Open Access

Paul’s Use Of The Psalms. Beyond Midrash


The Psalms are the most cited portions of Scripture in the New Testament. This paper investigates Paul’s use of the Psalms and seeks to answer the concern that his citation strategy is both arbitrary and self-serving. Inasmuch as it has sometimes been concluded that Paul, in midrashic fashion, forced his citations to say something contrary to a more natural reading. This paper suggests that Paul uses citation criteria very carefully. Preliminary results point to the use of texts that lie well within their natural reading, yet exegeted in such a way that the resulting exegesis is folded back into the text as the apostle cites it. Thus rather than citing texts arbitrarily, Paul uses great skill and sophistication in selecting and utilising texts with exegetical precision. In so doing, Paul is not using midrash but may actually be developing a characteristically Christian approach to the citation of sacred text

Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception