The use of the Psalms in 1 Peter : an exegetical and hermeneutical study
Phillips, Gregory Yorath
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advancements in Old Testament and New Testament Studies. For example, new knowledge is available on the variant versions of the Septuagint and application of the literary concept of intertextuality has yielded significant results in recent biblical scholarship. However, considering that 1 Peter arguably uses the Old Testament in the most condensed manner of all the New Testament writings, it is surprising that relatively few recent studies have been carried out on the use of the Old Testament in 1 Peter. As a partial corrective to this situation, this in-depth study is focused on the use of the Psalms in 1 Peter, utilizing an integrated hermeneutical procedure that combines traditional grammatical-historical analysis with the state of the art on New Testament use of the Old Testament. The aim is to clarify the hermeneutical implications of the use of the Psalms in 1 Peter for Old Testament and New Testament exegesis within the Reformed tradition today. Thus, a comprehensive exegetical approach is systematically applied to each pericope of 1 Peter and to every relevant Psalm passage in order to establish a valid foundation for understanding how the author interprets the Psalms and how the Psalm references function within the argument of 1 Peter. In addition, intertextual resonance is considered as an effective means to enhance understanding of the function and effect of Psalm references as intended by the author, and to determine the possible unintended effect of Psalm references upon the addressees and later readers. Furthermore, consideration of reader response sometimes makes it possible to identify echoes of Psalm passages not likely intended by the author, but nevertheless, very likely to have come to the minds of the recipients with significant effect. One conclusion of this study is that there is no compelling evidence that the author’s interpretation of the Psalms ignored the intended meaning of the Psalm in its own context, or merely reflected contemporary Second Temple interpretations. Furthermore, it has been possible to refine the criteria for identifying and classifying Psalm allusions rather than merely following broad, predetermined criteria. Thus, a distinction is made between specific allusion, in which case the author’s argument depends upon recognition of specific Psalm passages, and general allusion, in which case the author’s argument depends upon a concept recognizably derived from the Psalms but not limited by the wording of specific references. This study also demonstrates that the use of the Psalms in 1 Peter is based upon a strong sense of solidarity with believers of the past, especially as they expressed their responses to God in the context of suffering. In particular, compared with other New Testament writings, 1 Peter stands out for the fact that the majority of its Psalm allusions are used for the purpose of developing and reapplying significant themes. Thus, 1 Peter provides compelling reason for present-day interpreters to view theme development as a valid and effective way to apply the Psalms to the circumstances of Christian believers as they face the challenge of living faithfully in new contexts of suffering and persecution.
- Theology 
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