Collective Reinterpretation
in the Psalms
A Study of the Redaction
History of the Psalter

By Marko Marttila
Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. No. 13
May 2006
Mohr Siebeck
ISBN: 3161488385
284 pages, 6 ¼” x 9 ¼”
$99.50 Paper Original

Marko Marttila reevaluates the extent and nature of the collective passages in the Psalter. Many of the complaint psalms written by an individual were reread at a later stage from a national point of view. In the altered religious, political and social circumstances, the earlier texts were reworked and reinterpreted so that they would comply more closely with the prevailing conditions. This collectivizing tendency probably began during the exile and continued until the final redaction of the Psalter (about 200-180 BCE).

Collective features increased in late exilic and post-exilic theology even outside the Psalter. This can be seen in the national emphases in Lamentations, the nomistic theology of the Deuteronomistic history and the servant songs of Deutero-Isaiah. It even seems likely that the term mashiach ("the anointed") has a collective reference in some passages.

When the Davidic monarchy no longer existed, it was the people of Israel that became the recipient of the divine promises once given to David and his dynasty. Most of these ancient contributors are unknown to us, but the Hasideans at least may have played an important role in this process in its final stage, since there are some obvious passages where the Hasideans seem to represent the people of Israel exclusively.


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