A 'Book' of Psalms?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


Since the 1980’s, a slightly new shift in focus has emerged in the research on the Book of Psalms. Even if such a shift never occurs without precursors, it can be seen as a distinct move away from being primarily interested in original (cultic) contexts of individual psalms, and towards an increasing focus on the arrangement of these psalms into a book. The redaction history and the structure of the final shape of the collection was examined, and a wealth of literature was to be produced. The aim of this paper is to enter into this line of inquiry by revisiting the methodological foundation laid in particular by Gerald H Wilson, as he shaped much of the discussion, at least in an American context. So, after a brief review of some main aspects of his contribution, I focus my discussion around three topics: 1) ‘‘Seamingly’ important psalms’, where I observe that the grounds for asserting special significance to specific psalms are often unconvincing; 2) ‘A Book of Psalms’, where I focus on a recurrent conflation of synchronic and diachronic considerations, suggesting that it ultimately renders the idea of an intentional message, conveyed by editors through the macrostructure of the Book of Psalms unwarranted; and finally 3) ‘An elusive string’, where I propose that the view of the Book of Psalms as an anthology merit further consideration. By stating that it is a nothing more than an anthology, some scholars has concluded that there would be no intentional organization, but what if the Book of Psalms was nothing less than an anthology? So, after an attempt to provide a definition of anthologies, I sketch out some consequences for the current study of the Book of Psalms.


  • David Willgren
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
EventSBL (Society of Biblical Literature, International Meeting), 2013 - St Andrews, United Kingdom
Duration: 2013 Jul 72013 Jul 11


ConferenceSBL (Society of Biblical Literature, International Meeting), 2013
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySt Andrews

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)