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There is a tight semantic field of words for “righteousness” in the Psalms which occurs at the beginnings and ends of psalm texts; the occurrences are statistically significant. This essay begins by defining and analysing this semantic domain and then surveying the positioning of these lexemes. This highlights particular texts where one psalm ends, and the next begins, with such words (Psalms 32 and 33; Psalms 71 and 72; and Psalms 142 and 143). Examining the connections between these three pairs of texts leads to conclusions about the ethical content of these psalms and the richness that their canonical positioning adds to the exegesis of the texts. Thus the exegetical methods showcased here combine the application of linguistic semantics with canonical-critical concerns, while the semantic field in view is that of the ethically exemplary type. This leads to an exploration of the closeness of persons as an ethical influence, as well as the closeness of texts as an exegetical influence. It opens the way to further investigations of opening and closing verses of the Psalms, in particular laying out the question whether the combination of such ethical concerns approached by these methods highlights an editorial layer in the redaction of the Psalter.

In: The Exegetical and the Ethical
The Bible and the Academy in the Public Square. Essays for the Occasion of Professor John Barton’s 70th Birthday
Volume Editors: and
Exegesis has ethical dimensions. This is the case for the Bible, which has a foundational status in traditional perspectives that is simultaneously contested in the modern world. This innovative essay collection, largely about Hebrew Bible/Old Testament texts, is written by an international team – all Doktorkinder of a pioneer in this area, Professor John Barton, whose 70th birthday this volume celebrates. With interdisciplinary angles, the essays highlight the roles and responsibilities of the biblical scholar, often located professionally between religious and secular domains. This reflects a broader reality: all readers of texts are engaged ethically in the public square of ideas.
In: The Exegetical and the Ethical