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on numbering the psalms

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  • William Yarchin
    Thank you, James, for the images of the Psalms-Canon. I think your note about the blurred lines between devotional and communal psalms-reading and –chanting
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 25, 2013
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      Thank you, James, for the images of the Psalms-Canon. I think your note
      about the blurred lines between devotional and communal psalms-reading and
      �chanting is on target and helpful.

      About the Hebrew psalms MSS you asked, �Are the superscriptions themselves
      evidence of the first-line quotation practice?� Sometimes yes, while at
      other times the first line is the one after the superscription.


      �Where can we read about how these Hebrew Psalters are configured? I would
      like to know more about this.� So far the only published works that touch
      on the subject are Gerald Wilson�s Yale dissertation �The Editing of the
      Hebrew Psalter� (1985) and the Matthias Millard�s monograph �Die
      Komposition des Psalters: Ein formgeschichtlicher Ansatz� (1994). But
      neither book treats question of the Hebrew psalter�s configuration in the
      light of the full range of medieval MS evidence. I am in the process of
      that very inquiry, having spent last summer at the National Library of
      Israel examining essentially all the world�s Hebrew MSS of the psalter.
      Later this year I hope to share results at the IOSOT meeting in Munich, at
      the World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, and at the SBL meeting
      in Baltimore.


      Bottom line: the MSS present at least 153 different configurations of the
      Hebrew psalter. It is not a matter of any material missing or added, but
      simply how the same material is configured through conjoinments and
      divisions. Not even the great medieval codices like Leningradensis or
      Aleppensis have the expected 150-psalm psalter, but rather 149, through the
      conjoinment of what we know as Psalms 114 and 115. (This particular
      conjoinment is the same that we find in the LXX psalter.) But many Hebrew
      MSS show 114 and 115 as separate psalms. I argue that some of these varying
      configurations can be explained as the influence of liturgical practices
      that varied among the Jewish communities over the centuries. In his �Mishne
      Torah� Maimonides attested to this with regard to the Hallel rite, and I
      believe I have uncovered MS evidence that illustrates what he says he
      observed.

      Bill

      --
      William Yarchin, Ph.D.
      Dean's Endowed Professor of Biblical Studies
      Azusa Pacific University
      626/969-3434 ext. 5683


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