본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Socio-economic Identity of the Poor in the Psalms

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2024, 30(1), pp.75-110
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology

박기형 1

1숭실대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to argue that the theme of poverty in the Psalms must be understood in light of the religious and socioeconomic context of the post-exilic period. The thesis of this paper is that poverty in the Psalms refers to real poverty, and that in order to understand the poor, we must keep in mind the underlying historical and socioeconomic context. The arguments for this are as follows. First, a review of the history of research on the poor in the Psalms reveals the multifaceted interpretive possibilities of the meaning of poverty and the theology of poverty in the Psalms, but the semantic scope of poverty in the Psalms is primarily concerned with material poverty. Second, sociological studies of the Psalms show that the theology of poverty in the Psalms developed in various forms over the course of history, with the final editing and finalization occurring in the post-exilic period. Third, matching the various terms related to poverty in the Psalms with the time periods suggested by the final form of the five books of the Psalter reveals a concentration of poverty themes in Books 1 and 5. What this suggests is that the socioeconomic situation of the poor has a concrete connection to the historical reality of the post-exilic period. The concentration of the issue of poverty in Books 1 and 5 can be seen as a recontextualization of the post-captivity period, reflecting and projecting the legacy of the previous dynasty. Therefore, a socio-economic historical study of this period is essential. In this paper, we have attempted to interpret Psalm 37 and Psalm 109 in a historical-critical context, revealing that both psalms reflect the actual socioeconomic conditions of the post-exilic period. In conclusion, we need to move away from the perspective of understanding poverty in the Psalms as merely an allegory or religious symbol for a spiritual reality. There is no denying that there are many more perspectives on poverty in the Psalms that require creative interpretation and application. But this doesn't have to completely dilute or neuter the basic economic meaning of the terms. It is this researcher's fundamental argument that we should not overly "spiritualize" the poverty of the Psalms.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.