17-1 The Psalms
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Forms of Prayer
- Blessing and Adoration
- Petition or Supplication
- Praise: the most perfect form of prayer that's entirely disinterested
All these forms of prayer are contained and expressed in the Eucharist.
a brief formula of praise of God, arises from God's "marvelous work."
Glory to the Father, ... will be forever. Amen.
Sources of Prayer according to CCC
- the Word of God
- the liturgy of the Church
- the theological virtues (faith, hope, charity)
Etymology of the word "psalm"
- Gk. psalmos, comes from the verb psallo, meaning:
- "to strike" a musical instrument
- "to make music"
- "to sing hymns"
The Jewish tradition refers to the collection as tehillim
, meaning "the book of praises"
Number of psalms in the Book of Psalms (Psalter)
Characteristic of Hebrew poetry
parallelism: the pairing of phrases, which don't rhyme
It stresses the earliest oral units, sees literary formas as the building blocks of an oral society, and attempts to uncover the setting in life to which each type of story, tradition, or communication belongs.
What question does a form critic inquire when looking at the Psalms?
- How was the psalm originally used?
- praise in the Temple
- at the King's wedding
- by pilgrims journeying to Jerusalem, etc.
Three major festivals of the Jews
- Passover: the festival of unleavened bread
- Pentecost: First Fruits/Weeks
- Tabernacles: Ingathering; the most important festival commemorating the time when Israel lived in shelters after leaving Egypt
Possible festival/liturgical ceremonies for which indicvidual psalms were written:
- purification and sin healing
- pilgrimages: the songs of ascent sung by those on pigrimage to Zion
- entrance liturgies (sung at the gate of the temple)
- military victory
- royal ceremonies
Explanation of the books of the Psalms as representing differint stages in the process of gathering the songs into smaller collections, which probably went on for hundreds of years.
Attribution of the psalms
- "of David"
- "of Asaph"
- "of Korah"
Doxology in each Book of the Psalms (there are 5 according to ancient psalter)
"Blessed be the Lord...amen."
praise; concluding the whole psalter
Two ways of developing the theology of God in the psalter
- through titles given to God
- through descriptions of God's actions
characteristic of Psalm theology and Hebrew OT theology in general
primarily functional (what God does) rather than ontological (asking the essence of God)
mercy, steadfast love; used to describe God's covenantal relationship with the people
the poor and powerless, for whom God has a special concern; these were the people who stayed in Judah after it was completely destroyed; they weren't princes, nor laborers; they could also be widows or orphans
Literary Genres of the Psalms
- psalm of praise: Worship Psalms/Songs of Zion/A Song of Ascents
- individual songs of thanksgiving
- nationa songs of thanksgiving
- individual songs of lament
- national songs of lament
- royal psalms
- wisdom psalms
Two categories of Royal Psalms
- those directly celebrating the kingship of the Lord
- those celebrating the earthly king
Psalms celebrating the covenant with David while making predictions about the coming of the Messiah
Examples of Messianic Psalms
20 - 21 - 78 - 89 - 132
Particular contexts of the royal psalms
- royal weddings
- ascendancy to the throne or coronations
- before and after battle
What arouse the Messianic expectation among post-exilic Jews and Christians?
- the failure of earthly kings to bring the righteousness, justice, prosperity, and dominion
- the ideal hopes did not find fulfillment in David's sons, nor in the Maccabean heroes
- in the post-exilic period, these psalms increasingly came to be interpreted in terms of a future Messiah who would re-establish God's kingdom
An extremely important Messianic/Royal Psalm
- Psalm 110:
- read by Christians as messianic and Christological, following the example of Jesus
- streeses the honor accorded by God to the Davidic king
- ensures the Davidic king sovereign priestly status by comparing him with the priest-king Melchizedek
the official prayer of the Church
Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours
prayer that's consisted of the Psalms and prayed regularly by all clergy and monastics
seven Penitential Psalms
6 - 32 - 38 - 51 - 102 - 130 - 143
"praise the Lord"
exemplified by psalm of praise; Israelites know God through what he has done for them in the past
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