Psalm 139 - A Prologue to Prayer

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In this essay I seek to show how a prayerful approach to the theological study of scripture, informed by postmodern methods of reading and analysis, can break open familiar texts to new interpretative possibilities. Focusing on Psalm 139, I draw on my personal experience of prayer as a Catholic woman theologian, as well as on Christian and rabbinic biblical studies, psychoanalysis and gender theory. My intention is to suggest ways in which scholarship and prayer together enable ancient texts to speak anew to those whose faith means wrestling with God amidst the tumultuous babel of postmodernity with its competing and conflicting narratives of identity, believing and belonging. The psalms were written over a time span of several centuries about 3,000 years ago, but they continue to speak to the human condition as few other writings do. Scholars disagree about their origins and authors, but my concern is to read Psalm 139 as part of a living tradition which includes both Jewish and Christian influences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe T & T Clark Companion to Christian Prayer
EditorsAshley Cocksworth, John C. McDowell
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherT&T Clark / Bloomsbury
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Mar 2020

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