The kingship of Yahweh and the politics of poverty and oppression in the Hebrew Psalter.
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Wittman, Derek Edward, 1977-
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This dissertation is a rhetorical critical analysis of the Hebrew Psalter's use of language connoting poverty to portray Yahweh, ancient Israel, and foreign nations and to structure the literary relationships between them. It advances the thesis that such language functions to portray ancient Israel as an oppressed nation, to portray foreign nations as oppressors, and to portray Yahweh as a royal figure who acts as a just arbiter between them. The introductory chapter outlines the rhetorical critical methodology of this study, highlighting its emphasis on the reader's role in generating the sense of the text in light of the Psalter's canonical context. It also contains a summary of scholarship on the topic of poverty in the Psalter, including the issues of defining the scope of terminology that connotes poverty in the Psalter and determining the degree to which the Psalter views poverty in a literal or spiritual manner. The second chapter addresses the royal portrayal of Yahweh in the Psalter through the three lenses of scholarship on the enthronement psalms, theological analysis, and canonical criticism, and it includes a discussion of the significance of the relationship between the royal metaphor and the refuge metaphor in understanding the Psalter's view of poverty. The third chapter outlines the Psalter's portrayal of ancient Israel as an oppressed nation, with a particular emphasis on the communal psalms of lament and thanksgiving. It also includes a discussion of the Psalter's tendency to portray foreign nations in a negative light. The fourth chapter is an exegetical analysis of ten psalms that contain these three elements: language connoting poverty, references to foreign nations, and the royal portrayal of Yahweh. It demonstrates that the structures of these psalms lead the reader toward the conclusion that foreign oppressors are to be blamed for the suffering of an impoverished ancient Israel. Chapter five consists of a contextual analysis of these ten psalms. It addresses the repetition of the three aforementioned elements in psalms that precede and follow them. The final chapter contains an assessment of the study's implications for future scholarship on the Psalter and for practical theology.