Psalms 9–10: A Counter to
Conventional Social Reality
NORMAN GOTTWALD'S SCHOLARSHIP has impinged upon our common work in crucial ways. He has placed us all in his debt, including those who do not easily follow his lead. I am pleased to register my debt through this essay. Two aspects of Gottwald's work are in my purview for this essay. First, Gottwald has well argued that acceptance of "the final form of the text" (as in canon criticism) does not preclude a social analysis of the text but requires it, so that we can attend to the interest and disputes that have received canonical articulation.1 Second, Gottwald has shown that scriptural texts, like all texts, grow out of socioeconomic-political realities and voice those realities, and they cannot be understood apart from those realities.2 He has been criticized (rightly in my judgment) for not treating text and social reality in a more dialectical fashion; he has, nonetheless, taught us crucial lessons concerning the reality-base of a textual voice. In this essay, I will propose a rereading of Psalms 9–10 that is, in my judgment, decisively illuminated by Gottwald's scholarship.
1 Norman K. Gottwald, "Social Matrix and Canonical Shape," TToday 42 (1985):
2.David Jobling ("Sociological and Literary Approaches to the Bible: How Shall
the Twain Meet?" JSOT 38 "1987": 85–93) has seen that Gottwald's crucial contri-
bution is not his "peasant revolt" hypothesis but the methodological revolution he
has articulated and modeled.