Item description for Psalms, Part 1, with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry (Fotl) (Forms of the Old Testament Literature) by Erhard S. Gerstenberger...
Overview Erhard Gerstenberger begins this volume with an examination of the nature of cultic poetry, its role in ancient Near Eastern religion, and more specifically its role in the religion of Israel. He goes on to survey the genres of cultic poetry, including lament, complaint, and thanksgiving. He then focuses on the book of Psalms as an example of cultic poetry, first analyzing the book as a whole and then working through Psalms 1-60 unit by unit, discussing structure, genre, setting, and intention. Extensive bibliographies and a glossary of genres and formulas further enhances the work. This volume provides the background information and framework from which scholars and serious students can make informed interpretations of the Psalms.
Publishers Description Psalms, with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry, is Volume XIV of The Forms of the Old Testament Literature, a series that aims to present a form-critical analysis of every book and each unit in the Hebrew Bible. Fundamentally exegetical, the FOTL volumes examine the structure, genre, setting, and intention of the biblical literature in question. They also study the history behind the form-critical discussion of the material, attempt to bring consistency to the terminology for the genres and formulas of the biblical literature, and expose the exegetical process so as to enable students and pastors to engage in their own analysis and interpretation of the Old Testament texts. Erhard Gerstenberger begins this volume with an examination of the nature of cultic poetry, its role in ancient Near Eastern religion, and more specifically its role in the religion of Israel. He goes on to survey the genres of cultic poetry, including lament, complaint, and thanksgiving. He then focuses on the book of Psalms as an example of cultic poetry, first analyzing the book as a whole and then working through Psalms 1-60 unit by unit, discussing structure, genre, setting, and intention. The work is enhanced by extensive bibliographies and a glossary of genres and formulas that offers clear, thorough definitions with examples.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.01" Width: 6.02" Height: 0.63" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2000
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series Forms of the Old Testament Literature
Series Number 14
ISBN 0802802559 ISBN13 9780802802552
Availability 0 units.
More About Erhard S. Gerstenberger
Erhard S. Gerstenberger is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Marburg University in Germany. His published works include "Theologies in the Old Testament" and "Yahweh the Patriarch: Ancient Images of God and Feminist Theology".
Reviews - What do customers think about Psalms, Part 1, with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry (Fotl) (Forms of the Old Testament Literature)?
Overall, a good critical introduction to the psalms Oct 4, 2001
Gerstenberger's commentary on the psalms, in keeping with the intentions of the FOTL series, seems to have three main purposes:
1) to highlight, by actually working through the psalms, the importance of understanding the genre of each psalm for interpretion (i.e. "form criticism").
2) to attempt to discover the historical context/setting ("Sitz in Leben") in which the psalms were (a) created and (b) used within the worshiping community.
3) to comment briefly on the authorial intent of the psalm, in light of the above conclusions.
1) Gerstenberger is familiar with a great deal of secondary literature, and his conclusions regarding genre (in sifting through the opinions of lots of scholars) were quite helpful for intepretation. Also, his brief summaries of the intent of the passage aided theological reflection (other resources should be used though- see below).
2) In each psalm, Gerstenberger does a good job highlighting parallel phrases in other psalms, Job, and the rest of the Old Testament (this is typically how he comes to his conclusions regarding the historical context of the psalms). This can be of great help in interpretation, if you are willing to put in some grunt work.
3) The bibliographies alone are probably worth the price of the book.
1) Some of his conclusions regarding the historical context of the psalm seem forced- this would seem to be more from the nature of the material than anything else, though.
2) The commentary--and the series as a whole--is not a line-by-line analysis and is intended to function as a supplement to other commentaries/resources. Gerstenberger focuses very little on either the theology of the psalms (typically, only as is necessary to discover genre) or on how they apply to Christians (or were applied in the New Testament). The 3 volume commentary on the psalms (Word Biblical Commentary series) by Craigie, Marvin Tate, and Leslie Allen would be a good primary set to use along with Gerstenberger, as would Weiser when he actually likes the specific psalm he's interpreting. I haven't used John Goldingay's commentary on the psalms much, but it's supposed to be really good.
3) From a canonical perspective, some of Gerstenberger's are probably objectionable. For example, he links Psalm 19 to numerous hymns toward the (mainly) Egyptian god "El," and says that the psalm is an adaptation of this kind of hymn. However, though this conclusion may be true, the psalm is clearly NOT worshiping the sun any longer, and is directed to the God who created the sun. Gerstenberger, though, seems to downplay this canonical shaping (if that is what it is), and says that "only thorugh the accretion of vv. 8-15 did the psalm become a Yahweh hymn." Meaning, if the last half of the psalm was missing, it would be an "El" hymn again? This seems questionable.
All in all though, this is a helpful commentary that should be used discerningly and with other aids. Certainly, if you want to teach yourself a fairly traditional form of form criticism, this is a pretty good place to start.