Biblical Studies Division


Old Testament


Carl J. Bosma

Reader 1

Michael J. Williams

Reader 1

Arie C. Leder


Mariano Avila

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Psalter, Canonical approach, Psalm, Prayer, God


Canonical readings of the biblical psalms have become increasingly popular of late and represent a positive trend away from fragmentation of the Psalter into its "original" and component parts and towards greater recognition of the value of the Psalter's final form and its theology. However, the methods and parameters of a canonical approach to the psalms require further definition. An exegetical methodology incorporating a wide variety of methodological tools alongside a canonical approach was thus proposed and subsequently tested on Psalm 86. The unique features of Psalm 86—its attribution to David (in a book of the Psalter with no other Davidic psalms), its use of language found in many other psalms, and its Exodus-Sinai background—make it a particularly fitting composition to be read in light of other canonical texts. Application of the proposed holistic methodology to the interpretation of Psalm 86 demonstrates that the psalm aims to instruct the reader about the derivative nature of the power of the servant's prayer and of the servant's royal status. God alone makes the psalmist's prayers effective; God alone is the true King. In light of the interpretive process, some of the pitfalls and strengths of the canonical approach were also evaluated.



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