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Mowinckel, Sigmund


Old Testament scholar; b. Lutheran manse of Kjerringöy, Norway, Aug. 4, 1884; d. Oslo, June 4, 1965. In 1917 he began his academic career at the University of Oslo, where he had matriculated the previous year. He was ordained in 1940. His most important works are Psalmenstudien 16 (192124) and The Psalms in Israel's Worship 12 (1951, tr. 1962). While following in the footsteps of his former teacher at Giessen, H. Gunkel, he went beyond him and established the cultic character of nearly all Psalms. He associated many Psalms with the autumn harvest festival of the New Year, in which Yahweh was ritually enthroned. Other insights of his are the role of the king (the communal "I" in the Psalms), and the eventual democratization of the Psalms, whereby they became a vehicle of prayer for the average worshiper. Also important is He That Cometh (1951, tr. 1956), a basic study of Old Testament messianism and eschatology (the latter would have risen out of the disappointment of the exile).

His expertise ranged throughout the Old Testamen Tetrateuch-Pentateuch-Hexateuch (1964), La religion et la culte (1957), Prophecy and Tradition (1946), and Le décalogue (1927). He combined intellectual brilliance with a warm faith in The Old Testament as the Word of God (1938, tr. 1959).

Bibliography: d. r. ap-thomas, "An Appreciation of Sigmund Mowinckel's Contribution to Biblical Studies," Journal of Biblical Literature 75 (1966) 315335. a. s. kapelrud, "Sigmund Mowinckel and Old Testament Study," Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute 5 (1967) 429. d. kvale and d. rian, eds., Sigmund Mowinckel's Life and Works: A Bibliography (Oslo 1984).

[r. e. murphy]

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