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Which Psalms Were Sung in the Temple?

April 28, 2008

J. A. Smith has written an excellent article entitled “Which Psalms Were Sung in the Temple?” published in Music & Letters, Vol. 71, No. 2 (May, 1990), pp. 167-186.

I apologise that not everyone will be able to access it but, for those who can, it is a good read.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2008 2:41 am

    Well I am one of those who can’t access it from home , but I wonder if he references Simon Kistemaker (another RTS Orlando faculty member). I think his dissertation way back when was on the use of Psalms in the book of Hebrews. From his Hebrews class it seems that most of the psalms referenced in Hebrews are those that would have been typically sung in the synagogue. Which makes a lot of sense given the subject matter…

  2. May 3, 2008 8:37 am

    If you are at RTS I would have thought it would be accessable to you.

    He doesn’t reference Kistemaker. He argues that there is direct (internal) evidence that, at the very least, between 70-80% of the Psalms (I forget the exact number) were sung in the temple. He denies that the wisdom psalms would have been, which I disagree with him over.

    As for singing psalms in the synagogue. Have you any idea when that started? If the synagogue was instituted in Lev. 23 and psalmody began with David (both true) then synagogue worship was really one of prayer and study of the torah. It could have started during the exillic period (e.g. Ps. 137 was sung outside of the temple setting).

    Thoughts welcome 🙂

  3. May 11, 2008 6:13 pm

    I’m not exactly sure when psalm singing started. I’ll ask Kistemaker about it and get his thoughts. And RTS students only have access to journals while in the library…when I’m trying to not read blog posts 🙂

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