Sue Gillingham

Psalms 105 and 106 and the Participation in History through Liturgy

Volume 4 () / Issue 4, pp. 450-475 (26)

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This paper examines the so-called »historical psalms,« 105 and 106, within the context of Book Four of the Psalter, arguing that just as Psalms 93–100 comprise one clear liturgical collection, so Psalms 104–106 comprise another – rather like the Songs of Ascents in Book Five. The implication is therefore that the lessons from history can be apprehended through liturgical performance. This point is confirmed by examples of historical recital through liturgy outside the Psalter (Deuteronomy 26; Exodus 12; Joshua 4; Isaiah 63; Nehemiah 9; and 1 Chronicles 16). Psalms 105 and 106 are then assessed, alongside Psalm 104, to determine how and why historical recollection, through both praise and lament, would have been enacted in the liturgy of the Second Temple. A final section on the reception history of Psalms 105 and 106 confirms the importance of these psalms in liturgy: they were frequently used in both Jewish and Christian worship, and together they provide an excellent example of congregational participation in »teaching through song« rather than, as is often supposed, »instruction through homily« (as can be seen, for example, in the book of Deuteronomy).

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