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Altes Testament


Hartenstein, Friedhelm, u. Thomas Willi [Hrsg.]


Psalmen und Chronik.


Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2019. XXII, 434 S. = Forschungen zum Alten Testament. 2. Reihe, 107. Kart. EUR 99,00. ISBN 978-3-16-154010-3.


Louis C. Jonker

This volume contains the papers of a conference that was held in Munich in August 2012. The aim of the conference was to bring prominent scholars in the fields of Chronicles and Psalm studies together to deliberate the relationship between these textual corpora. A study of Chronicles’ interface with other Hebrew Bible textual corpora has remained underdeveloped in scholarship. The present study stands in line with other similar developments of the past decade where the interface between Chronicles and other corpora (for example, the Pentateuch and prophetic literature) has become a major thrust in Old Testament studies. Great apprecia-tion should therefore be expressed to Friedhelm Hartenstein and Thomas Willi for bringing the group together, and for editing this volume. This kind of interaction between subfields in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament studies definitely assists us in breaking out of the silos of (over-)specialization.
In the Preface, the two editors position the initial conference and this anthology within the framework of recent developments in both Chronicles and Psalm studies. It is particularly the diachronic versions of the newer Psalm studies that trigger the quest for investi­gating the late phases of Psalter formation (particularly the addition of books IV and V, as well as the superscriptions) in conjunction with other contemporary literature formation processes, such as that of Chronicles. Are there similar theological tendencies and ideological positions that can be determined in the different textual corpora?
The present book is divided into three parts, with the first containing three contributions on Chronicles, the second including five essays on Chronicles, and the third presenting nine articles on the relationship between Chronicles and Psalms. Some essays in the first two parts (such as those by Kalimi, Mathys, and Gärtner) do not make a direct contribution to the theme of the volume, but ne-vertheless provide relevant material from Chronicles and Psalms research for investigating their relationship. A number of studies focus on the reception of some of the psalms in Chronicles (Human, Müller, Schnocks, Hausmann, and Williamson), while others look at technical-methodological (Talshir, Janowski, Ben Zvi, Weber) aspects, or aspects of genre (Dietrich). Still others focus on the portrayal of David and the notion of kingship in the different textual corpora (Hartenstein, Hossfeld, Willi), while one contribution (Lynch) focuses on the portrayal of divine supremacy and the temple in sections in Chronicles and Psalms.
The last-mentioned essay, that of Matthew Lynch, in particular shows the value of studying Chronicles and Psalms together. He indicates:
»Links between Psalms and Chronicles […] fuel desires to comprehend the emerging shape of the cult in the Second Temple period, and the parties that curated and gave shape to these books. Though Psalms and Chronicles are opaque regarding the specific circumstances that occasioned their production, any success in understanding the network of citations and allusions that bind these books together will improve our ability to grasp the theol-ogical priorities of those who undoubtedly participated in shaping early Judaism.« (324)
As will be indicated below, it is a pity that not more of this perspective emerged from this volume.
It is impossible to give all contributions their due credit within the scope of this review. I therefore restrict myself to some of the highlights of the volume for my personal interest (which may, of course, differ for other readers). In the first part, the essay of Zippora Talshir (who sadly passed away in 2016) suggests an interest-ing angle for dealing with the psalm quotations in Chronicles. She latches onto the notion of Musivstil (defined as »literally, ›Mosaic style‹ – would generally describe the style of an author who incorporates in his writing the vocabulary, expressions, literary patterns, motifs and ideas of other writers« [77]) which was promoted by Franz Rosenzweig. Her contribution alerts us to the reality that the Chronicler made use of earlier traditions without necessarily resorting to verbal quotations. This insight provides a useful angle for investigating the Chronicler’s engagement with earlier tradi-tions.
In the second part, the contribution of Bernd Janowski focuses on the psalm superscriptions. He rightly indicates that these minor parts of the literary tradition have often been relegated as late additions to the psalm traditions, without any attempt to look at the theological and literary-historical value of these superscriptions. Although it seems that he did not take notice of earlier publications on the same topic (according to his bibliography), his contribution highlights that the psalm superscriptions could provide an interesting avenue for investigating the relationship between the late stages of Psalter formation and Chronicles.
Asaph in the Psalter and in Chronicles forms the focus of Beat Weber’s contribution in the third part. His main thesis is: »Ein sich von Asaph herleitender Trägerkreis steht für eine lange Traditionskontinuität über einen großen Zeitbogen (rund 400 Jahre). Dieser übermittelt Stoffe, Anliegen und Funktionen aus der (mittleren) Königszeit, die in die Buchgestalten von Psalter und Chronik einfließen.« (343) In the conclusion to his essay he indicates that it remains a mystery why the influence of the Asaphites (not the Levites in general) declined in the late postexilic era. His essay should stimulate new research on the position of the Asaphites in the cultic history of Ancient Israel.
The volume does unfortunately not conclude with a synthesis of the findings of the various contributions. Although each essay contributes valuable insights towards the study of Chronicles and Psalms, the volume remains somewhat open-ended in that it does not provide – at the end – a summary of the composition- and redaction-historical insights that were gained by bringing two subfields of specialization into conversation with one another. The conclusion to the preface of the book (XXI) does not capture the full richness of insights contained in the studies of this volume. However, it does emphasize that Chronicles should particularly be ap-preciated for its hermeneutical strategy of renewed appropriation of older textual traditions, and that the rhetorical aims of Chronicles can be highlighted by studying it in conjunction with the Psalter. However, it would have been a benefit if more contribu- tions would have given more focused attention to what insights about the emerging Judaism of the late Persian and early Hellenistic period could be gained from these two textual corpora.
This volume on Psalmen und Chronik can be recommended to all scholars studying these two biblical books, but also to those interested in the literary history of the Hebrew Bible, as well as in the emerging shape of Judaism in the late Persian and early Hellenis-tic period. In typical Mohr Siebeck tradition, the technical aspects of this publication are superb, and the publisher serves biblical scholarship well with this volume in the well-appreciated Forschungen zum Alten Testament second series.