Tradition and Interpretation

By G. W. Anderson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

IX
THE PSALMS AND ISRAELITE WORSHIP

J. H. EATON


I. INTRODUCTION

(a) The nature of the task--difficulties and principles

THE study of the Psalms in relation to Israelite worship has been very fruitful; it has rediscovered the vitality of many texts and done much to change our whole view of Israelite religion. Nevertheless, it has given rise to some difficult and controversial questions.

Of the various sources of difficulty, we may mention first the poetic style of the Psalms. This gives rise to many ambiguities when the original human context has been lost. Thus it is often doubtful whether a verb refers to past, present, or future, or whether it describes a fact or expresses a wish. Increasing knowledge of other Semitic languages has contributed much to the discussion of syntax and vocabulary, but has also created many new uncertainties. The stimulating commentary of M. Dahood well illustrates this, abounding in novel and controversial renderings.

Another difficulty is to specify what we mean by a psalm's 'original' meaning or use. Ancient compositions so often appear as new permutations of older stock rather than as original creations. If one sentence reflects a rite of mythological import, should we take it as evidence of the psalm's setting in Israelite worship, or might it be a fragment from pre-Israelite times, re-used with an altered intention? Are royal concepts evidence of a king's psalm, or have they been reapplied to commoners? Presumably, the most likely explanation of the parts of a psalm will be that which leads to a good explanation of the whole. 'Original' will refer to the meaning and use which belonged to the psalm when it was constituted in its

-238-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Tradition and Interpretation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 470

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?