Home > Early Christianity, History, Late Judaism > Psalms of Solomon: A Critical Edition of the Greek Text (Texts and Studies in Late Judaism and Early Christianity)

Psalms of Solomon: A Critical Edition of the Greek Text (Texts and Studies in Late Judaism and Early Christianity)

T. & T. Clark Publishers | ISBN: 0567026434 | edition:2007 |224 Pages

The Psalms of Solomon“, the most important early psalm book outside the canonical psalter, reflects the turmoil of events in the last pre-Christian century and gives an apparently eyewitness account of the first invasions of the Romans into Jerusalem. “The Psalm of Solomon” provides the most detailed expectation of the Jewish Messiah before the New Testament. Wright’s critical edition is the first complete critical edition of the Greek texts of the “Psalms of Solomon“.

This is the new standard text for the Psalms of Solomon. It contains an extensive introduction (53pp) followed by a presentation of the Greek text and English translation. Some translational notes and a few cross-references are in footnotes. A critical apparatus alerts readers to variant readings in both Greek and Syriac traditions. There is also a 15 page bibliography. Note, however, that this is by no means a commentary or theological/ thematic treatment of the book. Rather, it is “A Critical Edition of the Greek Text.”

Daniel M. Gurtner (St Paul, MN) to the library of ancient books called the TANAKH, or Old Testament, three documents are attributed to Solomon: The Song of Solomon, Proverbs of Solomon, and Ecclesiasles. to the Old Testament Apocrypha another work was known as the work of David’s son: The Wisdom of Solomon, to the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha three additional compositions were attributed to the wisest man in biblical history: the Testament of Solomon, the Odes of Solomon, and the Psalms of Solomon. Most experts claim these seven poetic or wisdom books were attributed to Solomon, as an honor and because ofthe claim in 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon composed 3000 proverbs and 1005 songs, fa 240 CE Origen of Alexandria, however, reported that “the Chiu^ches of God” know nothing about these thousands of Solomonic songs (Cant. Cant. Prologus 36). to 1626 John Louis de la Cerda published the edition princeps of the Psalms of Solomon, fa 1895 O. von Gebhardt drew attention to eight Greek manuscripts of the Psalms of Solomon, fa 1913, the translation by G B. Gray to R. H. Charles’ classical work. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, was based on Gebliardt’s publication. These 18 psalms were discovered to Syriac manuscripts beginnmg to 1909. Now, almost one himdred years later, most scholars conclude that the Psalms of Solomon is a hymnbook composed m Hebrew, to Jerusalem, and sometime shortly before the reign of Herod the Great (40-4 BCE).

The Psalms of Solomon is thus a singularly important document, fa contrast to many apocryphal compositions, we know its date and provenience – and it was a major composition known to many Jews living in Jerusalem to the century before the burning ofthe Temple by Titus in 70 CE.

I am impressed with Uirec aspects of this hymnbook: First, It contains an eyewitness account of the Roman incursion into Jentsaiem and the demise of the Roman General Pompey who brought Roman rule over Palestine:

Second, the work contains a reference to the Jewish belief to resurrection and just before the time of Jesus of Nazareth: ‘This is the fate of sinners forever; but those who fear the Lord shall rise up to eternal life, and their life shall be to the LORD’S light and it shall never end” [PsSol 3.12]

Third, the composition contains perhaps the locus classicus for belief to a Davidic Messiah and it antedates by a few decades the Palestinian Jesus Movement: “Look, O Lord, and raise up for them their ktog, a son of David, to rule over your servant Israel in the time Uiat you know, O God. He will be a righteous ktog over them, taught by God, there will be no unrighteousness among them in his reign, because everyone will be holy, and their king will be the Lord Messiah” [PsSol 17.21.32]

Why is it important to draw attention to the Psalms of Solomon now? It is because a magnificent research tool for studying a hymnbook ftova just before the time of Jesus, and Jerusalem, now enriches the world of scholarehip. Professor Robert B. Wright of Temple University, who contributed the introduction and translation of the Psalms of Solomon to The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, has completed this, the first full critical edition of this hymnbook. He has also made available in highresolution images, the twelve Greek and four Syriac manuscripts of the Psalms of Solomon. Together the CDs contain approximately 350 color photographs of the manuscripts. Most of these manuscripts are now photographed in color for the first time. Wright’s archive is probably the only collection of ancient manuscripts that are available in high-resolution color images (some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are also now available with this quality). In addition, Wright supplies about 150 supporting photographs, including the full text of de la Cerda’s 1626 edition of this pseudepigraphon (the first published edition. In Greek and a Latin translation), the text of Frantz Delitzsch’s ui^)ublished “Ruckubersetzung der Psaumes Salomon ins Hebraische,” (from the library of the University of Leipzig, ca. 1860 [“Re-translation of the Psalms of Solomon into Hebrew”]), and the index page of Codex Alexandrinus, showing the entry of the Psalms of Solomon.

Professor Wright, the photographer of the Harvard University/Hebrew Union College archaeological excavations at Tell Gezer, took many of these photographs. Others were supplied by libraries or monasteries. Among the most important locations for the manuscripts themselves are the following: the British Library (London), the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), the Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit (Leiden), the State Historical Musexmi (Moscow), the Osterreichische National Bibliothek (Menna), the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican), the Benaki Museum (Athens), and the Iveron Monastery (Mount Athos).

Thanks to the focused research of Professor Wright, specialists on the literature of Second Temple Judaism will be able to possess not only a critical edition but also all color photographs of this valuable pseudepigraphon called the Psalms of Solomon. Those not gifted in ancient Greek will be able to read and study a reliable English translation of a hymnbook used by Jews, in Jerusalem, during the time of Hillel and Jesus. A copy of the CD, for research and teaching purposes, may be obtained from Professor Wright without charge, save for a modest shipping/handling fee. See notice at the end of this book.


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