The substance of Psalm 24: an attempt to read scripture after Brevard S. Childs

Sumpter, Philip E (2011) The substance of Psalm 24: an attempt to read scripture after Brevard S. Childs. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

Philip E Sumpter PhD Thesis Redacted for signature only.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (7MB) | Preview


This thesis seeks to contribute to the theory and practice of theological interpretation by explicating the inner coherence of B. S. Childs' "canonical approach" and by exemplifying that approach in an interpretation of Psalm 24. Part 1 concerns the theory. In this section I argue that Childs' approach rests upon a particular understanding of the nature of the Biblical text. In short, it has a twofold function, that of witnessing to the reality of God and that of shaping the community of faith in light of that reality. The God to whom it witnesses is himself involved in this witnessing activity in that he both evokes and infuses the tradition with his Spirit so that he may be known. The hermeneutical implication is that interpretation must attempt to grasp the reality "behind" the text while respecting the particular form in which that reality has been rendered. The result is a multi-level approach to interpretation involving a continuous dialectic between the witness (verbum) and its content (res). The affirmation of the nature of Scripture as an ongoing vehicle of revelation also implies the significance of the history of faithful Christian interpretation. Part 2 seeks to exemplify this approach by showing how such a multi-level interpretation of Psalm 24 is both possible and fruitful for our understanding of the reality to which it witnesses. I achieve this by moving through several stages. After reviewing contemporary methodology, I first provide a poetic analysis of the Psalm and conclude that it witnesses to the economy of God in a bid to call Israel to realize its true identity. I then provide a hypothesis of how the final form of the psalm is a result of a tradition historical process with its roots in the pre-exilic temple liturgy. This historical perspective not only clarifies the poetic shape of the psalm, it provides a bridge to discussing the question of the nature of the reality experienced within Israel's cult. I conclude that there is a parallel between the structure of this reality and the shape of Ps 24. I then both confirm and attempt to deepen our understanding of this reality by following canonical pointers internal to the psalm to three other bodies of text: Samuel, the Psalter, and Isaiah. Key to this broader context is the agency of the David found in Ps 24's superscription. I conclude my analysis by suggesting how a better grasp of the divine economy in the light of Christ may help us better understand the inner unity of Ps 24 itself.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bible studies, Old Testament, Psalms
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2015 10:38
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:56

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.