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Title: Psalm 119: The Exaltation of Torah
Author: Freedman, David Noel
Publisher: Eisenbrauns; Publication Date: 1999
Hardcover; ISBN: 9781575060385
Volumes: 1; Pages: 140
List Price in Hardcover: $34.50 Our price: $28.99
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From the Preface: "The alphabetic acrostic is one of the most easily identifiable poetic forms in the Hebrew Bible. Examples can be found in prophetic discourse (Nahum), the lament over the destruction of Jerusalem (Lamentations), liturgical song (Psalms), and wisdom literature (Proverbs). Yet its very obviousness has tended to deflect deeper exploration of its structure and purpose. Since Mowinckel denigrated the acrostics in the Psalms as a 'disintegration of style,' too often scholars have simply noted and then ignored the form.
"There is no a priori reason that alphabetic acrostics should be less creative, expressive, or complex than other psalms. Thus the essays collected here investigate the acrostic format as a legitimate option for Israelite poets rather than as the refuge of uninspired epigones. ... The fruit of over twenty years' close reading of these psalms, the following essays reveal the poets' consummate mastery of the demanding acrostic form and deserve incorporation in future discussions of biblical poetic art."
"... it is refreshing to find a study exhibiting a love for and appreciation of Psalm 119 that is informed, obvious, and contagious ... this slim volume will contribute to a new understanding and utilization of a seldom read and often misunderstood psalm."--James Limburg, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly(63, 2001)
"His (Freedman's) close analysis of the acrostic psalms is a boon for anyone doing further work in these psalms. His many tables and lists provide helpful visual means for assimilating what otherwise would be highly confusing data. Freedman is to be commended for the furtherance of his methodology and for the additional example of its fruit. It is refreshing to see a theological conclusion to what is essentially a structural study."--J. Todd Burger, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Journal of Biblical Literature