2. Transitions & Transformations
33 2. Transitions & Transformations In this chapter we will try to track the worshipper’s experience accord- ing to three types of changes in his condition. One is transformation: by virtue of his unshakable belief, he is already experiencing the desired state as if it has actually been achieved. In the second, he moves from a state of doubt – or even, perhaps, a crisis in faith – to recovery, where he is sure of triumph. The third type encompasses various types of transitions from despair to hope. In some psalms the expressions of hope are so earnest, that the tone of desperation gives way to one of praise and thanksgiving – but even then, in the great majority of instances, it transpires that the speaker’s true state is one of distress. In all these psalms there are certain recurring elements that adhere to the strict rules of this literary form. Nonetheless, in every psalm there is also a point where the poet breaks free from rigid protocol and conventional turns of phrases, to express a unique and one-off experience. 2.1 The transformation experience: from the actual to the desired (per Ps. 23) In this context, when we speak of religious experience, we do not mean a prolonged state, but a sensation, or range of feelings that remove the individual out of his daily routine and familiar surroundings, as well as from his usual appreciation and attitude toward that reality. It is impos- sible to know what changes are actually wrought upon the speaker...
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