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Bibil Identifier bibil:203784
Publication Type Journal article
Title (English, Long) The Birds and the Babes: The Structure and Meaning of Psalm 8
Author Kraut, Judah
Journal Jewish Quarterly Review (Volume: 100, Issue: 1)
Year (Publication) 2010
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2010
Year (Copyright) 2010
Year (Reference) 2010
Year (Second publication) 2010
Language English
Pages 10-24 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract For all its popularity and philosophical depth, Psalm 8 has long posed a number of difficult exegetical challenges. Certain words in the psalm are not easily translated, the structure of the psalm is not readily apparent, and various of its elements seem to defy any obvious explanation most notoriously, the "infants and sucklings" in verse 3a. Faced with the Psalm's many exegetical conundrums, scholars have often indulged in speculative exegesis more so than in compelling textual argument. Indeed, rare is the scholar who does not emend the text of Psalm 8 in some fashion or who dares interpret it without the necessary 'lucidation' provided by another (or many other) biblical or extra-biblical text(s). Yet, the (sometimes valuable) efforts to interpret Psalm 8 in light of more accessible or hypothetical texts have obscured the fact that the psalm, as is, possesses its own internal structure and rhetorical logic, which "properly considered" go a long way toward unraveling the textual enigmas that have long bothered exegetes and readers. This paper contends that an appreciation of the very structure of Psalm 8, a painstakingly crafted chiastic arrangement, elucidates three key elements of its meaning: (a) the role of 3a ("From the mouths of infants and sucklings"); (b) the identity of the "Elohim" in 6a; and (c) the overarching message of the psalm.
DOI 10.1353/jqr.0.0077
Pericopes Psalms 8
Last modification 2017-10-27