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Persuading God: Rhetorical Studies of First-Person Psalms
Davida H. Charney

ISBN 9781910928219
Status Available
Price: $22.50
Binding Paperback
Publication Date September 2017
Pages 168
   

Written by a scholar of rhetoric, Persuading God demonstrates that the first-person psalms that make up over a third of the Book of Psalms were designed not simply to express the feelings of individual Israelites but to persuade God to act. The book casts a new light on the roles of all the players in the situations in which the psalms were composed and performed: the person represented by the speaker on whose particular troubles the psalm is based, the spectators and opponents who are sometimes addressed directly by the speaker, the poet-musicians who craft the speaker's case and occasionally undermine it, and most of all, God as the direct addressee whose presumed openness to persuasion and willingness to intervene underlie the entire event. The readings provide new explanations for many long-standing puzzles: how to deal with the long string of imprecations in Psalm 109, whether Psalm 4 is best read as protesting a false accusation or as countering apostasy, why so many verses in Psalm 62 begin with the exclamation ach, and, more generally, why so many first-person psalms seem to swing abruptly between despair and praise. The book demonstrates the relevance of contemporary rhetorical theory to Hebrew Bible studies, including the work of Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, Kenneth Burke, and Mikhail Bakhtin. It also illuminates the state of rhetorical practice in the ancient Near East at the same time that rhetorical theories were first being codified and taught in archaic and classical Athens.

Davida Charney is Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin.

View the hardcover edition of this title.

SBL Press is the North American distributor for Sheffield Phoenix Press. Customers outside of North America can purchase this book directly from Sheffield Phoenix by clicking here.




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