An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

A - Z Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z


Ancient Hebrew praise-shout. It means "Praise Yah," which is a shortened form of the word "Yahweh." It is translated into Latin as "Alleluia," and translated into English as "Praise the Lord." It appears in Psalms 106, 111-113, 135, and 146-150. With one exception (Ps 135:3), it is always found at the beginning and/or end of the psalms in which it appears. Its imperative form suggests that it may have been a call to praise in post-exilic temple worship. The 1979 BCP restored "Hallelujah" to the Psalter, unlike earlier Prayer Books which used the translated form "Praise (ye) the Lord." The BCP explains that the Hebrew form was considered more appropriate than the Latin "Alleluia" for the context of the Psalter (p. 584). This use of Hallelujah also regains for Episcopal liturgy a word that is found in many well-known anthems, such as the "Hallelujah chorus" of George Frederick Handel's Messiah. If desired, Hallelujah may be omitted from the Psalter during Lent. See Alleluia.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.