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Psalms of assurance: an analysis of the formation and function of Psalms of Solomon in Second Temple Judaism

By Bradley Jason Embry

Abstract

This dissertation presents a study of the 1 sI century Jewish document Psalms of Solomon, the primary focus of which concerns the theological framework and authorial intention that gave rise to its formation and function. As a response to Pompey's invasion of Jerusalem, the authors construct an apologetic predicated on a specific theological framework from the Hebrew Bible, herein termed the 'prophetic paradigm'. This paradigm provided the basic elements of punishment for sinfulness and redemption for repentance that constitute the theological trajectory of the document. By reading history through this particular theological lens, the authors effectively create a didactic response to the historical conflagration, and the document reads as 'literature of assurance'. The project proceeds in seven parts. The introduction contains a discussion of the general features of the document, such as authorship, date, provenance, language, textual history, as well as the most recent scholarly conclusions. Specific details pertinent to this particular dissertation are also introduced, such as inter-textuality, working definitions of apocalyptic and prophetic genres, and the need for a re-examination the document. In the first section, Psalms of Solomon and Deuteronomy 32 are set in comparison along the lines of my approach to inter-textuality. The effort in this first section is to ascertain to what extent Psalms of Solomon was written with the biblical prophetic material in mind, and to probe the extent to which this program dominated the composition. With this view in mind, the second section seeks to examine the overall cohesion of the document in light of its poetic structure and reveals certain hermeneutical insights encountered in the process. Section three acts on the observations of the frrst two sections, that a dominant theological program governs the document and that it is to be read as a cohesive whole, by critiquing a particular concept in this light, namely the Temple motif. The findings reveal that the Temple motif figures prominently in the text and that categories such as sinners, righteous, purity, impurity, Jews, non-Jews are defined from the perspective that God is present in the Temple at Jerusalem. Inasmuch as the issues of sinners, righteous, purity, impurity, Jews, and non-Jews are of central importance to the community at Qumran, the fmdings of section three commend a comparison between Psalms of Solomon and Qumran, which gives a point of comparison in highlighting these concepts within the document. In section four, a comparison between the theology of Psalms of Solomon and Qumran is made on three points, the Law of Moses, the Temple, and the will of God. Section five consists of a brief evaluation of the use of Psalms of Solomon by NT scholarship. The intention of this final section is to promote an awareness of the need for re-evaluating Psalms of Solomon's position and place within the history of the deVelopment of religious concepts, in this case messianism and use of the document by NT scholarship

Year: 2005
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.dur.ac.uk:768
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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