David Cameron Ray

Conflict and Enmity in the Asaph Psalms

[Konflikt und Feindschaft in den Asaph-Psalmen.]

2023. XVIII, 336 pages.
forthcoming in September

Forschungen zum Alten Testament 2. Reihe 145

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ISBN 978-3-16-162571-8
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Published in English.
David Ray presents a close reading of the Asaph Psalms to examine whether they might be considered a collection with a distinctive pattern of conflicts. He searches the text for its underlying power dynamics, finding wisdom-based pastoral teaching for God's exiled people.
David Ray examines the extent to which the Asaph Psalms constitute a coherent collection through its ubiquitous motif of conflict. A binary relational model and semantic roles at discourse level are used to uncover underlying power dynamics in the text. Initially presenting a supposedly innocent collective as fixated on the presence of its opponent while God is perceived as absent, the psalmists then focus on the failure of different generations to adhere to covenant obligations, crystallised in divine judgment. The Asaph Psalms closes with a sapiential outcome, wherein the collective expresses dependence on God, anticipating divine intervention against God's own ingathered heavenly and earthly opponents. Ray configures a pattern of conflicts consistent with Deuteronomistic-informed pastoral teaching, namely, to follow God's ways, recognise complicity in suffering, and place complete trust in the warrior-judge God.
Survey of contents
1 Introduction
2 Methodology
3 Theological Problem – Divine Absence and Opponent Presence
4 Test of Covenant Relationship – the Anticipation of Universal Divine Justice
5 Inner Turmoil – Divine Abandonment and Yearning for Right Relationship
6 Blamefixing – Maintaining Innocence by Blaming the Fathers
7 Failure of Covenant Obligations – Divine Justice as Correction
8 Theological Resolution – the Ingathering of God's Opponent
9 Conclusion
10 Appendix – a Contextual Word Study of nṣḥ in the Hebrew Bible

David Cameron Ray Born 1972; 2021 PhD in Old Testament (Australian College of Theology); Tutor of Old Testament Studies at Ridley College, Melbourne.


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