The Design of the MT Psalter: A Macrostructural Analysis

Ho, Peter C.W. (2016) The Design of the MT Psalter: A Macrostructural Analysis. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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The seminal question at the forefront of Masoretic (MT)-150 Psalter research is a question of the literary arrangement of the 150 psalms. An overarching compositional logic of the MT-150, if any, is in the sequence design of the psalms. Unfortunately, macrostructural studies of the entire Psalter are few, with no major consensus to understanding its structuring techniques, shape and logic. From my consolidation of at least 30 different tacit and formal macrostructuring techniques that can be detected in the MT-150, important macrostructuring techniques include the use of superscriptions; the programmatic nature of Pss 1–2; placement of acrostic/alphabetical compositions; numerical devices and the five Davidic Collections. A previously unknown scribal technique that places certain lexemes sequentially and exhaustively across the Psalter to express a message is also uncovered. Based on these organizational principles, the Psalter can be read palindromically, linearly, intertextually and even numerically. The MT-150 is structured into three major Sections (Books I, II–III, IV–V), each further divided into four Groups, and characterized by four recurring Central Motifs: (a) YHWH’s kingship; (b) Davidic kingship; (c) Zion-temple and (d) Supplication of a Davidic figure. The logic of the MT-150 is a reception of the Davidic covenant. Book I traces the establishments of both the Davidic kingship and Zion. Books II–III, however, depict their fall and brokenness. Books IV–V highlight the re-establishments of an ideal Davidic kingship and ideal Zion. As a whole, the MT-150 has a messianic thrust with an exhortation for its readers to persevere in prayer and hope in view of YHWH’s covenantal promises. Striking correspondences between techniques, form, content and logic help to validate the proposed design of the MT-150. This thesis will contribute significantly to the understanding of the arrangement of the Hebrew Psalter.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Religious texts; Masoretic Psalter; Bible studies
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 10:13
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:55

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