Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The Hymn of Praise (Luke 1:46–55) represents one of the three cantica in the Gospel of Luke, and within the perspective of the church tradition it is considered as earliest Marian hymn. Magnificat sung by Mary, Benedictus spoken by Zechariah (Luke 1:68–79), and Nunc Dimittis by Simeon (Luke 2:29–32) are as extended poems closely linked to the Old Testament. They can be denoted in general as “declarative psalms of praise,” which depend on a Semitic, most probably Hebrew, original source. Sometimes, the Gloria in excelsis (Luke 2:14) is also added to these three cantica as a fourth hymn. …

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Nicak, Maros, “Magnificat”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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