Expression of agreement or confirmation used in worship by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The word derives from a Semitic root meaning “fixed” or “sure.” The Greek Old Testament usually translates it as “so be it”; in the English Bible it is often translated as “verily” or “truly.” By the 4th century BC, it was a common response to a doxology or other prayer in the Jewish temple liturgy. By the 2nd century AD, Christians had adopted it in the liturgy of the Eucharist, and in Christian worship a final amen now often sums up and confirms a prayer or hymn. Though less common in Islam, it is used after reading of the first sura.
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Egyptian deity revered as king of the gods. Amon may have originally been one of the eight deities of the Hermapolite creation myth. His cult spread to Thebes, where he became patron of the pharaohs by Mentuhotep I's reign (2008–1957 BCE) and was identified with the sun god Re. Represented as a human, a ram, or both, Amon-Re was worshiped with the goddess Mut and the youthful god Khons. Akhenaton directed his reforms against the cult of Amon, but with little success, and Amon's status was restored in the 14th–13th century BCE. In the New Kingdom, Amon came to be seen as one of a triad with Ptah and Re, and in the 11th–10th century BCE as a universal god who intervened in affairs of state by speaking through oracles.
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Amen, meaning so be it, is of Hebrew origin. The word was imported into the Greek of the early Church from the Jewish synagogue.. From Greek, amen entered the other Western languages. According to a standard dictionary etymology, amen passed from Greek into Late Latin, and thence into English.
The Hebrew word ’amen derives from the Hebrew verb ’aman, a primitive root. Grammarians frequently list ’aman under its three consonants (’mn), which are identical to those of ’amen . This triliteral root (’mn) means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe. Two English words that derive from this root are:
a. amen, from Hebrew ’amen (=truly, certainly);Both a and b derive from Hebrew ’aman (=to be firm).
Popular among some theosophists and adherents of esoteric Christianity is the conjecture that amen is a derivative of the name of the Egyptian god named Amun (which is sometimes also spelled Amen). Some adherents of Eastern religions believe that amen shares roots with the Sanskrit word, aum. There is no academic support for either of these views.
Liturgically, amen is a communal response to be recited at certain points during the prayer service. It is recited communally to affirm a blessing made by the prayer reader. It is also mandated as a response during the kaddish doxology. The congregation is sometimes prompted to answer 'amen' by the terms ve-'imru (ואמרו) = "and [now] say (pl.)," or, ve-nomar (ונאמר) = "and let us say." Contemporary usage reflects ancient practice: As early as the 4th century BCE, Jews assembled in the Temple responded 'amen' at the close of a doxology or other prayer uttered by a priest. This Jewish liturgical use of amen was adopted by the Christians. But Jewish law also requires individuals to answer amen whenever they hear a blessing recited, even in a non-liturgical setting.
The source of this requirement is the verse in Deuteronomy 32:3:
This mandate refers to the mention of the Tetragrammaton, which was only pronounced at certain specific times within the confines of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Whoever heard this special name of God mentioned was obliged to respond with Baruch shem kavod malchuso l'olam va'ed (ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד, "Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for all eternity"). With the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, however, pronouncing the Tetragrammaton was prohibited, and was replaced with the pronunciation Adonai. Although this term bears significant holiness (and is in fact one of the seven names of God) and may not be pronounced without purpose, it may be pronounced when appropriate in prayer and blessings. The aforementioned response for the Tetragrammaton, however, is not warranted when one hears Adonai pronounced.
The Talmudic Sages therefore mandated that one must answer amen at the completion of a blessing outside of the Temple, comparable to the baruch shem that was used in the Holy Temple. However, while "baruch shem is an expression of praise and honor, amen is an affirmation of belief. The Talmud teaches that the word Amen is an acronym for אל מלך נאמן (’El melekh ne’eman, "God, trustworthy King.") The word amen itself is etymologically related to the Hebrew word emunah (אמונה, "faith") asserting that one is affirming the fundamental beliefs of Judaism.
Although amen, in Judaism, is most commonly stated as a response to a blessing that incorporates God's name, amen is more generally an affirmation of any declaration. Accordingly, it is customary in some comunities to respond amen after each harachaman in Grace after meals and after a mi'shebeirach. When reciting amen, it is important that the response is not louder than the blessing itself. When trying to encourage others to respond amen, however, one may raise his voice to stir others to respond in kind.
Amen is also used when an individual wishes to fulfill his own obligation through another person’s recitation of a prayer or blessing, via the construct of shomea k'oneh.
Another type of amen chatufa is one that is recited prior to the completion of the blessing it is being recited to follow; this comes from the Hebrew word chatuf (חטוף, "snatched"). The impatient rush to respond amen before the blessing has even been completed is prohibited.
An exception to this rule is a situation in which an individual is reciting a series of blessings; in such a case, some authorities permit the individual to respond amen to the last blessing in order to signal the ending of the series. While there are many examples of series of blessings within the Jewish prayer services, Ashkenazi tradition dictates that amen is not recited at the conclusion of a series of blessings. The one exception to this is in Grace after Meals after the third blessing of Boneh Yerushalayim; in order to signify that the first three blessings are biblically mandated, as opposed to the fourth rabbinically-mandated blessing, the Talmud mandates that one recite amen at its closing.
By listening intently and responding amen to each blessing of the kiddush prayer, all those present can effectively fulfill their obligation to recite kiddush, even though only one person is actually reciting it, via the principle of shomea k'oneh (שומע כעונה, "One who hears is the equivalent of one who recites").
While men either recite the sheheheyanu blessing in kiddush or dispense their obligation by listening to someone else recite it, women generally recite their sheheheyanu during candle lighting. Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank notes that anyone who lit candles should refrain from responding amen to the sheheheyanu blessing during kiddush because it would effectively be a interruption in their fulfillment of reciting kiddush, as they have already recited their sheheheyanu blessing.
In Isaiah 65:16, the authorized version has "the God of truth," ("the God of Amen," in Hebrew. Jesus often used Amen to put emphasis to his own words (translated: "verily"). In John's Gospel, it is repeated, "Verily, verily." Amen is also used in oath (Numbers 5:22; Deuteronomy 27:15-26; Nehemiah 5:13; 8:6; 1 Chronicles 16:36). "Amen" is further found at the end of the prayer of primitive churches (1 Corinthians 14:16).
In the King James Bible, the word amen is preserved in a number of contexts. Notable ones include:
In some Christian churches, the amen corner or amen section is any subset of the congregation likely to call out "Amen!" in response to points in a preacher's sermon. Metaphorically, the term can refer to any group of heartfelt traditionalists or supporters of an authority figure.
In English, the word "amen" has two primary pronunciations, ah-men (/aˈmɛn/) or ay-men (/eɪˈmɛn/), with minor additional variation in emphasis (the two syllables may be equally stressed instead of placing primary stress on the second). The ah-men pronunciation is usual in British English, the one that is used in performances of classical music, in churches with more formalized rituals and liturgy and liberal Evangelical Protestant denominations. The ay-men pronunciation, a product of the Great Vowel Shift dating to the 15th century, is associated with Irish Protestantism and conservative Evangelical Protestant denominations generally, and the pronunciation that is typically sung in gospel music. Increasingly Anglophone Roman Catholics are adopting the "ay-men" pronunciation for speech, although the broad "ah" is usually retained for singing.