Friday, May 15, 2020

The psalm and the pandemic?

PROF. MATTHIAS HENZE: God Shelters the Faithful: The Prayer of Psalm 91 (
Psalm 91 expresses confidence that God will protect the righteous from plagues, demons, and wild animals, while allowing the wicked to perish. How are we to understand such language, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Psalm 91 is the premier psalm for the Jewish magical tradition. As Professor Henze notes, it is tied to an exorcistic tradition as far back as the Dead Sea Scrolls. And it also features often in the context of protection from demonic pestilence in subsequent Jewish magic. For some background, see here.

Psalm 91 has also been used similarly in Christianity. Philip Jenkins has a recent blog post on it here.

Individual readers can decide for themselves whether the psalm has any relevance for the current pandemic.

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