Sunday, October 11, 2020

Beware what you say

Beware what you say, because it can be used in the future to show how far off the wall you were! Case in point, a very good scholar, Bernhard Duhm, said this about Ps 119 in 1922:
What sort of purpose the author had in view during the composition of these 176 verses, I do not know. In any case, this “psalm” is the most meaningless product that one ever used to blacken paper; one could more easily wear down a heretic with it than with all seven penitential psalms.
Original German:
Was der Autor bei der Abfassung dieser 176 Verse für einen Zweck im Auge gehabt hat, weiss ich nicht. Jedenfalls ist dieser ‘Psalm’ das inhaltsloseste Produkt, das jemals Papier Schwarz gemacht hat; mit ihm könnte man einen Ketzer eher mürbe Machen als mit sämtlichen sieben Bußpsalmen.—Bernhard Duhm, Die Psalmen, 2nd ed., KHC 14 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1922), 427–28
Cited in ch. 3 of Bernd Schipper, The Hermeneutics of Torah: Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy, and the Composition of Proverbs 1–9 (Atlanta: SBL Press, forthcoming). Needless to say, very few people would adhere to that view today!

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