D. Firth and P. Johnston:  Interpreting the Psalms:  Issues and Approaches (IVP; 2005)


                              Reflective Questions on Interpreting the Psalms

                          By Ted Hildebrandt (Gordon College, Wenham, MA)


Ch. 1.  David Howard:  “Psalms and Current Study” (pp. 23-40).


            1A.      What new methodologies are being employed in Psalms studies? (23)

            2A.      How does the addition of linguistic study of Hebrew poetry supplement

                        the literary and structural approaches? (23)

            3A.      What contribution has Qumran played in Psalms studies? (23)

            4A.      What is the difference between the “old method” of reading the Psalms as

                        diverse compositions, loosely collected and the “new method” which

                        focuses on Psalms as a literary unit and canonical entity? (24)

            5A.      What is “sitz im leben” where does this term come from and how does

                        it function in Psalms studies? (24)

            6A.      What is the chronological focus of canonical approaches to the Psalms

                        as opposed to the chronological focus if individual Psalms are examined?


            7A.      How does Howard distinguish between psalmic “macrostructural”

                        approaches and “microstructural” approaches? What kinds of results

                        will each approach yield? (24)

            8A.      Why did Wilson in studying the Psalms as a book go back to Sumerian

                        Qumran and other ANE hymnic collections? (25)

            9A.      What does Wilson mean by the “Royal Frame” (Ps. 2, 72, 89, 144) and

                        “Wisdom Frame” (Ps. 1, 73, 90, 107, 145)?  (25)

            10A.    What are books I, III, IV, V?  (25)

            11A.    What tension does Wilson see between the Royal and Wisdom Frames?


            12A.    Which books focus on the Davidic King and which on the divine king?

                        Why the shift? (25)

            13A.    How does Zenger’s insight that the Psalms are not cultic or liturgically

                        based but wisdom related and a literary “sanctuary” itself shift our

                        understanding of Psalms? Does “sanctuary” go well with the notion of

                        “wisdom”? (26)

            14A.    What different approaches are there for the function of Psalm 1, 2 and

                        3 and the relationship between these three Psalms? (26)  What difference

                        does it make as to how one views the whole of Psalms?

            15A.    What is the relationship of the human Davidic kingship in Psalms with

                        the divine kingship of Yahweh? (26)  How does that manifest itself in

                        Ps. 144 as opposed to Ps. 145? 

            16A.    How does Mitchell see the relationship between the Davidic king and

                        divine King in Psalms? (27)

            17A.    Are the Psalms to be tied to historical pre-exilic and post-exilic historical

                        situations or only seen as eschatological?  What difference does it make?


            18A.    What methodology did David Howard use in establishing the micro-

                        structural relations between Psalms 93-100? (28)  What does Howard

                        see in the next step needed to supplement his research?

            19A.    How does Creach’s semantic approach differ from Howard lexemic

                        approach?  (28)  How would www.mapmyword.com be useful in semantic


            20A.    How does Michael O’Connor describe Hebrew poetry? (29)  What were

                        his contributions? (30)

            21A.    What two features does Adele Berlin see as marking Hebrew poetry? (30)

                        What three levels does Berlin see parallelism operating on? (31)

            22A.    How does Morris distinguish between syntactic, semantic and pragmatic

                        parallelistic features? (31) What is morphology, phonology and semantics

                        and what role does each play in the description of poetry? (31)

            23A.    What contribution does Kugel make to the discussion of parallelism? How

                        does he see the relationship of the two parallel poetic lines? (32)

            24A.    What contribution does Robert Alter make to the relationship between the

                        two parallel poetic lines?  How do the catagories ot complementarity,

                        focusing, heightening, intensification, specification, consequentiality,

                        contrast and disjunction go beyond the simple “synonymous” relationship

                        used in the standard description (Lowth)? (32)

            25A.    What is the difference between analyse structurelle (surface) and

                        analyse structurale (deep-structural) approaches to a poetic text? (33)

                        Structuralists look for repeated patterns what are the pros and cons

                        of this approach?

            26A.    What are deconstructive and reader-response hermeneutical approaches

                        to texts? (34)

            27A.    When Howard says that Bellinger uses: form, canonical, rhetorical, reader-

                        response, theological analyses and later physiological readings of a psalm,

                        what are each of these and what contribution and problems are resident in

                        each? (34f)

            28A.    What contribution has Sanders and the Qumran Psalms Scroll played in

                        understanding the development of the canonical book of Psalms? (35f)

            29A.    What arguments have been fielded against the order and fluidity of books

                        IV and V of the Psalter as manifest at Qumran? (36)

            30A.    What two scholars dominated Psalms study in the twentieth century?

                        What approach did each take? (36f)

            31A.    How does Eaton’s taking individual laments as royal psalms of the king

                        change how those Psalms are understood? (37)

            32A.    What is the distinction between Westermann’s  descriptive praise and

                        narrative praise psalms? Is it helpful in interpreting the Psalms? (37)

            33A.    What social settings of the Psalms does Gerstenberger use and how does

                        that differ from the settings proposed by Gunkel and Mowinckel? What

                        difference does it make?  How do all of these differ from the historic

                        way of looking at the settings of the psalms?

            34A.    What insights result from Broyles’ distinction between ‘psalms of plea’

                        and ‘psalms of complaint’? (38)  How is God viewed differently in each of

                        these?  When the complaint goes out against God who is seen as an aloof

                        bystander or antagonist what is the function of the Psalm?

            35A.    Jacobson looks at direct discourse in the Psalms of the enemies, psalmists

                        themselves and God.  What benefit would isolating those sections have?

            36A.    What are Brueggemann’s three functions of Psalms?  How are these

                        catagories beneficial? (39)  What is the difference between Psalms of

                        Orientation and Reorientation?  Are such categories a simple

                        multiplication of categories without benefit or are such classifications



Ch. 2:  Tremper Longman, “The Psalms and Ancient Near Eastern Prayer Genres”


            1A.      What are the two factors Longman sees as shaping the tone and tenor of

                        prayer? (41)

            2A.      What implications does Longman’s observation that “The majority of

                        psalms are prayers? (41)

            3A.      How does prayer in the Bible differ from polytheistic prayers in the

                        Ancient Near East? (41)

            4A.      Longman distinguishes the majority of prayers from written prayers. 

                        What is the difference?  What is the difference between prayers recorded

                        for literary versus prayers recorded for ritual purposes? (42)

            5A.      What does Longman note about the shift in person in the hymn to Enlil

                        from Sumer?  Does such a shift take place in biblical psalms? (43)

            6A.      Longman points out the early Sumerian ‘Hymn to Ekur’ as a hymn to

                        a temple dedicated to Enlil.  How is this similar and dissimilar to the

                        role of the temple in biblical psalms? (43)

            7A.      How does the Shulgi hymn which features neo-Sumerian kingship differ

                        from the way the king functions in the biblical psalms? (43f)

            8A.      What is an example of an author who authored Akkadian hymns of

                        love and war?  Is the association of a name to a hymn only seen in

                        the biblical titles? (44)

            9A.      Lambert translates a hymn to Shamash the sun god.  What role does

                        the sun play in the biblical psalms? (44)

            10A.    Sumerian lament psalms are embedded with what other type literature?


            11A.    What is “The balag” type of lament and in what historical periods does

                        it occur?  What biblical book is close to this type of lament? (45)  What

                        is the root meaning of the term “balag”?

            12A.    What shift in pragmatic usage takes place in the balag from its early

                        Sumerian origin to its later use? (46)

            13A.    What was an Ershemma lament?  What is the root meaning of the term?

                        What three contexts did the Ershemma lament function in? (46f)

            14A.    What is the root meaning of a Sumerian Shuilla lament?  (47)

            15A.    What was one of the basic motives for the Sumerians providing the

                        reason for their prayers? (47)  How did one’s actions impact God in

                        the biblical prayers?

            16A.    What was the function of letter prayers? Are there manifestations of

                        similar to that at the Western wall in Jerusalem today? (48)  What

                        the similarities and differences?

            17A.    What is the function of the later ershaunga prayer? (48)

            18A.    What grows in significance in later Mesopotamian prayers that is similar

                        to biblical prayers? (49)

            19A.    In Egypt who sang many of the hymns?  How does that fit with the

                        arena in which the biblical psalms functioned? (49)

            20A.    What three periods and transitions are seen in the Egyptian hymns?

                        Who developed these hymns and what was their function? (49)

            21A.    What is unique about the hymn to Aten featured by pharaoh Akhenaten?

                        Who is the speaker in the hymn to Aten? (50f)

            22A.    Longman parallels the hymn to Aten with what biblical psalm? (51)

            23A.    In Egypt some of the hymns are to the divine pharaohs themselves.

                        How is that different than Israelite psalmity? (51)

            24A.    What are the three aspects of Hittite prayers (ca. 1500 BC)?

            25A.    What parallels are found in Israelite prayer with the Hittite arkwar?

                        How is the Hittite juridical and legal terminology similar and

                        dissimilar to that of Israel’s? (52)

            26A.    What role does the mugawar play in Hittite pray and are their parallels

                        in biblical prayers? (53)

            27A.    What is the Hittite walliyatar and how is that paralleled in Israel?


            28A.    How does Ugaritic [Syro-Palestinian] prayers seem to differ from

                        the prayers of Mesopotamia? (54) What dominated and what was


            29A.    What is shared with the petition to Baal and several biblical Psalms?


            30A.    Why does Longman see “parallelomania” as a problem?  How does

                        he seek to avoid this fallacy? What word does he use?  What is it’s

                        significance? (55)

            31A.    What Psalm does Longman cite as describing Yahweh in the language

                        of Baal? (55)

            32A.    What do you think of Miller’s statement: “when Israel begn to pray to the

                        Lord, it did so in the midst of peoples whose arms had long been raised

                        and whose heads had been bowed to the gods that directed their lives and

                        delivered them from disaster”? (56)

            33A.    What four areas does Van der Toorn see in the laments of the Ancient

                        Near East?  How do these four sources fit with the causes described in

                        the biblical laments? (56)

            34A.    What four areas does Longman see as parallel between the Mesopotamian

                        and biblical prayers? (56)

            35A.    What three areas of difference does Longman see between Mesopotamian

                        and biblical prayers? (57f)

            36A.    What hymn from Egypt is compared with Ps. 104?  Look at the actual

                        texts and what similarities and dissimilarities may be seen? (58)

            37A.    What do you think of Longman’s closing assessment:  “The similarities

                        that we have seen above, in large measure, are born not from influence

                        and borrowing but from common concerns and similar experiences.”  How

                        does this impact how we understand the psalms in their original settings?


            38A.    What is one major difference in the object of prayer in the ANE and

                        in the biblical prayers? (59)


Ch. 3 Philip Johnston, “The Psalms and Distress”


            1A.      How does Johnston describe the distress seen in the Psalms?  Would

                        you agree with his descriptions? (63)

            2A.      How do the enemies appear in the Psalms of distress?  When does

                        God appear as the source of the distress in Psalms? (63)

            3A.      Are there more distress Psalms early in the Psalter and fewer at the

                        end?  What does that say about the development of the Psalter as

                        a unified text?  (63)

            4A.      How does the struggle to maintain faith in trying circumstances fit

                        the Psalmist’s situation to parallels today? (64)

            5A.      Johnston notes that the theme of distress occurs not only in Psalms of

                        Lament but also in thanksgivings, royal psalms and even wisdom.  Is

                        distressed the same way in each of these very diverse genres? (64)  Why

                        does giving such short quotes not really allow the reader to distinguish

                        how distress is manifest in each of these Psalms (cf. Ps. 73:2 and 129:3 in

                        their contexts)?

            6A.      What genre does distress not occur in?  Why do you think that is? (65)

            7A.      In the descriptions of personal distress how are the parts of the body

                        described as participating in the distress? (65)

            8A.      How does the distress statement in Ps. 22:6 “I am a worm, and not human”

                        fit with the passages that talk about humans being made a little lower than

                        the angels (Ps. 8) and made in the image of God? (66)

            9A.      When describing personal isolation notice how birds are used to portray

                        that.  How are animals used in the psalms? (67)  Why are animals used?

            10A.    How does the communal lament differ from the personal lament? (67)

            11A.    Johnston notes what two sources are much more strongly highlighted in

                        communal laments? (67)

            12A.    How do you tell where the Psalms of Lament (Individual and communal)

                        are in the Psalter?  What use is the appendix pp. 296ff?

            13A.    How do you think about the blaming of God or the portraying of God as

                        enemy in certain of the Psalms?  Is this to be faulted to the psalmist as

                        inadequate theologically or how are we to understand it? (67)

            14A.    How are the enemies portrayed in the Psalms?  How frequent is the enemy

                        theme?  Why is it so prevalent? (68f)

            15A.    How are the enemies as animals compared and contrasted with the use of

                        the animal themes in other ways in the Psalms? (69)

            16A.    How does the fact that the water image is both a sign of life and blessing

                        and also a source of distress shape the way we look at metaphors?  Does

                        a metaphor always trigger the same concepts? (70)

            17A.    How is the underworld described in the Psalms (water, bars, gates...)? (71)

            18A.    What is the most negative feature of sheol and how doest the Psalmist use

                        it to argue for God’s deliverance from it? (71)

            19A.    What are some the implications of Brueggemann’s observation:  “The

                        surprise of Israel’s prayer is that the extravagance of praise does not

                        silence or censor Israel’s need but seems to legitimate and authorise a

                        second extravagance, the extravagance of complaint, lament, accusation,

                        petition, indignation, assault, and insistence.” (72)

            20A.    What was the point of Johnston’s comparison of Ps. 116:1f in the NRSV

                        and the NJPS?  (tense) (73)

            21A.    How do the stereotypical stock phrases and images fit with the uniqueness

                        of each psalm and situation? (73)

            22A.    How comfortable are we with the expressions pointing to God as the

                        source of distress in prayer?  How are such expressions suppressed today?

                        How does theology help or hinder such expressions? (74)

            23A.    In what senses does the petition for God not to hide, be silent, forsake or

                        cast off the psalmist to be understood?  While Johnston calls these

                        petitions are they really solely petitions? (75)

            24A.    How do the enemies in communal psalms differ from those of the

                        individual psalms? (75)

            25A.    What developed form of expression does Westermann link to the

                        description of the enemy? (76)

            26A.    How to you handle the linking of sin and suffering in several psalms? (77)

            27A.    If, according to some, all humans are sinful at the core how do you explain

                        the protestations of innocence in the psalms? (78)

            28A.    What distinction does Johnston make between a lament psalm and a

                        lamentation? (78)

            29A.    How do communal laments differ to the individual laments?

            30A.    Why is Psalm 88 unique? (79)  How does this psalm temper

                        Westermann’s statement that all psalms move beyond lament?

                        What is it about lament that bothers us?

            31A.    What three explanations are given from the movement beyond lament in

                        so many lament psalms? Is the cultic oracle supported by specific psalms?

                        How does a vow or the renewed trust in Yahwah as divine warrior supply

                        the answer for why the shift from lament to hope in many psalms?          (80f)

            32A.    How strong is the divine Warrior motif in the Psalms and what

                        implications does that have for our view of war? Why is this metaphor not

                        developed in Christianity today? (81)

            33A.    What do you think about Weiser’s explanation that most laments are really

                        thanskgivings to which a powerful lament was tacked onto the beginning?


            34A.    Is Williamson’s suggestion that “laments should be seen as composed in

                        the perspective of their hopeful conclusion, not their sorrowful beginning”

                        worthy? (82)

            35A.    What do you think of the canonical shape reinforcing the movement from

                        lament to praise? (82)

            36A.    Johnston is right that “distress” defies the boundaries of form critical

                        genre analysis.  Is there a typology of “distress” that could be developed

                        to better understand what is going on in Psalms? (83)

            37A.    How does Johnston challenge former psalms study by challenging distress

                        in the contexts of enthronement (Mowinckel), covenant renewal (Weiser)

                        or Zion (Kraus)?  (83)

            38A.    How would one go about organizing a study of “distress” in the Psalms?

                        What other disciplines such as psychology, literature etc. could be brought

                        to bear             on these expressions?  Does God himself ever express distress? 


4. Hutchinson:  The Psalms and Praise


            1A.  What is the relationship of praise and selfishness?  Do the psalmists

                        “turn their thoughts away from themselves” and onto God? (85)

                        How does that relate to the Psalms are human response?

            2A.  What does the fact that hll (hallelujah root) found in the Psalms 75

                        times tell about “praise” as a major theme in Psalms? What is the

                        relationship between the various lexical terms for praise?  Does

                        Hutchinson isolate and elaborate on the relationship of each of the

                        seven parallel verbs? (86)  How do thanking, glorifying, magnifying,

                        extolling, blessing, inoking and rejoicing relate to each other and to

                        praise? (86)

            3A.  What are several problems with tying the notion of praise to lexical

                        words?  What problem does Ps. 8:1 suggest? (87) What does

                        Hutchinson mean when he refers to the “dangerous reduction of

                        lexical analysis alone?  What is wrong with Hutchinson’s analysis? 

                        What lexical items does he isolate as referring to praise and how

                        does he distinguish them?  (not)

            4A.  How does Hutchinson use the grammar of the plural form to argue

                        theologically? Is his argument solid using the plural form to support

                        congregational praise and hence diminish the value of praise of a

                        lone individual? (88) How does that relate to modern worship?

            5A.  Is the congregational nature of praise supported by the phrase “in the

                        midst of the congregation (Ps. 109:30; Ps. 26) as Hutchinson

                        suggests? (88)

            6A.  Does Ps. 136 support the notion of praise as “advertising” [not just

                        vertical but horizontal in its direction of expression]?  What is the

                        difference of praise spoken about God and praise spoken to God?


            7A.  How does the praise directed to God (Ps. 66:3; 92:4) undermine the

                        exclusive corporate nature of praise Hutchinson was trying to

                        develop? (89)

            8A.  What does Hutchinson note as a grammatical trigger from praise

                        about God to praise to God? (89)

            9A.  Note the shift in Psa. 118 between talking about God and to God? (89)

                        Is there and difference in the types of things that are addressed in

                        one and not the other?

            10A. What distinction does Westermann draw between descriptive praise

                        and declarative praise? (89)

            11A.  What frequent phrase indicates that sometimes it is difficult to

                        distinguish between descriptive and declarative praise (Ps. 136:1;

                        118:1)? (90) ki leolam hasdo

            12A. What two different ways can “ki” be taken?  What difference does it

                        make (vid. Ps. 95:6-7)? (because, that)  How does it give the motive

                        for praise in Ps. 100:5? (90)

            13A.  The grounds for praise is God’s attributes [which ones in particular]

                        and also his marvelous deeds (salvation, creation...).  What are

                        example texts to support this observation? (91)

            14A.  What three levels of praise are seen in Ps. 103 and how does that

                        relate to Hutchinson’s earlier emphasis on an exclusively

                        congregational form of expression of praise? (91)

            15A.  What is parataxis in Hebrew poetry? (91)

            16A.  How does Hutchinson understand the nature of the acrostic poetic

                        form and its relationship to the emotional expression of praise? (92)

                        Is such a connection valid?  Can one slide so easily from poetic form

                        to praise implication?

            17A.  How does Hutchinson handle the dichotomy between emotion and

                        critical reason in the poetry of Psalms? (92)

            18A.  How does Hutchinson use Ps. 8:1 to show the weakness of a lexical,

                        grammatical and poetic approach to praise?  Do you agree with

                        Hutchinson’s criticism of these methodologies or is he setting up

                        underdeveloped straw men and then blowing them away? (93)

            19A.  How does a Gattung/genre approach help open the notion of praise in

                        the Psalms (cf. Ps. 8)? (93)

            20A.  What type of praise does Hutchinson, following Westermann, take

                        thanksgiving type psalms to be? (94)

            21A. What is Hutchinson’s main problem with Mowinckel’s proposed

                        enthronement festival sitz im leben? (94)

            22A. How does Hutchinson link praise to transformation in outlook

                        embraced in the midst of crisis?  Does that seem to be

                        comprehensive and valid? (95)  What Psalms are cited in support of

                        this?   Do they really fit?

            23A.  How does Hutchinson support the notion that praise is a corollary of

                        one’s  very existence? (95)

            24A.  What is lacking from Hutchinson’s section on genre and praise? (93-


            25A.  How do each of the five books of the Psalms conclude? (96)

            26A.  What is the difference between form criticism and canon criticism?


            27A.  Where do the sections of psalms of praise exist and what does that

                        suggest about the canonical shape of Psalms? (96) Where is there a     

                        concentration of praise psalms?

            28A. What types of concerns are found in the psalms at the “seams” of the

                        five books of the Psalms according to Wilson? (96)

            29A.  What event cause some doubt to the continuity of the Davidic

                        covenant? What role does Hutchinson see the Abrahamic covenant

                        play in the psalms? (96f)

            30A. What is the relationship of the eschatological vision and Davidic

                        covenantal expectations in the post-exilic psalms? (97)

            31A.  What setting does Hutchinson see for Psalm 119? (98)

            32A. What is the role of the enemies and their demise in relation to the

                        notion of praise? (98)

            33A. How did Hutchinson attempt to link the wisdom psalms (1, 73, 90; 19,

                        119) into the theme of praise?  Did his argument work? (99)

            34A.  Do you buy Lewis’ comment that praise is ‘inner health made

                        audible’? (99)

            35A.  Is praise to be seen exclusively in relation to God manifesting his

                        covenant faithfulness? (100)

Ch. 5: Jamie Grant:  Psalms and Kingship


            1A.      Does the Davidic superscriptions link Psalms into the kingship

                        motif? (101)

            2A.      Grant acknowledges that kingship is not as big a theme as praise,

                        lament or the cult in the Psalms. Is this correct? (102)

            3A.      Where are the royal psalms found and what are their characteristics?


            4A.      What does it mean that the royal Psalms are placed at the “seams”

                        canonically? (102)

            5A.      If the book of Psalms came together long after the demise of the

                        monarchy why are they still in the psalter? (102)

            6A.      Is there a divergence between the way the historical and law sections

                        portray the kingship and the Psalms?  Why the difference?

            7A.      Does a “kingshp” reading really make any difference to how we read

                        the Psalms today? (102)

            8A.      How did Gunkel define the “royal psalm” genre? What are some

                        examples of this genre? What faults with “royal psalm” as a genre

                        have according to Grant? (102f)

            9A.      What are characteristic marks of the “royal psalms” genre according

                        to Gunkel? (103)

            10A.    How do Ps. 101 and 110 show flaws in Gunkel’s thinking according

                        to Grant?  Is Grant’s criticism valid?  Has Grant really developed the

                        notion of the royal genre or is he simply critical of it? (103f)  How

                        does Grant seek to expand the notion of the genre of kingship


            11A.    How does Eaton seek to expand the “royal psalms” genre of Gunkel?

                        (105) What characteristics does Eaton take as indicating a royal           

                        background for a psalm? (105)

            12A.    Do the Davidic superscriptions necessarily trigger a “royal” setting

                        and theme connection? (106)  Are anonymous psalms to be

                        automatically understood as “royal”?

            13A.    What was the major contribution of Wilson’s work and how does it

                        impact how we understand the Psalms today differently than what

                        Gunkel and Mowinckel proposed? (107)

            14A.    In Wilson’s canonical approach where are psalms placed which have

                        special significance for the book of Psalms as a whole? (108)  Do

                        you agree or disagree with such an approach and what are its

                        strengths and weaknesses?  

            15A.    Which beginning/end/seam psalms highlight the royal or kingship

                        theme? (108)

            16A.    Why do you think the royal psalms play a lesser role in the

                        collections of books IV-V?  (109)

            17A.    What shift does Wilson note in Ps. 89 and why is it significant?


            18A.    In which adjacent psalms is an eschatological presentation of the

                        Davidic monarchy seen? What are some specific examples

                        illustrating this within those psalms? (109)

            19A.    Why did the editors of the Psalms keep the royal Psalms long after

                        the Davidic monarchy had collapsed? (110)   What techniques are

                        utilized in the hermeneutical understanding to extend the royal or

                        kingship aspects of the psalms to a broader audience?  How does one

                        move from specific author and context to a more universal


            20A.    How would a Davidic era reader read Ps. 2 differently than one from

                        the later-pre-exilic period, the post-exilic, Christian and later Jewish

                        communities? (111f)  What would be a possible connection between

                        the eschatological interpretation of the kingly or royal psalms and

                        Messianic interpretation of those same psalms? (112)

            21A.    How does the view of the kingship presented in psalms differ from

                        that presented in the historical books? (113)

            22A.    Is the problem that Israel wanted a king “like the other nations” the

                        real issue in the failure of Israel’s kingship as Gerbrandt has alleged?

                        (cf. Deut. 17; pp. 113) Why is Grant wrong on this point? (cf.


            23A.    How does Grant use the fact that the psalms are “occasional”

                        literature to support the psalms uncritical attitude toward the

                        institution of the kingship? (114)

            24A.    How does Grant portray the royal psalms as developing an

                        eschatological expectation of a future Davidic monarchy in line with

                        Deut. 17:14ff?  What does this understanding suggest about a

                        possible relationship between the negative historical portrayal of the

                        kingship and the psalmic portrayal? (114)

            25A.    Canonically how does Grant see the psalter as highlighting the

                        connections between the kingship and the torah? (115)

            26A.    If one were to develop the psalter’s view of the kingship what would

                        be the key elements and passages? (116)

            27A.    How does Grant see a shift in the kingship description from the

                        Messianic descriptions found in Ps. 2, 72, 110 and the now expanded

                        psalmic texts on kingship? (117)

            28A.    What two psalms does Grant focus on as showing the king as an

                        exemplar of piety and being rooted in torah? (117)  What                      

                        connections can be drawn between the king and the people?

            29A.    How does Grant see the relationship between Ps. 1 and 2 related to

                        the kingship question?  Does this approach do justice to Ps. 1? 

            30A.    What aspects of Jesus the King are featured by Grant’s kingship

                        understanding of the Psalms (118)



6. Jerome Creach:  The Psalms and the cult


            1A.      Creach says that the cultic approach is now being replaced by the

                        canonical approach to Psalms. How are these two approaches

                        different? (119)  Which critical approach was most closely

                        associated with the cult in Psalms research? (120)

            2A.      On what basis does Creach argue for retaining the connection

                        between the cult and psalms? (120)  What are the pros and cons

                        of his view?

            3A.      When Gunkel began his studies how were most people

                        understanding the setting of the psalms before him? (120)

            4A.      What did Gunkel believe about the date and authorship of the

                        psalms? (120f)

            5A.      What does Gunkel argue on the basis of the connection between

                        2 Sam. 1:19-27 and the psalms of the psalter? (121)  Is his argument


            6A.      What is the strength and weakness of assigning all genres of psalms

                        to the same sitz im leben or original setting? (121)  Is it possible the

                        setting or origin and the setting of use may be different? 

            7A.      What was the sole group of psalms that Gunkel viewed as outside

                        the cultic setting?  Is such thinking between the wisdom literature

                        and the cult still valid today (vid. Perdue’s book on Wisdom and

                        the Cult)? (121)

            8A.      What objections does Creach have to the cultic approach of Gunkel?

                        What two questions that Gunkel addressed are still worthy of

                        investigation according to Creach? (121)

            9A.      How does Creach define the “cult”? (122)

            10A.    What passages does Gunkel cite as supporting the connection

                        between lyrics and the cult in historical sections of the Old

                        Testament? (123f)

            11A.    What connections between the historical account in Num. 11 and

                        the psalms does Gunkel make?  Is it valid? (123)

            12A.    How does the historical account in 2 Sam. 6 differ from the account

                        of the Chronicler (1 Chr. 16) differ in the story of the bringing of the

                        ark to Jerusalem by David?  How is this event echoed in the Psalms?


            13A.    How strong is Creach’s connection between the verbalization of

                        thanks and the thanksgiving offering? (125)

            14A.    What does Creach see as the “clearest indicator of the cultic use of

                        psalms”? (125f) 

            15A.    What indicators of cultic use does Creach find in the superscription

                        of the psalms?  How does the mention of the types of instruments

                        in a psalm heading support the cultic use? (126)

            16A.    What types of things are mentioned inside the psalms (not including

                        the superscriptions) that highlight the connection of many psalms to

                        cultic expression? (127)

            17A.    How does Creach use a shift in voice in the psalm to argue for a

                        cultic setting of the psalm? Is that valid? (128)

            18A.    What did Mowinckel use as a paradigm from Babylon that he

                        paralleled to and brought into his thinking about Israelite worship?

                        (129)  What benefits and problems do you see with such an


            19A.    What psalms and themes did Mowinckel highlight in his study of

                        the Psalms? (129)

            20A.    How did Mowinckel’s paradigm change the way he interpreted

                        psalms particularly in how he understood the “I” referred to

                        in many psalms? (129)

            21A.    What is “corporate personality” and how did Mowinckel use it in

                        the psalms? (130)

            22A.    How did the Myth-Ritual school push Mowinckel’s ideas too far?

                        Why do many see problems with Mowinckel’s and his Akitu or New

                        Years’ cultic approach? (130)

            23A.    How did Weiser tweak Mowinckel’s New Year festival setting for

                        the Psalms? What data does Weiser’s redirection of the setting for

                        the psalm explain that Mowincel’s view was unable to handle? (131)

            24A.    What are the anti-cultic psalms and what themes do they relate?


            25A.    Do the historical texts support the notion of a temple court judgment

                        situation which could then be a link between psalms and the cult?

                        (133)  Do the psalms Beyerlin alleges fitting with a judicial process

                        and associated ordeal necessarily fit with a cultic setting?

            26A.    Does the ordeal described in Num. 5:11ff fit well with the psalms?

                        (134)  Is the ordeal process (e.g. river ordeals) really supported much

                        in the OT elsewhere?

            27A.    What three cultic settings have been suggested by Gunkel and then

                        Mowinckel and now more recently?  How would such differences in

                        cultic setting impact how these psalms are understood? (136)  What

                        contribution has Gerstenberger made to the suggestion of a possible

                        cultic setting?



7.  Psalms and Cult Symbolism: Cherubim Ark (139ff)

            1A.      What shaping does liturgy and ritual do to a text that is

                        different from literary, thematic or theological concerns? (139)

            2A.      How does the statement: “Psalms were not simply to be read;

                        they were to be performed.  Belief was expressed verbally and

                        visually” fit with a digital and other ways of performing the

                        message of the psalm? What is Broyles suggesting here?

            3A.      How does Broyles link the cult and the king? (140)

            4A.      How frequently are the cherubim and ark mentioned in the Psalms?

                        What does such data suggest for the hermeneutical process?

            5A.      How was the ark portrayed in the Pentateuchal narratives?

                        What is the “priestly strand of the Pentateuch that Broyles

                        refers to? (140)

            6A.      How was the ark used to “lead” the people in the wilderness? (141)

            7A.      How does the taking of Jericho under Joshua fit with Broyles

                        portrayal of the ark’s function in ancient Israel? (141)

            8A.      How was the ark harnessed for battle? (141)  How is the name

                        Ichabod linked into the ark narrative in Samuel at Aphek?

            9A.      How does 2 Samuel and Uriah manifest the presence of the ark

                        in battles and its use in warfare? (142)

            10A.    What was the relationship of the cherubim, ark and the Solomonic       

                        temple? (142)

            11A.    In Deut. 10:1-9 what does Broyles see as the main purpose of the

                        ark? Why does Broyles discuss Deut. 10 after the Solomonic temple

                        placement of the ark?  How does he use Deut. 8:8 to support this?


            12A.    What does the Chronicler situate around the narrative of David’s

                        bringing the ark to Jerusalem?  What ritual aspects are found in

                        the carrying up of the ark in Chronicles? (143)

            13A.    David refers to which Psalm when talking of rest for the ark and

                        its being footstool of God (1 Chr. 28:2)?  What does the reference

                        to that particular Psalm manifest of the canonical formation of the

                        Psalms as a book? (143)

            14A.    How did the role of the levites shift once the ark was placed in

                        the temple (2 Chr. 35:3)? (144)

            15A.    In what prophetic book are the cherubim prominent?

            16A.    What different aspects does Broyles see of the cherubim-ark

                        symbolically? (144)  What does the ark symbolize?

            17A.    How does Broyles understand the “ark of your might” in Ps. 132?

                        (145)  What is the appropriate response to this symbol of divine


            18A.    What does Ps. 132:6-8 re-enact?  To what does historical events

                        does Ps. 132 refer?  Why does Broyles say it is “probably post-exilic

                        in its final form? What might this suggest about the group known

                        as the songs of ascent?

            19A.    How is Psalm 78 linked to an historical narrative? (146)

            20A.    What are the pros/cons of Broyles attempt to link Ps. 105 to the

                        ark? (146)

            21A.    What terms does Broyles use to link Ps. 96 to the ark?  Is such

                        a linking legitimate do you think?—how strong or weak is it? (146)

            22A.    How does Broyles link Ps. 99 and 132?  (147)  The statement

                        of Yahweh’s kingship as seen as enthroned on the cherubim

                        has what connection to the ark? What new dimension does this

                        add to understanding the Yahweh melek (Yahweh is king) psalms?

            23A.    In Psalm 80 Yahweh’s enthroning on the cherubim has to do

                        with his strength as a warrior.  How is Yahweh portrayed as

                        a warrior in Psalms?  What implications does that have for

                        us today? (147)  What is the meaning of the phrase “Lord of

                        hosts” and how is it related to the warrior theme and linked to

                        the ark?

            24A.    Where is the song of the ark? What does it say? (148)

            25A.    What contribution does Ps. 68 make to Broyles’ discussion of

                        the ark? (148)  In Ps. 18 how did Yahweh ride the clouds? (149)

                        What does Broyles conjecture the relationship between the

                        ark below and the cherubim above?

            26A.    Upon what is Yahweh said to sit enthroned? (149)

            27A.    What accompanies the psalms of God’s ascent? (150)

            28A.    What does Broyles see as personified in the cherubim figures

                        in Ps. 97?  How tight is such a linking? (150)

            29A.    How is Ps. 97:7 extend the understanding of “bow down” in

                        relation to the cherubim-ark? (151)

            30A.    What themes and images does Broyles see as being pulled

                        together in Ps. 89?  Do such “attribute themes” necessitate

                        references to ark and cherubim? (151)

            31A.    How does Broyles get the ark into Ps. 24?  Is it legitimate?

                        What name was invoked over the ark? (152) Does the use of

                        that title necessitate the presence of the ark?  Does the convergence

                        of warrior/worship themes necessitate the presence of the ark as

                        Broyles alleges?

            32A.    How does Broyles use “in the shadow of your wings” to link into

                        his ark-cherubim presence? (152f)

            33A.    In Ps. 36 are the references to the “heavens” and “rider of the

                        heavens” and righteousness/justice themes enough to link this

                        psalm to the ark? (153)

            34A.    In Ps. 61 does the juxtaposition of “shelter of your wings” and

                        “abide in your tent forever” enough to locate “wings” at the

                        sanctuary?  Are wings just bird metaphor or is it cherubim

                        metaphor? What difference does it make to our understanding? (154)

            35A.    How does Broyles use the ark-cherubim to solve the mystery of

                        the shift in laments from lament to praise? (154)  How does

                        Broyles understanding link the earthly and heavenly in such

                        a way that actually helps us understand the imagery of Ps. 57? (154)

            36A.    Who does Broyles see as ending the ritual processions with the

                        ark? (155) How does Broyles’ understanding of 1 Kgs. 8:8 impact

                        how he sees the ritual ark procession?

            37A.    Broyles poses the question: If the cherubim-ark was so prominent in

                        Israel’s pre-exilic festival worship, then why is this not more self-       

                        evident from the psalms themselves?  Does his answer satisfy?

                        (155f).  What are the strengths and weaknesses of his answer?

            38A.    What shift in understanding does Broyles see happening as the

                        ark was locked down in the temple with no more processions?

                        Is such a shift warranted from the text? (156) Does his dating

                        of Deuteronomy impact how he understands this alleged “shift”?

            39A.    What do you think of Broyles conclusion: “Instead of constructing

                        theology on the basis of ideas, concepts and themes, it becomes

                        apparent that the psalms—as liturgies—often presented their

                        theology by means of visual symbols, rituals and their associated

                        traditions.” What implications does that have for the digital

                        representation of the psalms?  Must there always be a tension

                        between the propositional/thematic and the visual?  (156)


Ch. 8:  Firth:  The Teaching of the Psalms (159ff)

            1A.      What is Firth’s critique of the Gunkel/Mowinckel form

                        critical approach?  (159)  How does form critical work undermine

                        the teaching of the Psalms?

            2A.      How does taking the psalms as prayers of human words to God

                        inhibit their being taught as the word of God? (160)  How often

                        have you heard sermons or teaching based on the book of Psalms?

            3A.      How did Child’s canonical approach impact the use of the Psalms

                        as Scripture?

            4A.      How does the editorial shaping of the book of Psalms suggest a

                        didactic intention for the book? (161)

            5A.      What is the difference between Whybray and Wilson’s

                        understanding of the editorial process by which the book of Psalms

                        was put together and its impact on the book’s didactic intent? (162)

            6A.      What implications does canonical status have for the book’s teaching

                        role within Israel? (162)

            7A.      What two levels of didactic intent does Firth see in the book of

                        Psalms? (162)  How do these different levels interact?

            8A.      What does Firth mean by the mimetic didactic function of each

                        individual psalm as a prayer or praise? (163)

            9A.      Which psalms are most closely linked to original didactic intent?


            10A.    What three teaching strategies are used in Psalms and what are

                        examples of each in action? (164)

            11A.    What underlies each different teaching strategy?  Does experienced

                        based learning necessarily fit or is this a modern construct Firth is

                        projecting back into the text of Psalms?(164)

            12A.    How does “testimony” function didactically in the Psalms? (165)

                        In what senses is Ps. 73 an example of counter-faith testimony?  Is

                        the goal of Ps. 73 worship?

            13A.    How does the testimony of Ps. 30 differ from that of Ps. 73?  What

                        implications are there from testimony as far as how its teaching

                        value is accessed?  (166f)

            14A.    Where are the admonitional aspects of teaching most prevalent in

                        Scripture? (167)  What are the characteristic marks of an

                        admonition and how does that differ from the “testimony” form? 

                        How does the admonition function in Ps. 130? (168)

            15A.    How are the educational goals of testimony, admonition and

                        observation different? (168)  How does Ps. 1 fit an observational

                        didactic method? 

            16A.    How does “thematic modeling” function didactically in the Psalms?


            17A.    How do the psalms as prayers of the accused, prayers for protection,

                        and prayers of the sick instruct? (172) How do all of these respond

                        to violence in the same way? What is the lex talionis and what role

                        does it play in the response to violence?

            18A.    How does the intratextual dialogue function?

            19A.    What does Firth suggest is missed in Brueggemann’s schema:

                        orientation-disorientation-new orientation? (173)

            20A.    How does Firth see Ps. 1 functioning in the intratextual dialogue of

                        the Psalter as a whole (particular with Ps. 3, for example)? (173)

                        How does that intratextual dialogue impact how Ps. 1 is to be

                        understood? (174)

            21A.    How do the royal psalms function eschatologically? (174)

            22A.    How do we bring the teaching strategies of the Psalms into the

                        present? (174)


Ch. 9:  Wenham:  The Ethics of the Psalms


            1A.      How do our hymns/praise songs teach us what to believe and

                        how to behave?  How do our hymns/praise songs reflect our

                        theology? (176)

            2A.      What hymns did Wenham find were unacceptable from an

                        older hymnbook to present day audiences?  Is this going to

                        be even more pronounced with the Psalms of Israel? (176)

            3A.      How does Wenham see pray as a manifestation of our deepest

                        convictions? (177)

            4A.      What is lex ordani and lex credendi? (177)  What has been lost

                        with the switching in modern hymnals away from the psalms to

                        modern hymns?

            5A.      How does Wenham understand the reference to meditation on the

                        “law” in Psalm 1? (178)  What other psalm emphasizes the link

                        between the law and the psalms?

            6A.      What psalms are usually selected for comments in treatments of

                        ethics in the psalms? (178)

            7A.      What do you think of Wenham’s approach of focusing on the

                        Decalogue when discussing ethics in the Psalms methodologically?

                        (178)  What would be an alternative methodology for getting at

                        the ethics of the book of Psalms?  What types of things will a focus

                        on the Decalogue miss?

            8A.      What does the fact that the law giving at Sinai is infrequently

                        mentioned in Psalms imply? (179)  What do Ps. 68:8, 17 and 106:19

                        say about Sinai?  Why do psalmic historical reviews like Ps. 78;

                        105-107 and 114 skip explicit references to the law giving at Sinai?

                        Is the law giving at Sinai the only focal point for ethical content

                        in the Mosaic law?

            9A.      Are references to idols always to be seen as echoes or linked back

                        to the Decalogue? (182)

            10A.    Which commandment of the ten is the only one that is ignored in

                        the Psalms? (183)  How does that fit with a post-exilic editorial

                        compilation date?

            11A.    How does Wenham link the command about honoring ones parents

                        into the Psalms? (183)

            12A.    Wenham acknowledges that the 4th and 5th commandments are not

                        highlighted in the psalms but then gives cases where murder is

                        referred to in the references to the damage and goals of the enemies. 

                        Are the death threats of the enemies best understood in a Decalogue

                        context? (184)

            13A.    How is adultery mentioned and more broadly referred to in the

                        Psalms? (185)

            14A.    Where does Wenham find adultery, theft and lying all in one

                        Psalm? (185)  How frequent is this?  Does the lack of frequency

                        prove the absence of the use of Psalms in ethical scholarly work?

                        What other methodology might have given more fruitful results

                        in elucidating the ethical contours of the psalms?

            15A.    Which of the ten commandments is most pronounced in the psalms?

                        Why this particular one? (186f)  Why is the use of the tongue in

                        psalms so important? 

            16A.    When Wenham describes the righteous how does he do so? (188)

            17A.    What factors of the righteous/wicked does Wenham focus on? 

                        What other aspects might have been more helpful in developing

                        an ethic of the psalms?  (188)

            18A.    What divine role is critical in understanding both the psalms and

                        its ethical quality? (190f)

            19A.    Besides judgment what other divine references in Psalms would

                        interface with ethical topics? (190f)

            20A.    How does Wenham treat the imprecations and rejoicing at God’s

                        judgment on the wicked by the Psalmists?  (192)  Does this deserve

                        more development?  How would you develop it?

            21A.    How does the imitatio of the divine make a great connection with

                        the ethics of the Psalms? (193)

            22A.    Wenham views his work as a beginning of ethical explorations in

                        the psalms.  What other directions, besides the Decalogue, could/

                        should/ought to be pursued? (194)



10.  Body Idioms and the Psalms by Andy Warren-Rothlin (195-212)


            1A.      How did the translator misunderstand “nor stands in the way

                        of sinners”?  (195)

            2A.      How does Warren-Rothlin counter the Mormon argument that

                        God has flesh and bones based on Ps. 130:22? (196)

            3A.      How does Warren-Rothlin counter feminist arguments that female

                        body parts/functions attributed to God proves He is not male (Ps.

                        131:2)? (196)

            4A.      What is the difference between a discourse analysis and a pragmatics

                        approach to the biblical text? (196)  What lies between these two


            5A.      What does the term “idiom” derive from?  Does the etymology of a

                        word determine its meaning? (196f)  How does modern linguistics

                        define idiom?

            6A.      What is rhetoric and how does it relate to pragmatics? (197)

            7A.      How are idioms not the sum of their parts?  (197) Cite your own


            8A.      How do we use idioms in politeness language? (198)

            9A.      What are speech-acts and how do they function? (199)  What are

                        some examples in the psalms?

            10A.    What is the difference between literary tropes and figures of speech?

                        (200)  What examples of such figures does Warren-Rothlin cite and

                        give examples of in the Psalms?  How do metaphors function?

            11A.    How is a metonymy different from a metaphor?  What are examples

                        of each? (200)

            12A.    What is a synecdoche and how does it function? (200)

            13A.    What are paranomasia and euphemism? (201)

            14A.    What four stages of idiomatization does Warren-Rothlin trace? (202)

            15A.    What different means does the Hebrew idiom “stand” have? (202) 

                        How does the context function to define which meaning is being


            16A.    What is the difference between a synchronic understanding of an

                        idiom and a diachronic one? (203)

            17A.    What type of meanings use body parts to express them? (204f) Give


            18A.    How significant are body parts in the Psalms? (205)

            19A.    Who does Warren-Rothlin see as the three main characters of the

                        Psalms? (206)  How would you modify this?

            20A.    What is polysemy and how does it function in the Psalms? (207) 

                        What does polysemy have to teach biblical scholars?

            21A.    What is an example of a “many-to-one” correspondence in some

                        idioms? (207)  How does such an understanding help us better

                        interpret Psalms texts?

            22A.    How does Warren-Rothlin see the derivation of body idioms? (208)

            23A.    How does Warren-Rothlin distinguish naive approaches to

                        interpreting/translating texts from more sophisticated approaches?


            24A.    What example of a double entendre does Warren-Rothlin give from

                        the Joseph narrative? (209)

            25A.    When is it safe to assume an idiomatic meaning? (210)

            26A.    How does Warren-Rothlin understand the connection between

                        idioms and anthropomorphisms when used in reference

                        to God?  (210)

            27A.    What is one way one may distinguish between a literal and idiomatic

                        meaning (211)

            28A.    How does Warren-Rothlin see the cultic and body images relating to

                        each other in Psalms? (211)

            29A.    How does Warren-Rothlin understand in two ways the “lifting of

                        one’s eyes” in Psalm 123:1 and 121:1? (211f)

            30A.    What difference does Warren-Rothlin see between how scholars and

                        translators handle the biblical text differently?


11.  Torah-Meditation and the Psalms:  The Invitation of Psalm 1 by Michael

            LeFebvre. (213-225)


            1A.      How does LeFebvre describe the recent movement of Psalms

                        scholarship? (213)

            2A.      Why was Ps. 1 considered a “left-over” in genre studies?  How has

                        its role changed in the new ‘shape’ or canonical study of the Psalms?


            3A.      What are the characteristics of a wisdom psalm?  How may the

                        details of a psalm be distorted by classifying its genre? (214)

            4A.      What problems does the classification of Ps. 1 as a wisdom raise

                        for LeFebvre?  Is wisdom outside the cult or is LeFebvre’s way

                        of understanding wisdom not encorporating Perdue’s work on

                        wisdom and the cult? (214f)

            5A.      What impact does LeFebvre see the editors of the whole psalter

                        having on understanding it as having cultic concern? (215)  What

                        does such an observation manifest about LeFebvre’s view of the

                        nexus between wisdom and the cult?  How does LeFebvre’s wisdom

                        influence of the editors impact how he takes the whole book of


            6A.      On what basis does LeFebvre dismiss Psalm 1 as a wisdom Psalm?

                        What characteristics of wisdom does Psalm 1 manifest that LeFebvre

                        seems to overlook? (216)

            7A.      What other psalms are “torah” psalms and how does Ps. 1 fit with

                        them? (216) Compare/contrast

            8A.      How does Brueggemann use Ps. 1 and Ps. 150 to frame the psalter?

                        (216f)  How does LeFebvre shift Brueggemann’s observation?  Is

                        much gained/lossed by this shift?

            9A.      How does LeFebvre understand the Hebrew term hagah (meditate)?

                        (217f)  What evidence does he offer for his view?  How does he

                        link hagah (mediate) with singing? (219)

            10A.    How does Negoita understand hagah (meditate)? (219)

            11A.    With what does LeFebvre correctly connect hagah (meditate)? (220)

            12A.    What different options does LeFebvre suggest for understanding

                        “torah” in Ps. 1:2? (220)  At Child’s suggestion what does LeFebvre

                        identify as the torah “meditated” on in Ps. 1:2? (221)  How does that

                        fit with his canonical approach to the text of the psalter?  How does

                        such an understanding of “torah” shift the understanding of Ps. 1 in

                        its relationship to the rest of the psalter?

            13A.    What does LeFebvre use as confirming evidence for his comparison

                        and shift from torah=Pentateuch to the Psalms in Ps. 1:2? (221)

            14A.    How does LeFebvre brilliantly tie in Deut. 31 to his exposition of

                        ‘torah-meditation’ in Ps. 1:2?  Who were the different audiences

                        Watts proposes for the torah-law as opposed to the torah-song?


            15A.    What similarities and contrasts does LeFebvre see between Ps. 1:2

                        and the torah-meditation of Josh. 1:8? (223)

            16A.    How does LeFebvre see Ps. 1 as actually performing what Ps. 1:2

                        was talking about?  (224)  Was his argument convincing?

            17A.    What great insight has LeFebvre discovered in looking at Ps. 1 in

                        a new canonical positional manner which was missed by former

                        wisdom approaches to this Psalm?  (225)



Ch. 12:  The Structure of the Psalter by Gerald H. Wilson.


            1A.      What does Wilson see as the two major collection sections and

                        what does he cite as the introduction and conclusion? (229)

            2A.      What marks the close of each of the five books of the Psalter? (229)

            3A.      What two documents does Wilson cite as highlighting the Hebrew

                        Psalter’s unique characteristics?  (230)  How do these “versions”

                        of the Psalter differ?

            4A.      What does Wilson use the Qumran Psalms collection as evidence of


            5A.      Why do some suggest the Psalter was divided into five books? (230)

            6A.      Where are the “hallelujah” psalms and how do they function

                        canonically? (231)

            7A.      What characterizes the first three books of the Psalter and how do

                        those features differ from the last two books? (231)

            8A.      To what period does Wilson date the collection of the first three

                        books?  In what period does he date the collection of the last three

                        books? (231f)

            9A.      What does Wilson cite as validation of his dating of the two

                        collections?  Can that evidence be interpreted in a way leading to

                        different results? (232)

            10A.    How is Ps. 145 connected to the final hallelujah psalms (146-150)?


            11A.    What two Psalms to some see as editorially joined?  What evidence

                        is there of such a “connection” between these two psalms? (233)

            12A.    How did Ps. 2’s position impact how the first three books were

                        interpreted? (233)  What does Wilson mean by a “messianic”


            13A.    What has Wilson discovered at the “seams” of the first three books

                        of the Psalter? (233)

            14A.    What is the post-script of the second book? (234)

            15A.    How does Wilson see Ps. 2 and Ps. 72 connected? (234)

            16A.    How are the seams of the last two books different from the seams

                        of the first three books? (234)  What new interests are revealed at

                        the seams of the fourth and fifth book as seen in Ps. 1, 73, 90, 107?

            17A.    How would you support Wilson’s thesis that the focus of the

                        first three books (Pss. 2-89) is on the demise of the Davidic

                        monarchy? (235)

            18A.    What impact does Wilson see the exile having on the shaping

                        of the themes of the Psalter? (235)

            19A.    What is the editor’s response to the demise of the Davidic

                        monarchy as seen in Ps. 93-99? (235)

            20A.    What is not found in the last two books of the Psalter and how

                        does that support Wilson’s thesis of the shift away from the

                        demise of the Davidic monarchy to the kingship of Yahweh? (236)

            21A.    How does the delight in torah motif fit supported in the final

                        edited version of the Psalter reflecting a sapiential flavoring? (236f)

            22A.    How does Wilson link Ps. 1 and 2? (237)

            23A.    In what ways does Wilson see Ps. 73 as a pivotal psalm? (238)

                        What shifts does it introduce?

            24A.    How does Ps. 73 respond to the themes highlighted in Ps. 74 and 89?


            25A.    How is the land viewed and shifted in Ps. 74, 89 and especially 73

                        and also in light of the exile? (239)  What ends up being enough

                        for the psalmist after the exile?

            26A.    What does the seam Psalm 107 see as the only hope in restoration?

            27A.    How does the LXX shift particularly the emphasis of book 4?  (241)

            28A.    What “groups” are omitted in the Dead Sea Psalms scroll and what

                        inferences does Wilson draw from that? (242)

            29A.    What perspective does the eleven new psalms added by the DSS

                        community have? (243)

            30A.    How does the Qumran community respond differently to the loss

                        of Zion than the editors of the Masoretic version of the Psalter in

                        books 1-3? (243)

            31A.    What do both the LXX and Qumran versions of the Psalter

                        minimize? (244)

            32A.    How does Wilson see the psalm superscriptions? (245)

            33A.    What does Wilson think of an approach to Psalms “that focuses

                        exclusively on individual psalms and their emotional content”? (245)

            34A.    What is the downside of Wilson’s canonical or editorial

                        shaping of the whole based approach? (245f)

            35A.    What shift does Wilson embrace as manifest in the arrangement of

                        the psalms?  (245) In what sense are the psalms both human

                        response and at the same time divine words?  What tensions are

                        evident between these two perspectives?

            36A.    How does Wilson justify the title of Psalms as Tehillim (praises)?

                        What shift does Wilson see from the dominant themes in the

                        early part to the later part of the Psalter? (246)  What is the major

                        emphasis of the whole Psalter that he sees?



13.  Qumran and the Psalms by Dwight D. Swanson

            1A.      Of what general importance are the Dead Sea Scrolls to

                        biblical scholars?  (247)

            2A.      Why does Swanson start off with such a critique of the diminished

                        use of the DSS in Psalms interpretation?  Is it warranted?  Does

                        his article prove his point that the DSS should be brought into more

                        significant use by psalms scholars? (247)

            3A.      What are the implications of Flint’s numbering of 39 Psalms

                        scrolls found in the Dead Sea area?  Where is Nahal Hever and

                        what is the significance and location of Masada? (248)

            4A.      What two DSS caves produced the most Psalms manuscripts?


            5A.      What is the significance of the Psalms scrolls being 20% of

                        the manuscripts found at Qumran?  Which books were second

                        and third?  (248)

            6A.      How many psalms are contained on the largest Psalms scroll

                        from Qumran?  How did scroll size impact the collection of

                        psalms found in a single manuscript? (249)  How long is

                        the great Isaiah scroll?  Where is the Isaiah scroll housed

                        currently? (249)

            7A.      What conclusion is drawn from the fact that at Qumran most

                        of the manuscripts (mss.) contain Psalms from Ps. 1-89? (250)

                        How might that also fit the ethos of the community at Qumran?

            8A.      What does the nomenclature 4QPse mean? (250)

            9A.      How does Swanson use 4QPse and 11QPsb in relation with the

                        concluding statement of Ps. 72?

            10A.    What kinds of conclusions and implications can be drawn from

                        the fact that 4QPsf has Ps. 107-109 followed by three non-canonical

                        Psalms not known outside Qumran?  What implications does the

                        fact that some manuscripts may be excerpted texts? (251)

            11A.    What difference does “selected texts” versus “psalters” make to

                        the discussion of canon formation of the Psalter as reflected at

                        Qumran? (252)

            12A.    What data indicates the significance of Ps. 104 to the Qumran

                        community? What “affinities” are seen between Ps. 104 and

                        the Thanksgiving Hymns (1QH)? (253)

            13A.    What is the significance of 4QPsx and its relation to Ps. 89?


            14A.    The fact that psalms may be excerpted from collections implies

                        what about their use at Qumran and elsewhere? (254)

            15A.    How do the LXX and Syrian manuscripts provide evidence for

                        non-canonical psalms?  What implication does that have for the

                        Palestinian psalter at the time of Jesus? (255)  How does the

                        text of Ps. 151 read (LXX/Syriac)?  How do the texts of

                        the ‘Apostrophe to Zion’ and ‘Plea for Deliverance’ read?


            16A.    How should one think canonically about the presence of

                        non-canonical psalms in “canonical” psalms manuscripts

                        and also 4Q380 and 381 which are non-canonical psalms

                        scrolls? While Swanson suggests such evidence shows that

                        the canon was not yet fixed, is that the only or best explanation?


            17A.    How does Swanson use 11QPsa to argue that the canonical

                        Psalter was still open in the middle of the 1st century A.D.?


            18A.    What explanations for canonical closure are offered by Talmon

                        in reference to late rearranged psalm scroll evidence? (257)

            19A.    Is it possible the pluriformity of the order of the Psalms at

                        Qumran could be interepreted in a manner which does not

                        reflect canonical fixity at the time? (258)

            20A.    What three Psalters are present in Second Temple Judaism?

                        (258)  What does this imply about the closing of the canon

                        in reference to the Psalms?

            21A.    How does Wilson use the MT and Cave 11 Psalms scroll to

                        argue for the theology of the folks at Qumran?  Is his argument

                        cogent?  Does his argument have any implications in a backward

                        direction as far as the closing of the Psalms canon? (259)

            22A.    How does Swanson summarize Wilson’s dissertation in reference

                        to the five books of the psalms linking their development with

                        theological themes? (260)

            23A.    What are pesharim and how do they help us understand the place

                        of Psalms in the Qumran community? (260)

            24A.    How did Swanson link the Qumran pesharim with the New

                        Testament writers understanding of messianic psalms? (261)

                        How does that understanding shift how the Psalms are/were


14. Evangelists and the Psalms, by Dale Brueggemann.


            1A.      What text does Brueggemann open with introducing the Psalms

                        in the New Testament?  What is the significance of that text for

                        canonical studies? (263)

            2A.      What two genres of Psalms are frequently quoted as Messianic

                        in the NT? (264)

            3A.      What are the canonical implications of Jesus response in Jn. 10:28-

                        33?  How does Brueggemann extend our understanding of how

                        Jesus is using the term elohim in a lesser to greater argument?

                        How does Jesus fulfill the Ps. 82:6 quote?  (266)

            4A.      How did the Psalmist originally intend this psalm?  How does one

                        connect the psalmist’s original intent with the Messianic

                        interpretation of that text hundreds of years later? (266)

            5A.      How do Ps. 110:1 and Ps. 2 connect in the person of Christ?  How

                        do these psalms point beyond their original settings to a greater

                        fulfillment? (267)

            6A.      How does Watts understand the Psalmic reference and appropriation

                        of the “sitting at God’s right hand reference”?  Why was that so

                        upsetting to the Jewish leaders? (268)  How did Watts connect the

                        enemies of Jesus and the motif of the enemies in the Pslams?

            7A.      How was Jesus’ life predicted by the Psalms? (269)

            8A.      In what ways does Brueggemann connect Jesus and David via Ps.

                        41? (269)

            9A.      How is Ps. 69 and Christ’s crucifixion linked?  In what senses is

                        Jesus fulfilling the Davidic pattern of suffering? (270)

            10A.    What do all for Gospels record and what is the significance of Jesus’

                        garments not being torn?  What did torn garments signify? (270f)

            11A.    What are two passages possibly refer to the fact that Jesus’ bones

                        were not broken?  What layers of meaning does each add? (271)

            12A.    How do several see the connection of Ps. 16 and the resurrection of

                        Jesus?  What is the relationship of David speaking of himself and

                        also how does it get connected with Jesus?  (272)

            13A.    How did Peter and Paul understand the connection of Ps. 16 and

                        Jesus? (272)

            14A.    How is a Davidic imprecation fulfilled in Judas? (272f)

            15A.    How are the temple cleansing, Jesus’ death and resurrection set on

                        a Davidic backdrop? (273)

            16A.    How is Jesus reminiscent of the David of the historical narratives as

                        well as the imagined Davidic ruler of the psalmist? (275)

            17A.    How does Briggs understand the sufferings described in Ps. 22?


            18A.    How are the sufferings of Jesus parallel with those of the sufferer in

                        the Psalms? (276)

            19A.    How is Ps. 118 connected to the parable of the ruthless tenants?

                        What is the  “reversal” motif in Ps. 118 and how would that

                        encourage those in the early church? (276)

            20A.    How does the repayment for what one has done in the psalms

                        get applied to Jesus? (277)

            21A.    What transformation does the statement Hosanna go through from

                        the Psalms to Jesus’ triumphal entry? (278)

            22A.    What three ways does Brueggemann see the NT as using the psalter

                        in reference to Christ? (278)

14. Targum of Psalms by Timothy Edwards

            1A.      What is a targum?  Why have Targum studies been ignored?  What

                        potential benefit do they offer? (279)

            2A.      Is Edward’s correct in laying the blame for ignoring Targum studies

                        at the feet of those who seek the “original meaning”?  Is Edwards

                        denying such an “original meaning”?  What is the relationship

                        between the “original meaning” and the meanings proposed at

                        various stages of interpretation?  What is the benefit of studying the

                        history of interpretation of a section of Scripture? Is it only in terms

                        of “original meaning”? (280)

            3A.      How does Edwards work with the “liturgical” function of the

                        targumim? (280)  What benefits are gained by shifting it away from

                        a liturgical to a pedagogical function? (281)

            4A.      What is the significance of Edward’s construct that the targum is a

                        bridge between the written Torah and the oral Torah (Mishnah and

                        Talmud)?  In what ways does he prove his case?  (281)

            5A.      What is the relationship between reading, translating (targum) and

                        study (talmud) of the Psalms? (281)

            6A.      Does Edwards see the targumim as translations done because folks

                        no longer understood Hebrew?  How does his response to this

                        further his pedagogical or didactic function of the Targum of

                        Psalms? (281f)

            7A.      How does Edwards model the coordinated reading of the Hebrew

                        text and the targum?  Does such a reading prove useful? (282)

            8A.      Would many of Edward’s arguments also prove work in the

                        context of the LXX? What would the difference be? (282f)

            9A.      How does Edwards illustrate his point with the Hebrew term nwp?

                        (282f)  Does this make his point?

            10A.    What is the date of the targumim? (283f)

            11A.    What does Kugel mean in his description of rabbinic interpretation

                        as being “omnisignificance”?  What are the benefits and problems

                        with such an approach? (285)

            12A.    How does the targum actually help us with exploring other meanings

                        in the text? (286)

            13A.    How does the targum loose it raison d’etre if not connected to the

                        Hebrew text?  (286)

            14A.    What are your thoughts about Edwards’ three levels of interpreting

                        psalms texts relating Christian and Jewish interpretation?  (287)

                        Are his categories useful? 

            15A.    How does the Targum of Ps. 81 differ from the NRSV (Hebrew

                        Text)? (288)

            16A.    How did the Targum feature the Joseph story in Ps. 81? (289f)

            17A.    What connection is made between Joseph and Rosh HaShanah?

                        (290)  What should be made of the Syrian Father and the Joseph

                        link with Ps. 81?  As Christians should we also be concerned about

                        the history of interpretation of the Psalms within the early church

                        as well as early Judaism?  What similarities and differences would

                        you expect? 

            18A.    How does Edwards see creativity in the targums?  (294)

            19A.    Why is the term “original meaning” foreign to the exegete

                        responsible for the Targum of the Psalms?  What are the pros and

                        cons of such “foreignness”? (294)