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The spirit of Jewish poetry : why biblical studies has forgotten Duhm’s psalter commentary

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Abstract
Rather than recount a history of errors, this essay addresses the generation and perpetuation of interpretative modalities in academic communities. It tells a story of curbed reception on account of theological interference. In the end, Duhm interpreted the Psalms as a product of Jewish communities under the Seleucids, Hasmoneans, and Romans, such that one reviewer was not far off when he styled a more appropriate title for the Psalter – in line with the Basel professor – as 'The Hymns of the Sadducees and Pharisees: A Composite Book.' This inquiry argues the historicist revisionism of Duhm’s commentary on the Psalms ultimately entailed moral, historical, and aesthetic conclusions unacceptable to most of his contemporaries in Christian biblical scholarship, which restricted the reach of the work. First, the investigation surveys the oeuvre of Duhm, placing his work on the Psalms against the larger landscape of his work on biblical texts: the history of books, the history of prophecy, and the history of religion. Next, the analysis assesses the criticism of his commentary. The critiques of reconstructive efforts, late chronology, interpretative peculiarity, and disciplinary trends prove insufficient as an explanation for the demise of Duhm’s commentary, for the same qualities characterize the rest of his oeuvre, from the history of Israel to the composition history of the Hebrew Bible. Third, the examination evaluates the moral, historical, and aesthetic problems posed by Duhm’s setting of the Psalms in explicitly Jewish history, given the deep ambivalence towards Judaism in Christian theology, including in its historicist ventures. Finally, from this preceding inquiry, the essay tenders two suggestions of method, aimed at cultivating a more robust historiography of Hebrew Bible scholarship and thus a deeper understanding of the discipline itself. To comprehend the history of scholarship, the conclusion stresses, on the level of sources, the insight afforded by contemporaneous review articles and, on the level of research questions, the analytical purchase gained by the study of roads not taken as well as those abandoned. Therefore, this contribution not only provides a new explanation for the fate of Duhm’s work on the Psalter but also offers historiographical guidance for further work in the field of Hebrew Bible.

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MLA
Kurtz, Paul Michael. “The Spirit of Jewish Poetry : Why Biblical Studies Has Forgotten Duhm’s Psalter Commentary.” Fromme Und Frevler : Studien Zu Psalmen Und Weisheit :Festschrift Für Hermann Spieckermann Zum 70. Geburtstag, edited by Corinna Körting and Reinhard Gregor Kratz, Mohr Siebeck, 2020, pp. 283–301.
APA
Kurtz, P. M. (2020). The spirit of Jewish poetry : why biblical studies has forgotten Duhm’s psalter commentary. In C. Körting & R. G. Kratz (Eds.), Fromme und Frevler : Studien zu Psalmen und Weisheit :Festschrift für Hermann Spieckermann zum 70. Geburtstag (pp. 283–301). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Chicago author-date
Kurtz, Paul Michael. 2020. “The Spirit of Jewish Poetry : Why Biblical Studies Has Forgotten Duhm’s Psalter Commentary.” In Fromme Und Frevler : Studien Zu Psalmen Und Weisheit :Festschrift Für Hermann Spieckermann Zum 70. Geburtstag, edited by Corinna Körting and Reinhard Gregor Kratz, 283–301. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Kurtz, Paul Michael. 2020. “The Spirit of Jewish Poetry : Why Biblical Studies Has Forgotten Duhm’s Psalter Commentary.” In Fromme Und Frevler : Studien Zu Psalmen Und Weisheit :Festschrift Für Hermann Spieckermann Zum 70. Geburtstag, ed by. Corinna Körting and Reinhard Gregor Kratz, 283–301. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
Vancouver
1.
Kurtz PM. The spirit of Jewish poetry : why biblical studies has forgotten Duhm’s psalter commentary. In: Körting C, Kratz RG, editors. Fromme und Frevler : Studien zu Psalmen und Weisheit :Festschrift für Hermann Spieckermann zum 70 Geburtstag. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck; 2020. p. 283–301.
IEEE
[1]
P. M. Kurtz, “The spirit of Jewish poetry : why biblical studies has forgotten Duhm’s psalter commentary,” in Fromme und Frevler : Studien zu Psalmen und Weisheit :Festschrift für Hermann Spieckermann zum 70. Geburtstag, C. Körting and R. G. Kratz, Eds. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020, pp. 283–301.
@incollection{8679131,
  abstract     = {{Rather than recount a history of errors, this essay addresses the generation and perpetuation of interpretative modalities in academic communities. It tells a story of curbed reception on account of theological interference. In the end, Duhm interpreted the Psalms as a product of Jewish communities under the Seleucids, Hasmoneans, and Romans, such that one reviewer was not far off when he styled a more appropriate title for the Psalter – in line with the Basel professor – as 'The Hymns of the Sadducees and Pharisees: A Composite Book.' This inquiry argues the historicist revisionism of Duhm’s commentary on the Psalms ultimately entailed moral, historical, and aesthetic conclusions unacceptable to most of his contemporaries in Christian biblical scholarship, which restricted the reach of the work. First, the investigation surveys the oeuvre of Duhm, placing his work on the Psalms against the larger landscape of his work on biblical texts: the history of books, the history of prophecy, and the history of religion. Next, the analysis assesses the criticism of his commentary. The critiques of reconstructive efforts, late chronology, interpretative peculiarity, and disciplinary trends prove insufficient as an explanation for the demise of Duhm’s commentary, for the same qualities characterize the rest of his oeuvre, from the history of Israel to the composition history of the Hebrew Bible. Third, the examination evaluates the moral, historical, and aesthetic problems posed by Duhm’s setting of the Psalms in explicitly Jewish history, given the deep ambivalence towards Judaism in Christian theology, including in its historicist ventures. Finally, from this preceding inquiry, the essay tenders two suggestions of method, aimed at cultivating a more robust historiography of Hebrew Bible scholarship and thus a deeper understanding of the discipline itself. To comprehend the history of scholarship, the conclusion stresses, on the level of sources, the insight afforded by contemporaneous review articles and, on the level of research questions, the analytical purchase gained by the study of roads not taken as well as those abandoned. Therefore, this contribution not only provides a new explanation for the fate of Duhm’s work on the Psalter but also offers historiographical guidance for further work in the field of Hebrew Bible.}},
  author       = {{Kurtz, Paul Michael}},
  booktitle    = {{Fromme und Frevler : Studien zu Psalmen und Weisheit :Festschrift für Hermann Spieckermann zum 70. Geburtstag}},
  editor       = {{Körting, Corinna and Kratz, Reinhard Gregor}},
  isbn         = {{9783161575365}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{283--301}},
  publisher    = {{Mohr Siebeck}},
  title        = {{The spirit of Jewish poetry : why biblical studies has forgotten Duhm’s psalter commentary}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}