The nature and function of Psalm 82 has long been a subject of debate within biblical scholarship. The text is rather brief and has no real significant textual instabilities, but it stands out within the Hebrew Bible as a text particularly steeped in mythological imagery. Precritical exegetes understood the gods of the narrative to be human judges, but subsequent textual discoveries and concomitant lexicographical advances, combined with more critical methodologies, have largely undermined that reading. A divine assembly setting has become widely accepted since the middle of the twentieth century, and more contemporary scholarship focuses on the psalm’s possible distinction between YHWH and El, its literary form, and its historical contextualization. Continue reading
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