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Six questions to be asked concerning the Psalms

September 12, 2008

When it comes to the Psalter I have two keen interests; the first is to locate the Sitz im Leben of each individual psalm, whilst the second is to determine the overall message of the Psalter. David Mitchell has outlined an eschatological programme in the Psalter and I like where he is going though I do believe it needs developing further (see here). I am also impressed by the work of Sigmund Mowinckel and his development of the festival of Yahweh’s enthronement. I see a great deal of overlap between the concept of Yahweh’s enthronement and the eschatological message of the Psalter especially when viewed through the lense of Deutero-Zechariah, especially 14:16 ff.

That said, there are serious questions that need to be asked if we are to locate the Sitz im Leben of each individual psalm and determine the overall message of the Psalter. I shall post six preliminary questions below:

1. What was the original Sitz im Leben of the Psalter in its final form?

2. To what degree has the Sitz im Leben of the Psalter in its final form divorced individual psalms from their own individual Sitz im Leben thereby changing them?

3. What was the original Sitz im Leben of those Psalm collections that have been incorporated into the Psalter in its final form?

4. To what degree has the Sitz im Leben of those Psalm collections that have been incorporated into the Psalter in its final form divorced individual psalms from their own individual Sitz im Leben thereby changing them?

5. To what extent can the canonical shape of the Psalter teach us about the worship of Israel if it has been redacted with a specific (eschatological) message in mind?

6. To what extent are the psalms found in the final form of the Psalter original units and how does and/or should this effect our understanding of them?

These are the questions that shall shape my future reading of the Psalter.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2008 7:53 am

    We have related interests. Once I finish my theortical section on Childs and start dong some actual exegesis I hope I’ll be able to interact with you more!

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