May 10, 2013

James Luther Mays on the Torah Psalms

Here is another nice snippet from older articles from my files that I am in the process of scanning. After discussing the significance of the Torah psalms (1, 19, 119), Mays concludes that,

“The torah psalms point to a type of piety as setting-in-life for the Psalms, a piety that used the entire book as prayer and praise. That means this piety was quite different from any self-righteous, single-minded legalism. Its basic religious commitments were devotion to the instruction of the Lord and trust in the reign of the Lord. The two primary problems with which it lived were wickedness in self and society and the arrogance and power of the nations. The questions with which it wrestled were the incongruence of conduct and experience and the hiddenness of the purpose of God in history. Its way was faithfulness through study and obedience and hope through prayer and waiting. The Psalms were reread in the light of this piety and it in turn was constantly shaped by the use of the Psalms.” 

James Luther Mays, “The Place of the Torah-Psalms in the Psalter,” Journal of Biblical Literature 106 (1987): 12.

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