Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A second great circle

The Psalter has the overall surface structure explicit in its 5 books with their doxologies and with the accumlative doxology in the last book - but there are also other macro structures:
  1. The psalms divide in three: Psalms 1-41 and 87-150, which use primarily the tetragrammeton as the name of God, and Psalms 42-86 which use primarily Elohim over the tetragrammaton. You can see this relationship in the graph at the bottom of the overall table of contents here.
  2. Psalms 1-2 and 149 provide an outer opening and closing bracket to the whole psalter. This diagram shows the relationships.
  3. Psalms 3-6 and 143 provide an inner bracket to remind us of the personal aspect of prayer. Note how Psalm 143 stands out in the profile at the bottom of the image of Psalm 6. (I missed this in my earlier post on structure.)
  4. Psalms 42 and 86 also have strong verbal relationships to these inner brackets. In Psalm 143, if you look at the psalm profile at the bottom of the image, you can see very clearly how strongly related this psalm is to Psalms 42 and 86 (Note well the Y axis values - they are double the values for Psalm 6).

These structures stand out even with my very rough approximations of verbal relationships: they are calculated based on the presence of three consecutive matching consonants in each pair of psalms. Usually (more than 95% of the hits) this indicates a word match or a word play.

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