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«He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes and does not return» (Ps 78, 39)

The Theme of Memory and Forgetting in the Third Book of the Psalter (Pss 73-89)


Marco Pavan

Aimed at identifying the function of the aspects of remembering and forgetting in the Psalter, this opus seeks to offer a lexicographical synthesis of zkr and škḥ in the Psalter and an analysis of their function in Book III (Pss 73-89) and in Ps 78, text in which the notions of remembering and forgetting occupy a relevant role. By doing so, the detailed focus on a particular portion of the Book of Psalms makes it possible to highlight the importance of the theme of memory and that of forgetting in the whole Psalter, both from the point of view of the composition of its global message, and from the point of view of a focused re-reading of the traditions that have to do with the origins of Israel. For its readers the Psalter turns out to be a book about remembrance and for remembrance.
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← 8 | 9 → Acknowlegements


The present work is a reproduction, with only a few marginal revisions, of the original dissertation in Italian which was submitted towards obtaining the doctorate in Biblical Studies and defended on 30 January 2014 before the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

The thesis was supervised by Prof. Gianni Barbiero SDB, to whom my first and heartfelt thanks are due. Under his guidance, I have been able to explore in depth the vast and rich world of the Psalms and to participate in the complex work of interpretation which these texts require. I can say with gratitude that Prof. Barbiero knew how to create in every way the conditions in which this long and laborious course of research was able to take place as happily as possible, thus demonstrating a dedication – one recognised, moreover, by all his students – which will always remain in my memory. His expert advice and scholarship joined with his sensitivity and care conferred on his guidance a paternal character for which I am profoundly grateful.

I must acknowledge also the help of Prof. Jean-Pierre Sonnet SJ, the second reader. In particular, he is to be thanked for having wished to share and accompany this course of research with his teaching and his advice; for having communicated his stimulating observations; and for the gift of insights able to open up new horizons and points of view both on the object of study and on the methodology to be employed. For me these observations, constitute...

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