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Mowinckel Problem

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The Sigmund Mowinckel Problem

Mowinckel is a Scandinavian scholar who wrote a very influential commentary on Psalms that posed some serious problems. Mowinckel made references to the Akitu Festival which he called 'the Enthronement Festival.' Mowinckel states, "what was done in Babylon was done in Israel." [Unit 5, BE109, Transcript, 25] For example, Psalm 99 says, "The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble." "He says that this Psalm would be read at an annual festival when the king was in Jerusalem, whoever that king might be, a descendant of David, would walk around the city in ordinary clothing and then would come to the great temple of God and the priest would give him royal robes. The priest would give him a crown and they'd say magical words and he would rule again. And then they were saying, 'May God in Heaven rule again for another year.' So, they're presuming that what was done in Babylon was done in Israel." [Unit 5, BE 109, Transcript, 25-26]

1. Nowhere in Leviticus or any other Bible book do we read about an Enthronement festival.
2. This is an example where Biblical scholars have brought something from Babylonian studies into the Bible.
3. This is not exegesis [reading out the message of the text]. This is eisegesis [a reader imposes his or her interpretation onto the text].

[ Unit 5, BE 109, Transcript, 25-26]


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