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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The Canaanite backgrounds of the Psalms emerged as an important topic of biblical research after the 1930s following the discovery of texts at the site of Late Bronze Age Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) in Syria. Scholars have identified many similarities between the Ugaritic texts and the Hebrew Bible, including the Psalms, leading to speculation that these corpora belonged to the same larger cultural milieu. As a result, the Bible’s emphasis on the foreignness of the Canaanites and other peoples, such as the Amorites and the Hittites, appears to be a polemic against Israelites who fail to conform to monotheistic worship of Yahweh, rather than against a foreign culture or society. This article examines the Psalms’ Canaanite backgrounds as represented mainly by the Ugaritic texts, first by discussing the relationship between Ugarit and Canaan. It then looks at poetic style, various literary genres or types, and type-scenes. It also considers the hymnic motif of praising the divine name for the Ugaritic texts and the Psalter, with reference to Psalm 29 which shows a strong “Canaanite background”.

Keywords: Canaanite backgrounds, Psalms, Ugarit, Ugaritic texts, Hebrew Bible, Canaanites, Canaan, poetic style, literary genres, type-scenes

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