“The Pious Prayer of an Imperfect Prophet: The Psalm of Jonah in Its Narrative Context” by IAN J. VAILLANCOURT
ABSTRACT: The question of whether the psalm of Jonah 2 is integrative or disruptive in its narrative context greatly effects one’s interpretation of the book of Jonah as a whole. While the older historical-critical scholars have almost universally concluded that the psalm of Jonah was a disruptive addition to an otherwise coherent narrative, more recent canonical interpreters have tended to argue for its integrative nature. Utilizing the canonical method of interpretation, this article freshly evaluates the issues and argues for the integrative nature of the psalm of Jonah in its narrative context by exploring: 1) comparative vocabulary between psalm and narrative in Jonah; 2) the phenomenon of Hebrew poetry inserted into narrative; 3) the psalm’s contribution to the theme of irony in Jonah; 4) the psalm of Jonah in the broader context of the Book of the Twelve; and 5) a rethinking of the problem of Jonah’s conflicted character between psalm and narrative.
KEYWORDS: Jonah, Canonical, Characterization, Integrative, Narrative, Psalm