The prayer Aleinu (“It is our duty to praise”) is the closing prayer of the morning, afternoon and evening service among observant Jews.
It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to acclaim the greatness of the One who forms all creation. For God did not make us like the nations of other lands, and did not make us the same as other families of the Earth. God did not place us in the same situations as others, and our destiny is not the same as anyone else’s. And we bend our knees, and bow down, and give thanks, before the Ruler, the Ruler of Rulers, the Holy One, Blessed is God.
The One who spread out the heavens, and made the foundations of the Earth, and whose precious dwelling is in the heavens above, and whose powerful Presence is in the highest heights. Adonai is our God, there is none else. Our God is truth, and nothing else compares. As it is written in Your Torah: “And you shall know today, and take to heart, that Adonai is the only God, in the heavens above and on Earth below. There is no other.”
Therefore we put our hope in You, Adonai our God, to soon see the glory of Your strength, to remove all idols from the Earth, and to completely cut off all false gods; to repair the world, Your holy empire. And for all living flesh to call Your name, and for all the wicked of the Earth to turn to You. May all the world’s inhabitants recognize and know that to You every knee must bend and every tongue must swear loyalty. Before You, Adonai, our God, may all bow down, and give honor to Your precious name, and may all take upon themselves the yoke of Your rule. And may You reign over them soon and forever and always. Because all rule is Yours alone, and You will rule in honor forever and ever. As it is written in Your Torah: “Adonai will reign forever and ever.” And it is said: “Adonai will be Ruler over the whole Earth, and on that day, God will be One, and God’s name will be One.”
Notice that some of the phrases sound just like some of the phrases you might find in the New Testament, particularly under Saint Paul. And, this should not be surprising. Some date this prayer to before the birth of Christ, some to after. But, certainly, before it was written, various phrases would have been making the rounds. Note that some of the phrases almost sound like some of the Islamic phrases used today.
Oral tradition was a strong component of Judaism. The Mishna is a codification of received oral teachings. Thus, even if the prayer was not written down until after Christ, there is at least one set of Jewish traditions that assign the writing of the prayer to Joshua, after the fall of Jericho. Another way to put it is that these traditions confirm that the oral prayer predated the written prayer by several centuries. And this tradition of oral prayer continued on into both Christianity and Islam.
Christians inherited this mix of oral tradition and written prayers. You can read it in the writings of Saint Paul when he talks to the Corinthians about keeping the Lord’s Supper as they were taught. That is, he cites the oral tradition, and then he corrects the misunderstanding of the oral tradition by giving written instructions. Just like the Mishna was put together to unite the various bits of oral tradition, so were the Gospels. Saint Luke even speaks about talking to people and putting together what he learned in order that Theophilus may know the accurate truth about what transpired.
Throughout the Epistles of the New Testament, the emphasis is on correcting teachings that were misunderstood. Really, only the Book of the Apocalypse (Revelation) is not a correction of teaching, despite the letters written to the Seven Churches. The Epistles, and the introduction to the Book of the Apocalypse all assume that there is an oral tradition that has been handed down and must be kept correctly. This oral tradition concerns teachings of doctrine, worship, leadership, moral teachings, etc.
Note that where the oral tradition is well received, there is no exposition of it in the New Testament. As one of my professors pointed out many years ago, it is impossible to put together a New Testament worship by simply reading the New Testament. That is because only corrections to the worship, or passing mentions of it are found in the Epistles. The actual worship is only described in the Early Church Fathers and manuals such as The Didache.
In other words, the New Testament was meant to work alongside oral tradition as an authoritative correction to the oral tradition. But, the New Testament was not meant to be a complete exposition of doctrine, worship, etc. I think the Lutherans have it closer to correct when they say that if it is not forbidden in Scripture, it is permitted (when it comes to worship). Mind you, I would argue that even this principle is not quite correct, as I would prefer to say that if it is not forbidden in Scripture, look to the received tradition to see whether it is permitted.
In other words, it does take Scripture and Holy Tradition to correctly and in balance understand what we believe, how to worship, how leadership is chosen, etc.