A canonical exegesis of the eighth Psalm : YHWH's maintenance of the created order through divine reversal.
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Keener, Hubert James.
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This dissertation presents a canonical exegesis of Psalm 8. The dissertation seeks to contribute to two areas of scholarship: 1) literature on the canonical approach to exegesis carrying forward the emphases first articulated by Brevard Childs, and 2) literature grappling with the question of how one ought to interpret Psalm 8 as Christian Scripture. The first chapter of the study reassesses the canon exegetical approach, concluding that it is a viable and salutary means for interpreting the text theologically, while arguing for some refinements to the approach as it is now understood that clarify its theological underpinnings. The rest of the dissertation then goes on to examine Psalm 8 in relation to the broader canon. In order to bring Psalm 8 into dialogue with the rest of the canon, the study attends to the literary context of the psalm (the Psalter) and utilizes key texts which relate to the psalm (Genesis 1; Job 7; Psalm 144; Matthew 21; 1 Corinthians 15; Ephesians 1; Hebrews 2) as entry points through which to connect Psalm 8 with the broader witness of Scripture. Thus, the study attends to the discreet witness of Psalm 8, the place of Psalm 8 in the shape of the Psalter, the relationship between Psalm 8 and the rest of the Old Testament, and the relationship between Psalm 8 and the New Testament witness. The dissertation describes the place of Psalm 8 within the Christian canon as representing the intersection of three motifs or trajectories: 1) The distinct theological message of Psalm 8, summarized as the reversal motif; the psalm describes YHWH as making his name great in all of creation by exalting relatively insignificant things over and against seemingly superior things, as is seen most prominently in the exaltation of the human to the role of YHWH's vice-gerent. 2) The motif of the conflicted and conflicting human, which permeates the canon; humanity finds itself beset by troubles and prone to misconduct. 3) The motif of the redeeming Christ, who becomes the ultimate representation of the reversal motif and who alone violates the type of the conflicted and conflicting human.