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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Hosanna

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the cry of praise or adoration shouted in recognition of the Messiahship of Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem (Matt. xxi. 9, 15; Mark xi. 9 sq.; John xii. 13), and since used in the Christian Church. It is also a Jewish liturgical term, and was applied specifically to the "hosanna" branches carried in procession in the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, the seventh day of which was called the Hosanna-day (so also in Syrian usage; cf. "Palm" Sunday). This festival (for which see Lev. xxiii. 39 sqq.; 2 Macc. X. 7; Jos. Ant. xii. io. 4, xiii. 13.15; and the Talmudic tractate Sukkah) already suggested a Dionysiac celebration to Plutarch (Symp. iv. 6), and was associated with a ceremonial drawing of water which, it was believed, secured fertilizing rains in the following year; the penalty for abstinence was drought (cf. Zech. xiv. 16 seq.). The evidence (see further Ency. Bib. cols. 3354, 4880 seq.; I. Levy, Rev. des El. juives, 1901, pp. 192 sqq.) points to rites of nature-worship, and it is possible that in these the term Hosanna had some other application.

The old interpretation "save, now !" which may be a popular etymology, is based on Ps. cxviii. 25 (Heb. hoshi`ah-nna), but this does not explain the occurrence of the word in the Gospels, a complicated problem, on which see the articles of J. H. Thayer in Hastings's Dict. Bib., and more especially T. K. Cheyne, Ency. Bib. s.v.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Hosanna'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/bri/h/hosanna.html. 1910.

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