrorum Eituum (Rome, 
1736), torn. I, pars iv, tit. ix, p. 1085, "Ad monitionem pro Judaeis, non 
respondetur, Amen." 



" AMEN " 15 

nounce "Amen " hurriedly, or incompletely, or inattentively 
(lit. orphan J ), or disconnectedly (;dk t6l naitan |dk 16 paiy px 
vao nana pnr «h now ;ck sb) naiDp,Ber.,f.47a). "Hurriedly" 
was explained by some to mean "cutting short the first 
vowel," by others, " before the last word of the benediction 
was completely uttered " ('»Bns» B"l f)tana 'llpa f\b"tin l^xa 'wb 
Tucn '^D"^ tamp iniayi> inc vbv win titan* s^, Oiw/i Chajim 
(D^n rniN, f)DV rva), ed. Venice, 1550, I, f. 84b). "Incom- 
pletely " was explained as " cutting short the last letter " 
(rnaa Nnne nan ntwrm wttw pa"n ntnp nonet? ia«m. Oratf/t 
Chajim, f. 85 b, 1. 20 f.), or cutting the word into two parts 
(ibid.). " Inattentively " was apphed to " Amen " uttered 
by one who had not heard the words of the blessing 
(nn nniN tud ins nb&\ nnN nanaa a"n Nine ia"nn noin» ;dn 
nyct? N^t? inxn mas n^swi *pa» nana ir\s jrnn? *a"yNi nyDit? wn 
now }dn nw ;dn mriN nay* ab, Orach Chajim, cap. 74, § 8, 
quoted in Vitringa, De Synagoga, p. 1100); or, according to 
another tradition, to "Amen" said at an interval after the 
blessing (nyn bv ;dn nay nanan d"dk> nano jot -\mbv now jon 
nana nniN , Orach Chajim, 85 b, 1. 24 f.). " Disconnectedly " 
is explained as hurriedly and without attention (Judah 
Calats [p^a mm*], op. ei£., f. 42 a, 1. 1 1). Moreover, Ben Azzai 
urges home the lesson by the assurance that as one deals 
with his " Amens " so shall he himself or his children 
be dealt with (• a^ow Via vrv now |dn naiyn ba noiN wy p 
•vo* latapn* naiop • vc iaonrp naion, Ber. 47 a), holding out 
the inducement that whosoever prolongs his " Amens " in 
so doing prolongs his days also ("\b panxo fON3 "pNen i»ai 
Vniatyi VO\ ibid.). The exact degree of prolongation of 
"Amen" must have been difficult to hit, however, for it 
must not be prolonged too much (tfs »too nnv ;on naiyn ^>a 
nyiD nS>n, Ber. 47 a), lest it drown the voice of the reader 
(wo nnv "pNce>a nyotw nawn nsnp pns> '^, OracA Chajim, 
f. 85 b, 1. 35). Nor must it be said too loud (n^> |on naiyn 
■paono nnv "6lp .Taj's Orach Chajim, cap. 78, § 8, quoted in 

1 So a Psalm is called "orphan" when nothing is said of author or 
occasion of composition (mtkt NTinra, Ab. Zar., 24 b, line 7 from foot). 



l6 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Vitr., loe. cit). The right speed is defined by the time 
it would take to say " God, faithful king " (na nxp rant* 
|Dt*"3 "j^'d ^"n 'mb i>3VB>, ibid.); while in the large syna- 
gogues the right moment was indicated by waving a scarf. 
Thus we read of the synagogue in Alexandria : py bz> ■TO'ai 
pN n«p5» inrw jvai 1T3 p-room rr6y *r»iy nwan jtm rurjraota 
jcn pjiy oyn bi "nioa cj^d ni>n (Succah, 51 b). 

An almost superstitious reverence for the word appears 
again in the following doctrines. He that saith " Amen " 
is greater than he that uttereth the benediction (ruiyn SlJ 
Tiaen p inv [ON, Judah Calats, loc. cit, 1. 19), because it is 
the former that secures the answer (tfWXiD tipon nnis t*in 13 
n^tto Tiaon ruiwi ^sdd^ nanyn men DipD ^>t* ra-ian y»e>n!> 
d^s "jbn »3b5» inaB'no yaip wk p:t* ruiyn 'a fnt* ruiyn naia 'lpoo 
ffisa, ibid.). Rabbi Jonah tells of the special merit of 
saying " Amen " to each benediction (nana bs int* |Ot* roiyn 
D^oys ">w ^anoa Nin nn, Orac& Chajim, f. 84 b, foot). Rabbi 
Judah says, " Whosoever saith ' Amen ' in this age is 
worthy to say it in the next age also ; and so King David 
saith, ' Blessed is Yahwe, the God of Israel, from this age 
and to that age, Amen and Amen,' i.e. once ' Amen ' in this 
age and again 'Amen' in the coming age" (Tanchuma, 
cited in Buxtorf, Be Synag. judaica, in Ugolini, Thesaurus, 
IV, col. 1376). And so we read, "Whosoever saith 'Amen 
religiose et cum summa attentione/ speedeth on our de- 
liverance. " (ibid.). Rabbi Shim'on, we are told, said, " Who- 
ever shall say 'Amen' with all his strength (i.e. with firm 
purpose), to him the gates of Paradise shall be opened 
()b prima [irma ba btvs] ina !?aa jet* rmyn b pycs? 13-1 -ion 
)1]} \i nyi?), for it is said, ' Open the gates that the righteous 
nation which keepeth truth may enter in 1 ' " (Orach Chajim, 
85 b, 11. 8 ff.), the exegesis of which verse is thus given : 
"Say not shomer emunim, 'which keepeth truth,' but 
she omer Amen 2 , ' which saith Amen' " (d'OIDN "ioib> npn bx 
|CN -ot*B> vbtt, Sanhed. 1 10 b-i 1 1 a). 

1 Isa. xxvi. 2. 

4 The saying is often quoted with Amenim (pi.) for Amen. 



"AMEN 17 

Nor is this semi-magic power of "Amen" confined 
to this life. In Seder R. Amram (ed. Warsaw, f. 13 b, foot) 
we read of the righteous answering " Amen " to David's 
song of praise to God, whereupon " the sinners of Israel 
answer 'Amen' from Gehenna." When God graciously 
inquires about them he is told "though they are in 
great straits, they force themselves, and say before thee, 
' Amen.' " God saith to the angels, " Open for them the 
gates of the garden of Eden, that they may enter and 
praise before me," for it is said, Open ye, &c. (Isa. xxvi. 2) l . 
A similar story, going into much more detail, may be seen 
in J. P. Stehelin, Rabbinic Literature, II, 68 f. 

On the other hand, we find elsewhere importance attached 
to the mental attitude of the worshipper in the following 
explanation of »"» -ixij D'OICK (Ps. xxxi. 24 [23]), where the 
merit lies in faith undaunted by perplexities and delays : 
p« piy Dm 'Tien rrno 71-0 v'V idin ruicxa pa 'newt? "hx 
-tow dtidh rrrw ra"prn j-yoNDi DTion n«nn mo ttb pnm 
ii>tuj -iDt<n dni 1^33 t6 p*w p« piy om btrw bm "]m x"e> 
v"e> -ok cbx&> Nin *ji-d empn rrw p^dnci vnynra nrn nn 
nnmi' ttw ra"pra p»bwdi rurviru ^n pnjn tbmv run ira 
"n nxu 'won ^n px pijn (Orach Chajim, 85 a). 

Again, Rabbi Jose tells us that "Amen" has three 
powers : it is an adjuration (Num. v. 22) 2 , an acceptance 
of a form of words (Deut. xxvii. 26), or an acquiescence in 
another's saying (Jer. xxviii. 6) (to^n nia W Ut 1DN 

'■nm n^np u • px ps w^n moto avian • nyut? 1a • • • pN 
i»3 new ddin nwvb nxm minn nan nx nv n^ 'e>n inx 'tot 

1 cW> -pan >»m rrow «n» jn« DV"ren vto piyi • n"ipn ^s 1 ) nv© in -mini 
to (fol. 14) • mrva -pno jom pis "koto' widi • }ir p -jino -p:in> >rote >oWi 
oV» to uin nth -ioim • oarrj -prra )o» pu?w I'm on ts caskA n"ipn ioin 
iniN to • ])3« "ptft Dnnwi ovinrra nSna mxs cmo >"d»nid Sh-hd' wid YAn 
'u «ri o'-orc inns -iow© 'jd') vram win yrs p n»«j ;n"> innD ratAob n"ipn 
d'jom -miWD «">« D'3io« -101© tnrn ■>« • cjioh -ioiid pns. 

2 Sh'muel says : VD2 rwnw N'Sioa nsiaw in« joa nawn to (Surenhusius, 
Mishna, III, air b). On Rabbinic explanations of the double "Amen" in 
Num. v. 22, see Soto, II, 5 (e. g. nyrnrn to ]os • nten to Jos). 

VOL. IX. 



l8 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

ra jdk irwjn ba irrov "\vtm avian nnan ruoxn 11 • jon Dyn 
■pan n« 'n op 11 'n npjp, Shebu. 36 a). 

Finally, to the question, " What is the secret of 'Amen' V 
Eabbi Hanina answers, " God, faithful king " (nox jdx , n» 
jdnj "jta ^N Win on, Sanh. ma). 

These illustaations must suffice as an indication of the 
nature of the Rabbinical treatment of the subject. Further 
details may be found e.g. in Orach Chajim, ft". 84^-85^ 
Sefer ha Musar, 42 a, b, and in the Sefer Chassidim, § 18 1 . 

7. Christian Practice. — If " Amen " was in common use 
outside of the temple, and especially in the synagogues, 
it would naturally be retained by the early Christians. 
At all events, 1 Cor. xiv. 16 shows that it was in liturgical 
use in the days of the Apostles as a well-known formal 
response of the whole congregation. The absence of the 
Amen-doxology from the Paternoster in the oldest text 
does not necessarily mean that some such doxology was 
not in very early use. The doxology occurs in a slightly 
different form in the Didache, both in the Paternoster 
(ch. viii), and in two other prayers (chs. ix and x). As 
Dr. C. Taylor has pointed out, the form of the doxology 
seems to be modified by the context, and the absence of 
the "Amen" may indicate simply that it was felt, as an 
invariable response, not to belong to any particular form 
of prayer (cf. Gratz's theory of the doxologies in the 
Psalter). In one place in the Didache " Amen " does occur 
(ch. x), immediately preceded by Maranatha. This 
naturally calls to mind the " Amen : come Lord " of 
Rev. xxii. no, and it is even possible to suppose some 
connexion between this formula and the Jewish hymn 

1 twins -\niii) pns 'la *oi any® inns woo rmn rmi ta to jo« trail i"m 
i3'« -panni -pann mana"; mia ^m® -pacn ;o -inv ;n« nsiyn Vmi p» cnowio 
Dm '"n i"v D«a 'tm niw jo« '3 nrnxc 'a -rem Jn« nsirni in« did «■?« tdio 
jam ~pu ha nvtd jo» nra> rem wavb lal m« jyd<o fisi ri'hi F]"l» (Sefer 
Chassidim, § 18). This idea may be the origin of the custom in some 
Jewish rites for the Reader himself to say "Amen" before the congrega- 
tion makes the response. Cf. p. 16 above and p. 22 below. 



" AMEN " 19 

Writw px, "There is none like our God," occurring in all 
the Jewish liturgies 1 , the first letters of the lines of which 
read N3 )toN. The combination, which has been defended 
by Dr. C. Taylor (The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, 
pp. 77-79), is very attractive ; but, not to speak of the un- 
certain age of the hymn, there are two difficulties in the 
way of our accepting it with any confidence. In the first 
place, although it can hardly be doubted that the present 
acrostic arrangement of the lines is intentional, for the 
hymn would gain much in force by an alteration of the 
lines say to 2 1 5 3 4> it is n ot at all clear that the hymn 
was originally meant to be acrostic. As a matter of fact, 
indeed, other orders are found. Thus in Seder R. Arnram 
(ed. Warsaw, 1 865), f. 14 a, 11. 6 ff., we find the order 21435, 
and in MS. Add. 434, of the Cambridge University Library, 
p. 107 b, the order 21345 (cf. also Jellinek, Beth ha Midrash, 
II, p. 47, 11. 16-18, at the end of rvtaTi rDD»). The question 
is whether the acrostic form or the logical order is to be 
regarded as the more original. But in the second place, 
even if we could be sure that the acrostic order were the 
original, the reading of the acrostic title N2 }OX as two 
words "Amen: Come!" is, of course, a mere conjecture: 
it might just as well be read "Amen; blessed art thou!" 
(nnN 1112), and Mr. Schechter (Jewish Quarterly Review, 
1892, p. 253, note) may be right in preferring the latter 
rendering 2 . 

J e.g. Authorized Dailij Prayerbook of the British Empire, ed. S. Singer (1891), 
p. 167. The hymn runs as follows : — 

•rawrai ps • ratao j»» • raw }<« • vnha }>« 1 
■os'CiEn *a • rata:) <o • -covin:) <d ■ ■cnSna 'o a 
•Djwro 1 ) mil * rata 1 ; rvra • •covin'; nva ■ wfoA rrn: 3 
•DS'oa -p-a • rata "p"Q • ottih -p-Q • vt/m -jvo 4 
.wwra win nrw • rata sin nrw • ■mntt* sin nn« • wtSn wn nn« 5 
2 The hymn is actually referred to twice under the title si joy in 
a MS. Machzor (German ritual) of Dr. Taylor's (cf. tpbn "hxe, Venice, 1546, 
fol. 3 a, col. 2). On the second occurrence it is unpointed, but on the first 
it is pointed amen ba, which, while it naturally decides nothing as to the 
view even of the writer of the MS., at least does not favour that of 
Dr. Taylor. See further, Mr. Schechter's article cited above. 

C 2 



20 THE JEWISH QUAETEKLY REVIEW 

The use of "Amen" after prayers and the Eucharist in 
the second century is described by Justin Martyr in oft- 
quoted words 1 ; while Jerome's description of the heartiness 
of the response is almost too well known to bear repetition 2 . 
The communicant said ft Amen " on receiving the elements, 
and Ambrose explains " non otiose [quum accipis] dicis tu 
Amen !" (De Sacramentis, lib. IV, cap. 5) 3 . This practice 
is supposed to have fallen into disuse about the sixth 
century in the western churches (Riddle, Manual of 
Christian Antiquities, 1843, p. 379), though it continued 
to be observed "in the eastern churches, and in the 
Ambrosian (Milanese) and Mozarabic (Spanish) liturgies " 
(ibid.). The Scottish Liturgy (1637), however, preserved 
the form. In the Communion ritual we read, " Here the 
person receiving shall say ' Amen,' " and the form was 
recommended by Bishop Andrewes, Cosin, &c, while the 
practice is said to be still common among devout persons 
in the English church (Blunt, Theol. Diet., p. 17) 4 . It also 
became somewhat common, though at a later date, to insert 
"Amen" after the name of each of the persons of the 
Trinity in the formula of Baptism ; the people replying 
at the end " Amen " — a usage still to be found in Russia 
(Coleman, Christian Antiquities, p. 218). Moreover, a 
responsive " Amen " was sometimes said by the congrega- 
tion after the reading of the Lesson (Bartholomaeus 
Gavantus, Thesaurus Sacrorum Rituum, Rome, 1736) 
torn. I, pars i, p. 208 [Tit. x. 6 f.J). 

Christians followed in the footsteps of the Jews in 

1 Apolog., I, §§ 65, 67 : OS owTtXioavTos ras (ixas Kal rijv tixapiTrlav, 
irar & irapuiv \ads lire v<pT)/iei Keywv 'A/ir/v. 

a "Ubi sic ad similitudinem coelestis tonitrui amen reboat, et vacua 
idolorum quatiuntur?" (Comm. in epist. ad Gal., proem, ad lib. II, p. 428.) 

8 Cf. August., Contra Fausturn, lib. XII, c. 10: "Habet enim magnam 
vocem Christi sanguis in terra, cum eo accepto ab omnibus gentibus 
respondetur Amen." 

4 For a discussion how ecclesiastical practice required "Amen" to be 
said ^by the priest or by the people) after the Consecration of the 
Elements, see Benedict XIV, De Sacrosancto Missae Sacrificio, Lib. II, c. 23, 
110s. 9-1 1. 



" AMEN " 21 

enumerating the blemishes that would render the Amen- 
response ineffective. It might be "Amen pupillum," i.e. 
n»liv "cum quis precatione tenetur nee intelligit quod 
respondet;" or "Amen surreptitium," i.e. naiDn "cum sur- 
ripit et dicit Amen, antequam absolvatur precatio;" or 
"Amen sectile," i.e. nQIBp "cum secat in duas partes, nempe 
oscitanter audiens, et alias res agens" (Angelus Caninius, 
Disquisitiones in locos aliquot Novi Test, obscuriores 
[Francofurti, 1602], p. 55). 

The English Church, moreover, in addition to distin- 
guishing between " Amen " as a response after prayer with 
the meaning "So be it!", and "Amen" as said after 
a Creed with the meaning "So it is!", recognizes certain 
distinctions in the relation of the "Amen" to the form 
that precedes it. (1) In some cases the "Amen" is a 
response of the congregation, ratifying and accepting what 
the minister has said (e.g. Absolutions, Benedictions, Con- 
secration of Elements, Commination). (a) In others it is 
(perhaps somewhat artificially) regarded as a part of the 
formulary, and is said by all who have recited the formu- 
lary, i.e. minister as well as people (e.g. Lord's Prayer, 
Doxologies, Creeds, Prayer at end of Commination). (3) 
In certain cases it is the speaker alone that says " Amen," 
solemnly ratifying what he has said (e.g. formula of 
Baptism, reception of the baptized into fellowship of the 
Church, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, the Paternoster 
at the beginning of the Communion service, and one place 
in the Commination service). These distinctions are 
indicated in the Prayerbook by "Amen" being printed 
in italics in (1), but in Boman type in (2) and (3) 1 . 
Different from any of these cases, and quite peculiar, is 
the formula of the oath of supremacy administered to 
bishops, " In the name of God, Amen. I ... do profess, &c." 
Somewhat similar is the formula pronounced by the 
preacher in some churches. 

1 Cf. The Annotated Book of Common Prayer, ed. by J. H. Blunt, 1884, passim. 



22 THE JEWISH QUAETEKLY REVIEW 

The churches that employ a liturgy have thus to a consi- 
derable extent preserved the ancient and natural responsive 
use of " Amen." In the other religious bodies the practice 
varies. Where great individual freedom prevails, "Amens" 
are freely uttered by members of the congregation in 
response to any saying that impresses them deeply. Where 
there is less flexibility, as e.g. amongst Presbyterians, the 
third of our four classes of " Amen " has become the rule, 
and, except where sung, the "Amen" is uttered by the 
officiating minister alone a . 

8. The modern Synagogue. — In the synagogue also 
" Amen " is used in two ways ; sometimes with the formula 
"and let us say Amen" (fDN "iDNJl) 2 ; sometimes with the 
formula " and say ye Amen 3 ." Just before the recital of 
the Shema, the worshipper is directed, when prayers are 
not said with the congregation, to add, ptO "j^O ^>X , " God, 
faithful king." 

9. Mohammedan usage. — Mohammedan worship is much 
more of a private exercise, though usually performed in 
public. Still, "Amen" has been naturalized, and it is 
commonly said at the end of the first Sura of the Koran 
when uttered in prayer, its assonance with the irregular 
lines of the Arabic favouring the practice. Mohammedan 
scholars wander about in their attempt to explain the word. 
One says it means " Answer thou me ; " another, " It is 
strangely asserted by some of the learned that after the 
Fatiha it is a prayer which implies all that is prayed for 
in detail in the Fatiha." Some solemnly assure us it is 
one of the names of God ; while another declares that some 
say incorrectly that it means "O God," the word "answer!" 
being understood. 

10. Secondary A]yplications. — German kings and em- 
perors early began to append "Amen" to the introduc- 
tory and concluding formulae of state documents, and this 

1 On this anomaly, see Catholic Presbyterian Mag., IX, 108 ff. 

2 Authorised Daily Prayer-book of the British Empire (1891), p. 69. 

3 Ibid., p. 54. 



"amen" 23 

practice appears to have been quite general till the time of 
Charles V. From that time, however, it began to be given 
up (Hock in Ersch und Gruber, Allgemeine Encyclopadie, 
III, 346, who refers to Ch. G. Hoffmann, De usu particulae 
Amen in diplomatibus regum et impp. Germaniae, Tubing., 

1773)- 

In Syriac literature, "Amen" came to be used as 
a common noun meaning consent or approval, in such 
phrases as, " With the ' Amen ' of the whole of Christendom," 
and in modern English the same usage exists \ By a rather 
strange fate, however, this word, which, as we have seen, 
originally invariably stood at the head of a sentence, is now 
also frequently used in the sense of the very last of any 
matter in hand. 

H. W. Hogg. 

1 For examples, see A New English Dictionary (Oxford), sub toe.