Sunday, June 17, 2007

Goulder and the history of Dan

Goulder's book on the Psalms of the Sons of Korah is delightful. He is dependent for some of his reasoning on the documentary hypothesis - perhaps unnecessarily. Is it still in vogue these days?

His thesis is that the sons of Korah were centred in Dan and then moved to Jerusalem after the fall of the Northern Kingdom. Far more than any single book for me, he has opened the OT in detail as to its history and cultic festivals. Just setting Psalms 42-48 in the autumn festival on the slopes of Mt Hermon reframes the whole Psalter. He has even made me want to reread Chronicles since he says it is an editing of the history by the Sons of Korah whom he even traces to modern day England (Corah and sons who are suppliers to Marks and Spenser)!

I will be working with his book this week at least to adjust my table of contents for the Psalms and to show possibly up to four festival sequences among the psalms book 2 (42-48) , 3 (84-89), 4 entire, and 5 (120-134). Goulder shows the depth of the liturgical use over a long period. We have a similar use of liturgy in the Anglican tradition from the 16th to 20th century but in an more technical society where we know how texts are propagated. The imagining of the beginning of such worship going back to 1200 BCE is gripping - to say the least.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Goulder's hypothesis is really attractive isn't it, and as you say it makes aspects of these psalms come alive.