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Original Research

Psalms and Liturgy: Their reception and contextualisation

G.P. Braulik

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 24, No 2 (2003), 309-332. doi: 10.4102/ve.v24i2.349

Submitted: 17 November 2003
Published:  17 November 2003


In the interpretation of texts in modern Old Testament studies, a double change in perspective, which has important consequences for the liturgical use of the Psalms, is currently taking place. In the first reorientation, the movement is “from the hypothetically reconstructed ‘original’ text to the text written down in bookform and then to the canonical text”; in the second, the attention moves “from the text to the recipient”. On the one hand, the whole Psalter and its connec-tions with the totality of Holy Scripture are thus increasingly becoming the focus of attention. On the other hand, reception aesthetical, reader-oriented exegesis is overcoming the cleft caused by a purely historical view, in favour of a situational perspective. The article delineates this change and applies especially the first approach to the Psalms. The Psalter then appears neither as a mere lectionary nor primarily as a prayer text, but as a text for meditation. Its technique of the juxtaposition of certain Psalms (iuxtapositio) and of the chainage or concatenation of keywords (concatenatio) opens up new and diverse dimensions of meaning.This is illustrated according to Psalm 103. Its connections to its immediate context are first explained, upon which a few lines of canonical intertextuality within the whole Bible are traced. We are thus lead to recognise a certain multi-perspectivity, reaching from the Sinai pericope to the Lord’s prayer.

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G.P. Braulik, University of Vienna



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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