Thursday, 19 May 2016
Configuration in the Psalms
Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity,
Tom Thatcher ed., SBL, 2014, page 44-46
Carol Newsom illustrates the different stories that can be produced by configuration by referring to Psalm 105 and Psalm 106.
Psalm 105 tells a story of providential protection, beginning with Abraham and the promise of the land of Canaan and ending with the gift of the land enacted ... the sense of an ending is provided by the fulfillment of the promise, which is also the final arrival at the destination.
The reader is drawn to the filfillment ad Israel's obigation to keep the laws and teachings of the G-d who has kept His promises and given them the land. Psalm 106, by contrast, looks at what happens when Israel does not keep G-d's laws and teachings.
... here the structure is highly repetitious, as every incident is recalled to illustrate the theme of rebellion. Indeed, one might say that only one thing happens over and over.
Configuration, Newsom explains, has allowed two very different themes to be drawn from the same master narrative; recognisably the same history, but a new and different story.