Are We Really People of ‘The Book’?

I have, for as long as I can remember, been interested in how come we do

things the way we do. How do various customs and rituals get started? For

example, why do people fold their hands in prayer? For our ancestors, one of the

most ancient and reverential gestures that accompanied prayer was the

spreading of arms and hands heavenward. In time, the arms were pulled in,

folded across the breast, wrists intersecting above the heart. Each of these had

some intrinsic logic and intent - God was thought to be up and the heart was the

seat of emotions. But why folded hands? It is mentioned nowhere in the Bible. It

appeared in the Christian church only in the 9th century. After then, sculptors and

artists rewrote history by going back and depicting scenes from early religious

history with people praying with folded hands. The origin of it has nothing to do

with religion or worship. It comes from the world of subjugation and servitude.

Religious historians trace it back to the act of shackling a prisoner's hands

together. Joining the hands together came to symbolize one's submission to the


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