Thursday, June 8, 2017

Authorship of the Psalms

Decrees of the Pontifical Biblical Commission

May 1, 1910 (AAS II [1910] 354f; EB 340ff; Dz 2129ff)

I: Have the titles Psalms of David, Hymns of David, Book of the Psalms of David, Davidic Psalter, employed in ancient collections and in the Councils themselves to designate the book of 150 psalms of the Old Testament; and also the opinion of a number of Fathers and Doctors, who held that all the psalms of the Psalter without exception were to be ascribed to David alone, such weight that David should be held to be the only author of the whole Psalter?

Answer: In the negative.

II: Does the agreement of the Hebrew text with the Greek Alexandrine text and other ancient versions give ground for a valid argument that the titles of the psalms prefixed to the Hebrew text are more ancient than the Septuagint version ; and consequently, if not from the very authors of the psalms, at least derive from an ancient Jewish tradition?

Answer: In the affirmative.

III: Can the aforesaid titles of the psalms, witnesses of Jewish tradition, be prudently called in doubt when there is no serious reason against their being genuine?

Answer: In the negative.

IV: In view of the not infrequent testimonies of sacred Scripture to the natural talent, helped by a special gift of the Holy Ghost, which David had for the composition of religious songs, of his arrangements for the liturgical chant of the psalms, of the attribution of psalms to him both in the Old Testament and in the New as well as in the superscriptions prefixed of old to the psalms; in view, moreover, of the agreement of the Jews, of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, can it be prudently denied that David was the principal author of the songs of the Psalter, or on the contrary, affirmed that only a few songs are to be assigned to the royal psalmist?

Answer: In the negative to both parts.

V: In particular is it right to deny the Davidic origin of those psalms which are explicitly cited under David's name in the Old or New Testament, among which are to be mentioned more especially psalm 2 Quare fremuerunt gentes; psalm 15 Conserva me, Domine; psalm 17 Diligam te, Domine, fortitudo mea; psalm 31 Beati quorum remissae sunt iniquitates; psalm 68 Salvum me fac, Deus; psalm 509 Dixit Dominus Domino meo?

Answer: In the negative.

VI: May the opinion of those be admitted who hold that among the psalms of the Psalter there are some, either of David's or of other authors, which on account of liturgical and musical reasons, the negligence of scribes, or other causes unknown have been divided into several or united into one; also that there are other psalms, like the Miserere mei, Deus, which for the purpose of being better adapted to historical circumstances or solemnities of the Jewish people, were subjected to some slight rehandling or modification by the omission or addition of one or two verses, without prejudice however to the inspiration of the whole sacred text?

Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

VII: Is it possible to maintain as probable the opinion of those more recent writers who, relying on purely internal indications or an incorrect interpretation of the sacred text, have attempted to show that not a few psalms were composed after the times of Esdras and Nehemias and even in the Maccabean age?

Answer: In the negative.

VIII: On the authority of the manifold witness of the sacred books of the New Testament and the unanimous agreement of the Fathers in harmony with the acknowledgement of Jewish writers, is it necessary to admit a number of prophetic and Messianic psalms, which foretold the future Saviour's coming, kingdom, priesthood, passion, death, and resurrection; and consequently is it necessary to reject altogether the opinion of those who pervert the prophetic and Messianic character of the psalms and limit these oracles about Christ merely to the foretelling of the future lot of the chosen people?

Answer: In the affirmative to both parts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome To

SCRIPTURAL CATHOLICISM (pardon the redundancy) My name is Steven Kellmeyer . My purpose is to provide an easily-referenced index to the ...