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Old Testament Essays

On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919


SUTTON, Lodewyk. Darkness as an Anthropological Space: Perspectives Induced by Psalms 88 and 139 on the Themes of Death, Life and the Presence of YHWH. Old testam. essays [online]. 2019, vol.32, n.2, pp.556-577. ISSN 2312-3621.

In this article an intertextual comparison is made between Pss 88 and 139 on the theme and use of the concept of "darkness." In the meta-narrative of the shape and shaping of the Psalter, these two psalms are counterpointed to each other. Psalm 88 is traditionally viewed as an individual lament of a person who is sick, dying or facing death. Darkness is a prominent theme in this psalm, with a situation of hopelessness in the exilic period. In contrast, darkness is portrayed differently in Psalm 139, where a different message for the post-exilic period is presented in the meta-narrative. Psalm 139, from the perspective of YHWH as creator, can be interpreted as a ritual or individual meditative confession after some sort ofpossible trial period. To gain a better understanding on the use of darkness in these two psalms, the theme is analysed from the perspective of anthropological space.

Keywords : Psalm 88; Psalm 139; anthropological space; darkness; death; life; presence of Yhwh.

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