Journal Article

ASCENT TO DARKER HILLS: PSALM 121 AND ITS POETIC REVISION

Karl A. Plank

in Literature and Theology

Volume 11, issue 2, pages 152-167
Published in print June 1997 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 1997 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/11.2.152
ASCENT TO DARKER HILLS: PSALM 121 AND ITS POETIC REVISION

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‘Ascent to Darker Hills’ offers an intertextual reading of Psalm 121. By reading the psalm in tandem with a rabbinic midrash and with D.H. Lawrence's short poem, ‘The Hills’, this paper shows (a) how the intertextual revision makes manifest a gap in the psalm as it moves from question to affirmation and (b) how awareness of such a gap leads one to reconsider the psalm's symbolism of the hills to which the psalmist has lifted his eyes. Against the near-consensus interpretation of the psalm among biblical scholars, the intertextual reading underscores the genuineness of the psalm's question and darkens the psalm's hills with a perception of danger.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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