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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Conceptualizing Distress in the Psalms: A Form-Critical and Cognitive Semantic Study of the Sarar Word Group
Rasmussen, Michael D.

Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2018 pp. xviii + 294. $95.00

Series Information
Gorgias Biblical Studies, 66


Description: Psalms containing lexemes derived from the Hebrew root (to bind, be in distress) reveal a previously-unnoticed generic subgroup in the Psalter. Through structural and cognitive linguistic principles, Rasmussen explores issues related to genre, Hebrew grammar, and syntax in order to arrive at a set of three cognitive domains of powerlessness, palpable threat, and entreaty which are relatively unique to psalms that include lexemes. Rasmussen also makes suggestions about the editorial process of the Hebrew Psalter, concluding that after the Babylonian exile, distress was more strongly associated with divine discipline and displeasure, whereas before the exile it was more associated with declarations of innocence.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Writings, Literature, Methods, Linguistics, Historical Approaches, History, Form, Tradition and Redaction Criticism, Social-Scientific Approaches, Psychology, Psalms

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Review by Marilyn E. Burton
Published 10/31/2019
Citation: Marilyn E. Burton, review of Michael D. Rasmussen, Conceptualizing Distress in the Psalms: A Form-Critical and Cognitive Semantic Study of the Sarar Word Group, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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