The word ‘Alleluia’ originates from the Hebrew ‘Hallel’, or praise, followed by ‘Yah’ or ‘Jah’ for YHWH, an ascription of monotheistic praise, as in the opening and closing phrases of Psalm 104. The ‘Hallel psalms’, sung at Passover and other feasts, were Psalms 113 to 118; the ‘Great Hallel’ was Psalm 136. The word is found in Greek as ‘Allelouia’ in several verses of Revelation 19. It was used in the early church, and there are records of its being shouted or sung from the third century onwards (see JJ, p. 47). If sung, the ‘Alleluia’ sometimes had a ‘iubilus’, an extended musical development on the final vowel.
The traditional spelling in the Western church is the Latin ‘Alleluia’ or...
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