My Psalm Has Turned Into Weeping The Dialogical Intertextuality Of Allusions To The Psalms In Job -- By: Will Kynes

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 63:2 (NA 2012)
Article: My Psalm Has Turned Into Weeping The Dialogical Intertextuality Of Allusions To The Psalms In Job
Author: Will Kynes


My Psalm Has Turned Into Weeping
The Dialogical Intertextuality Of
Allusions To The Psalms In Job1

Will Kynes

The ‘bitter parody’ of Psalm 8:5 in Job 7:17-18 has long been recognised but its hermeneutical implications have not been fully explored. The repetition of the phrase מה־אנושׁ (‘What are human beings?’), the common structure of both passages, and the recurrence of the verb פקד set in a context which reverses its meaning, have led to a nearly unanimous consensus that Job is intentionally twisting the meaning of the psalm from a hymn of praise for God’s watchful care to a complaint against his overbearing attention. Rarely, however, has the question which naturally follows been pursued: if the author of Job interacted with Psalm 8 in such a knowing and sophisticated way, what other allusions to the Psalms may likewise make significant contributions to the dialogue between Job, his friends, and God?

To answer that question, this thesis employs a new method for identifying allusions and interpreting their significance that incorporates aspects of both ‘diachronic’ and ‘synchronic’ intertextual approaches. In this study ‘diachronic’ is considered a sequential way of reading connections between texts, in which the relative dates of texts are important because one author is referring to the work of another, and ‘synchronic’ a simultaneous interpretive approach, in which readers may read texts ‘all at one time’ and pursue textual resonances irrespective of direct historical relationships between them. The method developed in the thesis proceeds in eight steps that address the texts from alternating diachronic and synchronic perspectives, ranging from identification (synchronic) to historical implications (diachronic). A

crucial third step, coherence, uses a synchronic comparison of the possible significance of the purported allusion when considered in both directions to come to a diachronic conclusion on the direction of dependence. Thus, Job is likely alluding to Psalm 8 and not vice versa because parodying the psalmist’s praise would accentuate Job’s complaint, but an allusion to Job’s accusations would undercut the psalmist’s worship. This enables allusions to be addressed in texts where the relative dates are unknown, like Job and most of the Psalms.

This method is applied to the sections of Job and the Psalms in which the intertextual connections are the most pronounced: the Job di...

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