I have two comments pending. One on L. Hurdato's blog and one on the Liturgy blog. One's a question. One's an answer to a question.
I should know better than to answer questions.
Liturgy asks - what is a Psalm? Well did you think I would not try to answer with a chunk of stuff. Here's the chunk.
The psalms as a whole are a detailed commentary on the whole of Tanach or the OT if you prefer. The Psalter is definitely a book with a story in it. Its purpose is to form a people who know how to administer mercy (aka loving-kindness). It is a critical story of course about the human condition as seen through the canonical history of Israel. Pss 1-2 introduce the Psalter. Ps 149 as part of the closing frame directly references the intro. Ps 146 outlines the character of Yahweh and by implication allows the person in the celebratory Psalm 111 to consider that those are the actions to imitate. There is a clear structure to the whole, framed by the 4 acrostics of book 1 and book 5, imitating or imitated by the 4 of Lamentations, an imitation that ties the Psalter to the exile - much of which is reflected in the laments of Book 2 and 3. The 7 psalms preceding the 8 acrostics, Pss 8, 24, 33, and 36 in book 1 and Pss 110, 118, and 144 in book 5 have a chiastic arrangement through their content and are each of special theological importance within the 150. 8 and 144 for example share the question 'what is this humanity that God should pay it any notice' - in quite different words but clearly intended and resonating with the Job parallel also. A psalm like a person does not 'exist as an individual' alone but is strongly in relation to this very carefully constructed/redacted body of poetry.Whew!
An on L.H.'s blog. His note is on the book of Revelation. I ask:
Have you considered that the book may be a reflection on the crucifixion and suffering of Jesus? I have an old commentary by Jacques Ellul that my memory says is his theme – but no index so I would both have to find it and reread it to give you a page reference. It seems to me that the giving of the life of the Lamb for the life of the world and judgment in favour of the poor and against the merchants (a common theme of the OT prophets) is in keeping with the characteristic practices of both Yahweh and Jesus.I hate moderation - but I often miss typos in comments. My question is not very clear - do you understand it?