Thursday, February 14, 2008

What do the Titles say

The psalm titles are an intriguing collection of various things. Here's another list of categories
  • as belonging to an individual - of David, or Korah, or Asaph, or Hayman, or Ethan, or Moses, or Solomon - or no-one in particular.
  • the genre - psalm, song, maskil, miktam, prayer, reel, or none.
  • For the leader - or not.
  • on flutes, strings, or other instrument.
  • or with a context of an incident in the life of (usually) David.
  • or various other headings some unique, some in pairs, trios and quartets - perhaps the name of a tune.
I have put these together in a different form here. I think there is a structure and there is a hint of it in the psalms that have no title or attribution at all. There are very few of these in Books 1 to 3: psalms 1 and 2, (10), 33 and then the next is 71. In book 3 there are none. In book 4 and 5 there are long strings of them - 91, 93-97, 99, 104-106, 107, 111-119, 135-137 and 146-150. As Jinkyu Kim points out in his paper from SBL, some of these are strings of doxological psalms following Royal psalms.

I wonder - ... - I may not answer these questions for years yet in this project. But there is a movement from the introduction and the personal psalms of Book 1 to the triumph and praise of Books 4 and 5 - but how to express this movement with clarity and without too much oversimplification - that is the work to begin.

No comments: