The Invocation of Christ in Eastern Monastic Psalmody c. 350-450
Chapter Ten: The Invocation of Christ as Deliverer
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The Invocation of Christ as Deliverer
We now turn our attention to what Andrew Louth in his article has described as the second of the ‘two predominant Christian ways of understanding the psalms’, whereby the recitation of the psalm-verses is to be understood as an activity involving praying TO Christ for divine assistance. Thus our focus shifts from the invocation of Christ as partner to the invocation of Christ as deliverer.
In his opening comment on Psalm 79.2–4 Didymus the Blind boldly declares, ‘The shepherd of Israel is none other than he who said, “I am the good shepherd”’.1 It follows that, for Didymus, the psalm is addressed to the person of Christ, and, furthermore, that the short invocatory prayer, ‘Stir up your sovereign power and come in order to save us’,2 is a prayer whereby the psalmist directly calls upon Christ for the salvation of his people.
The purpose of this chapter is to explore the extent to which and the manner in which the exegetes understood such short invocatory prayers, which occur in the Septuagint Psalter, as either direct appeals to the Saviour for deliverance, or as pleas made to God the Father for aid through the intervention of his Son. The short invocatory prayers in question include such personal phrases as those listed in the previous chapter, as well as some more corporate usages, such as οἰκτειρήσαί ἡμᾶς, and ἐλθὲ εἰς τὸ σωσαι ἡμᾶς.
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