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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The book of Psalms offers glimpses and snippets of dramatic performance that portray the human person as complex, problematic, and wondrous. More specifically, the Psalter presents a risk-taking, subversive notion of humanness, celebrating the human as “next to God”—that is, one who is derived from God, intimately and definitively linked to God, a life lived before God, and answers back to God. In the Psalms, therefore, the human person is a dialogic partner with God in an interactive covenant that bestows freedom but also answerability. This article examines the notion of “being human” in the Psalms using genres of poetry as a guide. It shows that the psalmic person typically performs the drama of covenantal relationship ranging from initial praise and obedience through complaint, petition, and confession to thanks for a new life. It also looks at the performed self of the human person in the Psalms based on the major literary genres and argues that human personhood is a dialogic agent.

Keywords: Psalms, human person, Psalter, humanness, God, poetry, praise, self, literary genres, personhood

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