Divine Aggression in Psalms and Inscriptions
Vengeful Gods and Loyal Kings
Part of Society for Old Testament Study Monographs
AUTHOR: Collin Cornell, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee
DATE PUBLISHED: October 2020
The aggression of the biblical God named Yhwh is notorious. Students of theology, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East know that the Hebrew Bible describes Yhwh acting destructively against his client country, Israel, and against its kings. But is Yhwh uniquely vengeful, or was he just one among other, similarly ferocious patron gods? To answer this question, Collin Cornell compares royal biblical psalms with memorial inscriptions. He finds that the Bible shares deep theological and literary commonalities with comparable texts from Israel's ancient neighbours. The centrepiece of both traditions is the intense mutual loyalty of gods and kings. In the event that the king's monument and legacy comes to harm, gods avenge their individual royal protégé. In the face of political inexpedience, kings honour their individual divine benefactor.
- Provides a sustained comparison between royal biblical psalms and ancient inscriptions
- Demonstrates the distinctive features of the biblical god, especially in terms of his aggression against his own client king and country
- Argues for the loyalty of kings to their specific patron god
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