The Non-Messianic Psalter of Gerald H. Wilson

In: Vetus Testamentum
Gregory Goswell Christ College Australia

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The sequential reading of the macrostructure of the Psalter pioneered by Gerald Wilson produced a seachange in Psalms scholarship, however, his non-messianic reading of the Psalter continues to evoke controversy and attract criticism. In this article I attempt to answer Wilson’s critics who find fault with his reading of the Psalter on the basis of the presence of Psalms 110 and 132 in Book v, psalms that are usually classified as ‘royal’ and seen as promoting a strongly messianic hope. After a review of Wilson’s arguments, I analyse the immediate context, the key words and the theocratic focus of Psalms 110 and 132. These features provide support for Wilson’s thesis that ‘David’ in Book v is no messianic cipher, but an exemplary model of loyal devotion to God’s kingship. This viewpoint in no way undermines a Christian reading of the Psalter, with the Book of Psalms read as pointing forward to the God-man, Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate model of human devotion to God, the apocalyptic Son of Man, and the Divine King come to save his people.

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