Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Amy Erickson

Second Advisor

W. Scott Howard

Third Advisor

Mark K. George


Collections, Elohistic Psalter, Poetry, Psalm 42, Psalms, Shape and shaping


This dissertation’s thesis states Ps 42 is the synecdochic lead of the Elohistic Psalter, arguing for a particular type of literary relationship between Ps 42 and this collection (Pss 42-83). As synecdoche, Ps 42 introduces and represents, in microcosm, the themes, imagery, language, and actuational potential of the collection. The lead psalm becomes a lens that affects what aspects and commonalities come to light in the following psalms. This is not merely an intertextual study, however. This study is situated within psalms studies and the long reach of Gerald Wilson’s work and the Shape and Shaping approach to the Psalter. Therefore, I draw from the study of poetic collections and anthologies, and I seek to refine notions of psalms collections, articulating a conception of the collection. A collection, I propose, is more than a set of psalms with intertextual resonances, but a set of psalms framed and organized as belonging together, which creates an expectation of commonality and forms a new work, not just a set of previous works. This new work and one’s experience of it derives from its constituent poems. Through the collection, the compiler coopts and extends the themes and potentiality of the constituent poems and harnesses the intertextual connections. The collection is non-narrative, built on paratactic juxtapositions, marked primarily by framing devices, and the lead psalm shapes impressions of the whole as both microcosm and lens to the collection.

The method employed in this study is literary, attending to manuscript evidence and spacing, poetic analysis, and literary connections. However, I have chosen not to examine the Elohistic collection in isolation, but in comparison to another ancient collection, TH 1-42, utilizing Jonathan Z. Smith’s method of comparison. I compare the Elohistic collection to TH 1-42 because TH 1-42 is an ancient corollary, in contrast to more modern and western models, and is a return to where Wilson began his study. The result of this approach is the picture of a collection that amplifies or extends the thematic emphasis and effective potential of its constituent poems. The collection is a poetic expression itself, discerned gradually. The cumulative collection is encapsulated in the lead psalm, the synecdochic lead.

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Rights Holder

David P. Pettit


Received from ProQuest

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304 pgs


Biblical studies