Prayer and divine guidance in the psalms: with focus on Psalm 25

Nickel, Jurgen (2005) Prayer and divine guidance in the psalms: with focus on Psalm 25. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This thesis suggests that prayer for divine guidance plays an integral part in the spirituality of the Psalms. Initially, the thesis discusses two approaches-that by Friesen and Maxson and that by Ignatius of Loyola-that deal with the question of 'how to find the will of God', which is regarded as one possible angle on the theme of divine guidance. When God is sought in prayer in times of decision making, the question of the possibility of specific guidance or still better communicative guidance arises. The thesis suggests that prayer for specific guidance cannot be excluded as an interpretative possibility in the interpretation of the prayers of the Psalms, but is rather strongly suggested in some psalms. One line of argument is that the language used to express these prayers is metaphorical in character and therefore remains context-sensitive, to some extent indeterminate and open towards an appropriation by the reader. This line of argument is developed in a discussion of metaphor with special consideration of J. Stern's approach, and a reflection on the way metaphor with the help of the recent work on Wegmetaphorik by M. Zehnder. Both parts prepare for the exegesis of some individual psalm-prayers and of Psalm 25, which serves as a particular focus. The exegetical investigation takes up the lgnatian approach, which places divine guidance in a particular theological framework. It therefore asks what particular theological frame­work can a psalm offer and how is the prayer for divine guidance embedded in it. Various approaches to psalm-interpretation are considered. A 'close reading' and attention to struc­ture is favoured as most suitable to the investigation. The thesis offers an in depth exegesis of Psalm 25 and considers in addition a possible intertextual relationship with Exod. 32-34, because of its particular relevance to the theme of divine guidance. The thesis concludes by showing some of the similarities of the theological framework of Psalm 25 and that of Ignatius. Particular to Psalm 25 is the overlap of a torah-piety and an openness towards spiritual experience. Prayer can thereby be perceived as real dialogue. Psalm 25 suggests a hermeneutical circle that includes prayer and meditation on torah. In addition, Psalm 25 shows the importance of divine forgiveness with regards to divine guid­ance, which is received in dependence on Yahweh's steadfast love. Psalm 25 can therefore serve as a model prayer for divine guidance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
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Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 10:04
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

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