Cultic Prophecy In The Psalms In The Light Of Assyrian Prophetic Sources -- By: John Hilber

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 56:1 (NA 2005)
Article: Cultic Prophecy In The Psalms In The Light Of Assyrian Prophetic Sources
Author: John Hilber


Cultic Prophecy In The Psalms In The Light Of Assyrian Prophetic Sources1

John Hilber

1. The Central Issue

Since the early twentieth century, no consensus has been reached regarding the relationship between OT cultic prophecy and psalms, in particular, whether first-person divine speech in psalms originated from cult prophets or by poetic imitation of prophetic speech. Some have argued that spontaneous prophecy is incompatible with a fixed liturgical agenda and that the unified composition of psalms containing divine speech necessitates the composition of the whole prior to performance in worship, without the involvement of actual prophets. Assyrian prophetic sources2 attest to the existence of cult prophets in a culture relatively close to that of the OT, thereby inviting functional, form-critical, and thematic comparisons. Assyrian cult prophets announced divine support for the king, advocated the maintenance of temples and sacrifices, and offered divine response to inquiry and lament. These functions correspond to descriptions of prophets in the OT as voices of divine authority in royal affairs and as intermediaries who sometimes functioned at shrines. One might then expect psalms containing prophetic words that legitimise royal power (Psalms 2; 89; 110; 132), advance cultic orthodoxy and practices (Psalms 50; 68; 81; 95; 132) or address prayers and laments (Psalms 12; 60; 75; 82; 91; 132) to arise from this setting, even as Assyrian cultic prophecy functioned in similar ways.

2. Comparison of Assyrian Prophecies and Psalms

Assyrian prophecies find their closest counterpart in certain royal psalms, corresponding not only in form-critical style and thematic content but also in function. The form, style and function of Assyrian cultic prophecies (particularly SAA 9 2:4; 3:3; and SAA 9 7, but also Egyptian enthronement oracles) support the interpretation that Psalms 2 and You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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