Worship: Bowing down in the service of God

Avital Hazony Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Philosophers commonly assume that worship is a universal attitude. Two major approaches see worship as a sui generis attitude or as the specific attitude of respect. This article criticizes the universal assumption and defines worship as a ritual that shapes a person in acquiring the attitude considered appropriate in relating to a superior such as God. Religions differ in their rituals of worship because they disagree on what this appropriate attitude is. This claim is demonstrated by distinguishing the Hebrew Bible's form of worship as bowing down. Biblical worship is shown to be political, forming the worshipper into a loyal servant of God as king. This form of worship is argued to be fundamentally ethical because it teaches that the individual's relationship with God supervenes on human relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-504
Number of pages18
JournalReligious Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Hebrew Bible
  • bowing down
  • ritual
  • worship


Dive into the research topics of 'Worship: Bowing down in the service of God'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this