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Theology of the Book of Psalms - Sinai and Zion

왕대일 1

1감리교신학대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

This paper is intended to show that the Sinaitic experience of divine presence, which was described as the Mosaic faith in the Pentateuch, especially in the Sinai Pericope (Ex 19:1-Num 10:10), was re-enacted in the Davidic Temple at Zion that was conceived as the cosmic mountain in the book of Psalms. Sinai is the mountain where Israel's formative years launched. Mt. Sinai, which is understood as “YHWH's home in no man's land,” is a sacred place where Yahweh, the liberator, encountered Israel who was liberated out of the bondage of Egypt. The experience of Israel at Mt. Sinai passed on to us meta-historical or transcendent reality of the presence of God. It showed an essential, normative relationship of YHWH to his people Israel first, the covenantal relationship, second, the tabernacling presence of God in the tent of meeting. Sinai gave Israel the world in which Israel should become a witness to the legitimate Jewish way of living. Theologically speaking, Israel was a sacral kingdom before she became a political state. The final editing of the Psalter was made with a great interest in perceiving Zion as the successor to Sinai. The present form of the book of Psalms, by which prayers, hymns, and songs were to be read as a form of Torah, had integrated the Zion tradition to legitimate the temple as sacred space reenacting the Sinaitic experience at Jerusalem. It shows the presence of God in Zion, which appears as a crucial constituent not only in the texts where the word Zion is prevalent. It also functions within each of the five books of the Psalter as a deliberate feature whereby the Zion tradition is given a central place. It would be surprising, if the one who was in responsible for editing the final form of Psalms belonged to the same Levitical circles as those who compiled the Book of Chronicles: They shared the same vision for restructuring that Zion was the central locus for Judaism, both for the individual and the community as a whole. Theology of the book of Psalms puts its emphasis on the fact that the tradition of YHWH's theophany at Mt. Sinai was transferred to Zion. God was no longer seen as dwelling in an extraterritorial no man's land. He is seen as abiding in the temple, the primarily visual vehicle for the knowledge of God, which was standing within the borders of the Israel's community. The fact that temple was built by Solomon is now hermeneutically transferred: it was built by God. It describes the divine choice of Zion before the rise of David. By way of the psalmistic understanding, visionary experiences at Mt. Sinai and the temple on Mt. Zion appear as entries into the faith of Israel that could coexist in the end.

Citation status

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