Monday, April 04, 2016

One Suggestion for the Magnificat (Luke 1:46): Biblical Poetry

The "Magnificat" is evidently styled along the lines of 1 Samuel (chapter 2), which contains the prayer of Hannah. So it is no surprise that it would be linked with LXX-style poetry. Craig A. Evans observes in one commentary:

"The Magnificat reads more like a warrior's song of
victory than that of a young maiden praising God for
the gift of a child. Accordingly, it has been
suggested that underlying the Magnificat is an early
Christian hymn praising God for vindicating Jesus
through his resurrection. This is possible, but again
it is quite speculative, for there is no mention of
Jesus or the resurrection. More probably the
Magnificat represents an early Christian hymn, thought
to derive from Mary, that has been enriched by
components reflecting Israel's psalms of military
celebration. Consider the following scriptural

My soul glorifies [or magnifies] the Lord: 1 Sam. 2:1;
Ps. 69:30; 34:3; 35:9; Sir 43:31" (Luke, p. 29)."

Reflecting on the Greek notion of "poet-craft," R.G. Collingwood explains ποιητική τέχνη in this way:

"The poet is a kind of skilled producer; he produces
for consumers; and the effect of his skill is to bring
about in them certain states of mind, which are
conceived in advance as desirable states" (The
Principles of Art
, p. 18).

While not everything that Collingwood says is applicable to biblical poetry, one can't help but notice the powerful effect that scriptural poetry has on its readers.


Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

Thanks for the links, Duncan. I mentioned Collingwood in the blog entry. See this link for his work: