Original Research

The iconic significance of the Psalms as a literary genre for speaking about God: A phenomenological perspective

Daniël P. Veldsman
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 67, No 3 | a960 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v67i3.960 | © 2011 Daniël P. Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2010 | Published: 28 October 2011

About the author(s)

Daniël P. Veldsman, University of Pretoria, South Africa


To explore the impossible impossibility of speaking about God and to address, on the one hand, the unacceptable modernistic rational robe of totalisation and the return of the subject in postmodern contexts, on the other, this article pursued the phenomenological approach of Jean-Luc Marion’s hermeneutic of the icon. His approach is connected in a creative manner to the literary ‘eyes’ of the Psalter, focusing on the distinction of idol–icon by Marion in his understanding of the gaze of the worshipper and the subsequent conceptualisation of the infinite God in finite human terms. It was finally argued that the literary genre of the Psalter, viewed from a hermeneutic of the icon, presents not only an exciting perspective on the threshold of the ‘[im-]possible’ for speaking about God, but also on the return of the subject in the broadened horizon of the ‘unsayable’ and ‘unrepresentable’.


Hermeneutic of the icon; phenomenological perspective; Psalms


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