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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The book of Psalms is considered an anthology consisting of laments and hymns with no particular order of arrangement. Hermann Gunkel applied a form-critical method to categorize each psalm by its Gattung and Sitz im Leben. His student, Sigmund Mowinckel, studied how and where each psalm in the Psalter was used in the cultic life of ancient Israel. In the mid-twentieth century, Brevard S. Childs championed the canonical approach to biblical interpretation while James A. Sanders suggested that biblical texts are grounded in historical settings that can shed light on the canonical shape of the psalms. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint, both of which divide the Psalter into five books, indicate that a number of “editions” of psalm collections circulated until quite late in the history of ancient Israel. This article explores the shape and shaping of the Psalter by looking at the time period in which the Hebrew Bible in general and the book of Psalms in particular were shaped into their final forms.

Keywords: Psalms, Hermann Gunkel, Sigmund Mowinckel, Psalter, ancient Israel, Brevard S. Childs, canonical shape, Dead Sea scrolls, Septuagint, Hebrew Bible

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