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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The psalms share a number of similarities with cults in ancient Israel. There are four main dimensions of “cult”: place, time, act, and person. A fifth parameter may be added to the concept of “cult”: social setting (Sitz im Leben). The Second Temple was a focal point of ritual (liturgical) development in ancient Israel, yet diverse genres of psalms can also be found outside temple premises, including synagogal meetings and rites of passage and healing. This article focuses on some genres of psalms that were not part of rituals performed in temples, such as individual complaints and thanksgivings. It also considers another large group of biblical psalms with hardly any affinities to temple worship and its sacrificial system: the so-called “wisdom” or “didactic” poems of the Psalter.

Keywords: psalms, cults, ancient Israel, rituals, individual complaints, thanksgivings, worship, didactic poems, Psalter, temples

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