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A New Criterion For Identifying "Wisdom Psalms"

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Chapter Summary

Gunkel's systematic investigation of the literary types in the book of Psalms provided biblical scholars with a methodological introduction to the study of the &t;Wisdom Psalms.&t; The stylistic and thematic complexity of many psalms led to a subdivision of the main genres, for example the &t;song of prayer&t; was partitioned into the &t;individual prayer&t; and the &t;public prayer&t; and the former teased even further into the &t;prayer of the afflicted individual&t; and the &t;confessional prayer of the accused.&t; This chapter provides the use of animal imagery as a new criterion for identifying &t;Wisdom Psalms.&t; The dynamic between animal images and their contextual implications provides another point of entry into the thematic and conceptual framework of each wisdom book. The chapter focuses on how the image of the moth in Psalm xxxix reveals its affinities with the Wisdom-psalm genre and on the interpolation of a wisdom motif based on animal imagery.

Keywords: animal imagery; Wisdom Psalm

10.1163/ej.9789004162877.i-196.32
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