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Epistel ( . Greek ἐπιστολή, epistolē ; lat. Epistola , epistula ) is an over the Latin from the Greek used borrowed word for "letter", the upscale for letter texts claim (missive, Versepistel), in particular for the Acts letters of the Bible. As a liturgical abbreviation, the term refers to certain sections of the Bible to be read in worship .

Epistle in the liturgy

Book on epistle texts, Tübingen 1784 (title page)

In the occidental liturgy since the 12th century the biblical text passages ( pericopes ) have been called epistles, which on Sundays and public holidays with the exception of Pentecost Sunday correspond to the apostles' letters of the New Testament , on weekdays also to writings of the Old Testament with the exception of the Psalms (cf. Graduals ) were taken and recited in the service in the so-called first reading, while Gospel texts ( Gospel pericopes ) were reserved for the second reading. According to the medieval Ordo missae , the epistle was read on the right and the Gospel on the left side of the altar, so that the terms " epistle page " and " gospel page " became natural.

Lists of the epistles and gospel pericopes according to the order of the church year were initially added to the biblical full texts and since 6/7. Century elaborated as separate lessonaries with reproduction of the sections to be read. There, the Epistles were in the epistolary and the Gospels sections in Evangelistary added that occurred as a standalone books. Such complete or partial epistolaries increasingly replaced the biblical full texts as a template for the divine reading, but in the course of the late Middle Ages they were largely replaced by the missal ( missal ), in which the lectionary was combined with other liturgical books such as the sacramentary and the gradual .

The reading of the Epistles has a lower status in the Holy Mass than the Gospel . The gospel is presented by the deacon or, if no deacon is present, the priest . It is honored with candles and incense , heard while standing and introduced with the call to the Gospel and the acclamation, Praise be to you Christ . A valuable gospel book is often available for the festival and Sunday gospels , and the medieval evangelistaries were often more splendidly decorated than the epistolars. The epistles, on the other hand, are usually read by editors from the ordinary lectionary , a separate epistolar is no longer usual.

The selection of the sections for the reading on the individual Sundays and public holidays follows the reading order in Catholic services and the pericope order in the Protestant churches .

Epistle as a poetic genre

Since antiquity, the verse epistle has experienced a wide variety of forms as a literary genre with educational, satirical or erotic content and as a popular form of casual poetry.

The best-known are the two books "Epistulae" ("Letters") of Horace , of which the first 20 and the second three more extensive poems in hexameters , as well as the Epistulae ex Ponto in four, the Tristia in five books and the Epistulae heroidum in a book by Ovid . In the Latin literature of the Middle Ages and the early modern period , verse epistles are extremely common.

Among the works of Swedish national literature is the collection of songs Fredmans epistlar ("Fredman's Epistles") by the Swedish poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman († 1795), who parodistically ties in with the letters of the Apostle Paul with this collection .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Epistle  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations