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The Psalms in Form: The Hebrew Psalter in its Poetic Shape

30 Jun 2002-
About: The article was published on 2002-06-30 and is currently open access. It has received 9 citations till now. The article focuses on the topics: Hebrew.
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DissertationDOI
01 Jan 2015
TL;DR: Vetne et al. as mentioned in this paper analyzed the structure and function of hope within the shape of Book II of the New Testament Psalter and found that the shape and message of the Psalter has been of central interest for many Old Testament scholars during the last thirty years.
Abstract: THE FUNCTION OF ‘HOPE’ AS A LEXICAL AND THEOLOGICAL KEYWORD IN THE PSALTER: A STRUCTURAL-THEOLOGICAL STUDY OF FIVE PSALMS (PSS 42-43, 52, 62, 69, 71) WITHIN THEIR FINAL SHAPE CONTEXT (PSS 42-72) by Christine M. Vetne Adviser: Jiři Moskala ABSTRACT OF GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH DissertationOF GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH Dissertation Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Title: THE FUNCTION OF ‘HOPE’ AS A LEXICAL AND THEOLOGICAL KEYWORD IN THE PSALTER: A STRUCTURAL-THEOLOGICAL STUDY OF FIVE PSALMS (PSS 42-43, 52, 62, 69, 71) WITHIN THEIR FINAL SHAPE CONTEXT (PSS 42-72) Name of researcher: Christine M. Vetne Name and degree of faculty adviser: Jiři Moskala, PhD Date completed: April 2015 The shape and message of the Psalter has been of central interest for many Old Testament scholars during the last thirty years. At the core of shape scholarship stands the issue of hope. Often this is related to what is commonly considered a major hope-shift in the Psalter, which moves its focus from hoping in the Davidic covenant (Books I-III) to hoping in God (Books IV-V). However, when considering the shape and message of Book II, there is evidence that these two hopes coexist, side by side, as also seen in the introduction to the Psalter (Ps 2). This dissertation analyzes the nature and function of hope within the shape of Book II. Hebrew lexemes for hope are located in five psalms equally distributed within Book II (Pss 42-43, 52, 62, 69, 71), suggesting a deliberate arrangement of "hope." An analysis of the meaning of hope and related synonyms (chapter 2) is followed by a consideration whether "hope" forms a structural and theological keyword within these five psalms (chapter 3). This is determined to be the case for four of the five psalms, leaving Ps 69 as a final supporting psalm within the extended conclusion of the book (Pss 69-72). The central and final step is to consider if and how these five Hope Psalms fit within the wider context of Book II. Each of the thirty psalms in Book II are analyzed as to their shape function within the book (chapter 4). This analysis reveals that these Hope Psalms not only structurally divide the Book into three main divisions (Pss 42-51, 52-61, 62-72), but also thematically introduce them. For example, the first section appears to locate the initial hope (Pss 42-43) within an eschatological context of God's eternal kingdom (Pss 46-48), which ultimately fulfills the psalmist's hopes and longings. Several lexical links between these sections seem to support this linkage. At the center of the book, there is a climactic crisis, at which point all past hopes and securities are destroyed (Ps 55). This second section portrays a great cosmic war going on between the previously mentioned Messiah (Ps 45) and the antagonist introduced in the second Hope Psalm (Ps 52). Hope is particularly required as a response to this climax, and as a necessary aid for perseverance, as also emphasized in the following psalms, which employ two synonyms of trust and refuge. The third section also describes the eschatological kingdom of God, and echoing the first section, is introduced by a similar Hope Psalm in which the psalmist encourages himself to hope, and finds comfort in hope as he faces difficulties. In conclusion, the shape of Book II appears to be very deliberately designed to promote hope in its various aspects. Human aspects involve not only self-encouragement to hope in the midst of severe trials, but also to connect hope with God's act of bringing about deliverance. The Messiah plays a significant role in the realization of this hope. His role is two-fold: To bring hope to Israel through a unique marriage union with his bride, Israel (Ps 45), and through his sufferings, which intricately connect human destinies to him (Ps 69). God's role is also portrayed as redeeming man from death (Ps 49) and carrying the load of the people (Ps 68). Structurally, these acts of God and his Messiah function as theological reasons and justifications for the possible entry of humankind into the eschatological kingdom of God. This is demonstrated in the way they create bridgeframes around the first eschatological vision (Pss 46-48). Without these, the distance and rejection felt in Pss 42-44 would have continued. Human response to these hope acts of God include wisdom (Ps 49), reformation (Ps 50) and repentance (Ps 51)—all of which enable humans to enter this future hope. This implies, however, that only those who accept this global call, and follow the set requirements, can enter into the eschatological hope portrayed in Book II. The shape of Book II closely relates hope to this future restored relationship with God, which takes place in the very presence of God. Thus, hope is therefore a deep longing for God's presence, and as Ps 42-43 adds, a deep desire to praise God's name. It is towards this that Book II (and the Psalter as a whole) also moves. Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary THE FUNCTION OF ‘HOPE’ AS A LEXICAL AND THEOLOGICAL KEYWORD IN THE PSALTER: A STRUCTURAL-THEOLOGICAL STUDY OF FIVE PSALMS (PSS 42-43, 52, 62, 69, 71) WITHIN THEIR FINAL SHAPE CONTEXT (PSS 42-72) A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy

31 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a survey of the literature on the Psalter in its entirety, focusing on the shaping of the book of Psalms, its potential as a book of theology, and its reception across the centuries.
Abstract: Updating the writer’s previous essay in Currents, ‘Engaging the Psalms: Gains and Trends in Recent Research’ (1994), this extensive essay targets the many diverse books and articles reflecting the multi-faceted research on the Psalms published during the past two decades. While necessarily selective, this survey opens with article and book-length studies focused on the Psalter in its entirety. These studies range from those primarily intended for novice readers, to intricate, in-depth scholarly commentaries. Subsequently, many publications invested in more specific topics are discussed. These address the Psalms in their ancient Near Eastern milieu, probe crucial form-critical and rhetorical-critical issues, and focus on the shaping of the Psalter, its potential as a book of theology, and its reception across the centuries.

20 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that the suffering of the righteous people in Ps 12 is the result of arrogant Jewish and also non-Jewish rulers who use speech as an instrument of deception, fraud, flattery, boasting, and questioning Yahweh's authority in order to oppress and intimidate believers.
Abstract: This paper contends that Ps 12 should be read, as part of the composition Pss 9–14, as a response to and an explication of Prov 30:1–14 by exponents of Wisdom thinking in the Persian period. The suffering of the righteous people in Ps 12 is described as the result of arrogant Jewish and also non-Jewish rulers who use speech as an instrument of deception, fraud, flattery, boasting, and questioning Yahweh’s authority in order to oppress and intimidate believers. It is proposed that the historic context of the final form of the text was that of the “piety of the poor,” a theology which developed from the need to restore dignity and provide hope to victims of social and religious oppression in the post-exilic era. It would seem that these people sought comfort in the word of Yahweh and that they found vindication for themselves in those sections of the developing “canon” which promised that Yahweh would intervene on behalf of those people who represented true humility and piety.

9 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a programmatic approach to the meter of the Tiberian liturgical chant (syllable, foot, and phonological phrase) is presented, which is based on Kurylowicz's 2+2 phrases per verse.
Abstract: This programmatic paper approaches the metre of biblical poetry as a problem in generative metrics. Recalling the earlier proposal of Kurylowicz (1972, 1975), it is argued that the organizational principles of the Tiberian liturgical chant (syllable, foot, and, crucially, phonological phrase) are also the metrical principles of biblical poetry -or at least that of Job, Proverbs and a fair portion of the Psalms. When the musical transformations of the poetic accent system are taken into account, Psalm 111 conforms to Kurylowicz's 2+2 phrases per verse. However, the 2+2 analysis only scratches the surface: the distribution of foot-, word- and line-types in Psalm 111 is also regulated by prosodic principles.

5 citations


Cites background from "The Psalms in Form: The Hebrew Psal..."

  • ...8:22–31 (Cooper 1976: 199ff ); and Job generally (Vetter 1897). The apparent cases of 4 + 2 in verses 9 and 10 are reanalysed here as tripartite 2 + 2 + 2. 14 The Law of Transformation is similar to rhythm rule or nesiga, just one prosodic level higher: the clash of back-to-back disjunctives is resolved by demoting a disjunctive to its ‘virtual’ disjunctive counterpart (an appropriate conjunctive). Schematically, we could characterize all instances in Psalm 111 as C D D → C C D. (Indeed, musically, the reality might even be more nesiga-like: X Y Y → Y X Y. This might explain why putative conjunctives, reserved exclusively for the output of such a transformation, graphically resemble disjunctive counterparts in the prose system: conspicuously, the conjunctive tarcha, which is identical to the prose D1f tiphcha.) 15 The standard notation employed here is borrowed from Dresher (1994), ultimately from Cohen (1969). Conjunctives (C) are distinguished from disjunctives (D)....

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  • ...8:22–31 (Cooper 1976: 199ff ); and Job generally (Vetter 1897). The apparent cases of 4 + 2 in verses 9 and 10 are reanalysed here as tripartite 2 + 2 + 2. 14 The Law of Transformation is similar to rhythm rule or nesiga, just one prosodic level higher: the clash of back-to-back disjunctives is resolved by demoting a disjunctive to its ‘virtual’ disjunctive counterpart (an appropriate conjunctive). Schematically, we could characterize all instances in Psalm 111 as C D D → C C D. (Indeed, musically, the reality might even be more nesiga-like: X Y Y → Y X Y. This might explain why putative conjunctives, reserved exclusively for the output of such a transformation, graphically resemble disjunctive counterparts in the prose system: conspicuously, the conjunctive tarcha, which is identical to the prose D1f tiphcha.) 15 The standard notation employed here is borrowed from Dresher (1994), ultimately from Cohen (1969)....

    [...]

  • ...Dhorme’s footnotes to his discussion of metre in Job (1926: cxlviii, notes 2-3) point to an obscure paper by Paul Vetter (1897).8 Vetter’s ‘elementarste und grundlegende Gesetz’ summarizes his approach to the metre of Job guided by the poetic accents:...

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