Tuesday, 8 February 2022

A greater call

The 1871 translator of Delitzsch revised edition of his 1859-60 Commentary on the Psalms writes:

It is almost superfluous to say that it has been altogether impracticable to follow Dr. Delitzsch in his acrostic reproduction of the Alphabetical Psalms.

I will look forward to reading what Delitzsch says about writing an Acrostic in German. The translator could have looked to Mary Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke. (Examples from ages ago here and here.)

My first impressions of this volume that I have found are much better than my first impressions of Forbes. I see that T&T Clark published both of them, Forbes references Delitzsch but Dr. D. does not reference Forbes - probably their times did not connect. 

So for a while, I think I will read Delitzsch - probably better for my soul. It will not be an easy read though.

Here is his opening and the question of canonical order

The Psalter is everywhere regarded as an essential part of the Kethubim or Hagiographa; but its position among these varies. It seems to follow from Luke xxiv. 44 that it opened the Kethubim in the earliest period of the Christian era. The order of the books in the Hebrew MSS. of the German class, upon which our printed editions in general use are based, is actually this: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and the five Megilloth. But the Masora and the MSS. of the Spanish class begin the Kethubim with the Chronicles which they awkwardly separate from Ezra and Nehemiah, and then range the Psalms, Job, Proverbs and the five Megilloth next. And according to the Talmud (Baba Bathra 14b) the following is the right order: Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs; the Book of Ruth precedes the Psalter as its prologue, for Ruth is the ancestor of him to whom the sacred lyric owes its richest and most flourishing era.

Well I doubt it, frankly. The writings should begin on a note other than the tonic. So Psalms qualifies, Job also, and the Song. Well there's my personal bias. These books are keys to Torah and are connected with what has gone before. The third section of Tanach should not be separated totally from the first two. 

And Dr. D agrees:

It is undoubtedly the most natural order that the Psalter should open the division of the Kethubim, and for this reason: that, according to the stock which forms the basis of it, it represents the time of David, and then afterwards in like manner the Proverbs and Job represent the Chokma-literature of the age of Solomon. But it is at once evident that it could have no other place but among the Kethubim.

It's a good question - why do the psalms belong here after Torah and after all the Prophets?

In the next few posts, I will look at his first sections on how the Psalter was constructed. This parallels  a little, but in 19th century detail, the lecture from Klaus Seybold at The Oxford Conference on the Psalms in 2010

Again I am working with an OCR image and the resulting epub is 100 times worse for typos than Forbes. But I have the beginning of its logical sense in terms I can grasp. I have scanned the first few sections. They are at a depth I have not yet attempted to read with languages I will have some trouble with and covering much ground, reaching back into both Christian and Hebrew tradition. I hope you will share the journey. Again I will correct the epub as I go, but there is too much Greek for me to correct - so If you want to help, let me know. Feel free to comment in the file itself. Or make a copy and choose a section. I am using Calibre-64bit - I find it an excellent processor for epubs.

Table of contents for Delitzsch up to Psalm1 I think you can figure out the rest

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