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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621

Abstract

WEBER, Beat. Old testam. essays [online]. 2010, vol.23, n.3, pp. 834-845. ISSN 2312-3621.

With the help of reception-aesthetic considerations and with regard to the hermeneutics of the book and canonical theology, the beginning of the book of Psalms is interpreted as an introduction to the message of the whole book. Because the reader encounters the book primarily in the form of a consecutive reading from one psalm to the next, and since Pss 1-3 each involves a new theme and level of communication (which is no longer the case with Ps 4), the article argues for a threefold overture: "(Torah-)Wisdom" (Ps 1), the "Royal rule of God and his anointed" (Ps 2), and "praying with David" (Ps 3) are the three main theological and spiritual themes of the Psalter. The commonly held opinion that Pss 1 and 2 form a double portal into the Psalter is brought into question since the pairing of Pss 1-2 on the one hand and the grouping of Pss 3-14 as the first ensemble of the first Davidic Psalter (Pss 3-41*) on the other is perceptible only after a re-reading and memorizing of the book. Two different techniques of arrangement of psalms should be recognized: The prayers (of David), beginning with Ps 3, are placed in a series of adjacent psalms. But from time to time wisdom- and royal psalms are inserted at (the most) strategic places in order to interrupt the main line of prayer for theological reflection. Some hints are given of how the themes addressed in Pss 1-3 as the overture to the Psalter are developed in the book as a whole.

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