Sigmund Mowinckel

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Sigmund Olaf Plytt Mowinckel
Born (1884-08-04)4 August 1884
Died 4 June 1965(1965-06-04) (aged 80)
Education University of Oslo
Title Reverend Doctor

Sigmund Olaf Plytt Mowinckel (4 August 1884 – 4 June 1965) was a Norwegian professor, theologian and biblical scholar. He was noted for his research into the practice of religious worship in ancient Israel.[1]


Sigmund Mowinckel was educated at the University of Oslo (1908; ThD 1916) and from 1917 onward he was a lecturer there. He retired in 1954.[2]

From the 1920s, Mowinckel headed a school of thought concerning the Book of Psalms which sometimes clashed with the Form criticism conclusions of Hermann Gunkel and those who followed in Gunkel's footsteps. In broad terms, Gunkel strongly advocated a view of the Psalms which focused on the two notable names for God occurring therein: Yahweh (JHWH sometimes called tetragrammaton) and Elohim. The schools of Psalm writing springing therefrom were termed Yahwist and Elohist. Mowinckel's approach to the Psalms differed quite a bit from Gunkel's. Mowinckel explained the Psalms as wholly cultic, both in origin and in intention. He attempted to relate more than 40 psalms to a hypothetical New Year autumn festival.[3] [4]

In addition to his work on Psalms, his major monograph on the Old Testament roots of Messianism is of significance in scholarship until this day.[5]

Published works (early editions)[edit]

  • Statholderen Nehemia (Kristiania: a. 1916)
  • Esra den skriftlærde (Kristiania: a. 1916)
  • Kongesalmerne i det Gamle Testamentet (Kristiania: (1916)
  • Der Knächt Jahves (1921)
  • Psalmenstudien I: 'Awan und die individuellen Klagepsalmen (Kristiania: SNVAO* 1921)
  • Psalmenstudien II: Das Thronbesteigungsfest Jahwas und der Ursprung der Eschatologie (Kristiania: SNVAO* 1922)
  • Psalmenstudien III: Kultprophetie und kultprophetische Psalmen (Kristiania: SNVAO*, 1923)
  • Psalmenstudien IV: Die technischen Termini in den Psalmenuberschriften (Kristiania: SNVAO*, 1923)
  • Psalmenstudien V: Segen und Fluch in Israels Kult und Psalmdichtung (Kristiania: SNVAO*, 1924)
  • Psalmenstudien VI: Die Psalmdichter (Kristiania: SNVAO*, 1924)
  • Diktet om Ijob og hans tre venner (Kristiania: 1924)
  • Profeten Jesaja (Oslo: 1925)
  • Jesaja: Profetien fra Jesaja til Jeremia (Oslo: 1926)
  • Motiver og stilformer i profeten Jeremias diktning (1926)
  • Le Decalogue (Paris: 1927)
  • Det Gamle Testament som Guds Ord (Oslo: 1938)
  • Gamla testamental som Guds ord (Stockholm: 1938)
  • Die Erkentis Gottes bei den alttestamentlichen Propheten [translation: "The recognizable God in/within the Old Testament prophets" or perhaps "The recognition of God beside/by the Old Testament prophets"] Supplementary volume to Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1941).
  • Prophecy and Tradition (1946)
  • Han som kommer : Messiasforventningen i Det gamle testament og på Jesu tid (1951)(translated He That Cometh: The Messiah Concept in the Old Testament and Later Judaism, trans. G. W. Anderson [Oxford: B.Blackwell, 1956]
  • Offersang og sangoffer : salmediktningen i Bibelen [translated: "Song of sacrifice and Sacrifice of song" or "Offering song and Song offering": "Psalm Poetry in the Bible"] (Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co, 1951).
  • Der achtundsechsigste Psalm [ANVAO**, II, 1953, I] (Oslo: 1953)
  • Religion och Kultus (1953).
  • Real and Apparent Tricola in Hebrew Psalm Poetry [ANVAO**, II, 1957] (Oslo: 1958)
  • The Spirit and the Word: Prophecy and Tradition in Ancient Israel. Edited by K. C. Hanson. Fortress Classics in Biblical Studies (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002)

NOTE [*]: SNVAO signifies the Norwegian publisher/publications Skrifter utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo, II. Hist.-Filos. Klasse

NOTE [**] ANVAO signifies the Norwegian publisher/publications Avhandliger utgitt av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo. II. Hist. Filos. Klasse.

Articles by Mowinckel[edit]

  • 'Om den jodiske menighets og provinsen Judeas organisasjon ca. 400 f. Kr.', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Kristiania: 1915), pp. 123ff., 226ff.
  • 'Tronstigningssalmerne og Jahves tronstigningsfest', Norsk teologi til reformationsjubileet, specialhefte [i.e. special issue] to Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Kristiania: 1917), pp. 13ff.
  • 'Die vorderasiatischen Konigs- und Fursteninschriften' [translation: "The Near Eastern Royal and Princely Inscriptions"], Eucharisterion [Studien zur Religion und Literatur d. Alt und Neu Testaments, H. Gunkel zum 60] ["Studies in the Religion and Literature of the Old and New Testaments, H. Gunkel at 60" --- Gunkel's 60th birthday was in 1922] I, pp. 278ff., a book produced by Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur d. Alten und Neuen Testaments (FRLANT) Band (Vol.) 36 (Göttingen: 1923)
  • 'Det kultiske synspunkt som forskningsprinsipp i den gammelstestamentlige videnskap', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Kristiania: 1924), pp. 1ff.
  • 'I porten' Studier tilegnede Frans Buhl (Copenhagen: 1925)
  • 'Drama, religionsgeschichtlisches' [translation: "Drama, history of religion", RGG2 [appeared in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 2.Aufl.] (Tübingen: 1927-32)
  • 'Levi und Leviten' [translation: "Levi and Levites"], RGG2 [appeared in Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 2.Aufl.] (Tübingen: 1927-32)
  • 'Stilformer og motiver i profeten Jeremias dikning', Edda Vol. 36 (1926), pp. 276ff.
  • 'Salmeboken og gudstjenestesalmen', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1927), pp. 153ff.
  • 'Die letzten Worte Davids' [translation: "The last words of David"], in II Samuel 23:1-7, Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 45? (Giessen:1927), pp. 30ff.
  • 'A quelle moment le culte de Jahwe a Jerusalem est il officiellement devenu un culte sans images?' [translation: "At what moment did the cult of Jahweh of Jerusalem officially become a cult without images?"] Revue de l'Histoire et des Philosophies Religieuses Vol. 9 (Strasbourg: 1929), pp. 197ff.
  • The following sections/chapters in Det Gamle Testament, oversatt av S. Michelet, Sigmund Mowinckel og Nils Messel (also known simply as GTMMM) Volumes I - III (Oslo: 1929-following years):-: Sections 2. Mos. 18-34; 4. Mos. 20-25; 32-33; 5. Mosebok; Josvaboken; Samuelsboken; Kongeboken; Jesaja; Jeremia; Tolvprofetboken.
  • Book review of Eduard Konig's Das Buch Hiob in Deutsche Litz, 3. Folge, 1. Jahrg. 12, (1930) columns 529ff. [presumably this review relates to E Konig's Das Buch Hiob eingeleitet, ubersetzt und erklart (Gutersloh: Bertelsmann, 1927 or 1929)]
  • 'Die Komposition des Deuterojesajanischen Buches' [translation: "The Composition of the book of Deutero-Isaiah"], Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 44 (Giessen: 1931)pp. 87ff., 242ff.
  • 'Die Chronologie der israelitischen und judaischen Konige' [translation: "The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah"], Acta Orientalia Vol. 10 (Leiden: 1932) pp. 161ff.
  • 'Fiendene i de individuelle klagesalmer', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1934), pp. 1ff.
  • 'The "Spirit" and the "Word" in the Pre-exilic Reforming Prophets', Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 53 (1934) pp. 199–227.
  • '"Anden" og "Ordet" hos de foreksilske reformprofeter', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1935), pp. 1ff.
  • 'Ekstatisk oplevelse og rasjonal bearbeidelse hos de gammeltestamentlige profeter', [translation: "Ecstatic experience and rational elaboration in Old Testament prophecy"] Theologisk Tidsskrift (known as "[D]TT") (Kobenhavn [Copenhagen]:1935), pp. 1ff.
  • 'Extatic Experience and Rational Elaboration in Old Testament Prophecy', Acta Orientalia Vol. 13 (Leiden: 1935), pp. 264–291.
  • 'Hat es ein israelitisches Nationalepos gegeben?' [translation: "Is there a given Israelite national epic?"], Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 53 (Giessen: 1935) pp. 130ff.
  • 'Zur Geschichte der Dekalogue' [translation: "To a History of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments)"], Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 55 (Giessen: 1937) pp. 218ff.
  • Book Review of Widengren's Accadian and Hebrew Psalms of Lamentation which appeared in Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1940), pp. 155. [G. Widengren's book itself was published at Stockholm, 1937].
  • 'Ras Shamra og det Gamle Testament', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift Vol. xl, (Oslo: 1939), pp. 16ff.
  • 'Oppkomsten av profetlitteraturen', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1942), pp. 65ff.
  • 'Kadesj, Sinai og Jahve', Norwegian Journal of Geography Vol. 9 (1942), pp. 21ff.
  • 'Nathanprofetien i 2. Sam. 7' [translation: "Nathan's prophecy in II Samuel 7"], Svensk exegetisk årsbok (known as SEÅ) (Uppsala: date ?), pp. 220ff.
  • 'Zum Problem der hebraischen Metrik' [translation: "Towards the Problem of the Hebrew Metric"], Bertholetfestschrift (Tübingen: 1950), pp. 379ff. [Bertholetfestschrift = Festschrift Alfred Bertholet zum 80. Geburtstag, herausgeg. von W. Baumgartner, O. Eissfeldt, K. Elliger, L. Rost>> translation: "Festschrift for Alfred Bertholet on his 80th Birthday--editors: W. Baumgartner, Otto Eissfeldt, K. Elliger and L. Rost"].
  • 'Den senjodiske salmediktning', Norsk Teologisk Tidsskrift (Oslo: 1950), pp. 1–54.
  • 'Zur hebraischen Metrik II' [translation: "Towards Hebrew Metric II"], Studia theologica cura ordinum theologorum Scandinavorum edita Vol. VII (1953), pp. 54ff.
  • 'Metrischer Aufbau und Textcritik, an Ps. 8 illustriert' [translation: "Metrical Construction and Textcriticism, illustrated on Psalm 8"], Studia Orientalia Johanno Pedersen Septuagenario...dicata [Studia Orientalia's volume celebrating the 70th birthday of Johannes Pedersen](Havniae [Copenhagen]: 1953), pp. 250ff.
  • 'Der metrische Aufbau von Jes. 62, 1 - 12 und die neuen sog. kurzverse' [translation: "The metrical construction of Isaiah 62: 1 - 12 and the new so-called ? shortverse"], Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 65 (Giessen: 1953), pp. 167ff.
  • 'Zum Psalm des Habakuk' [translation: "Towards the Psalm of Habakkuk"], Theologische Zeitschrift Band (Vol.) 9 (Basel: 1953), pp. 1ff.
  • 'Psalm Criticism between 1900 and 1935 (Ugarit and Psalm Exegesis)', Vetus Testamentum Vol. 5 (Leiden: Brill, 1955) pp. 13ff.
  • 'Marginalien zur hebraischen Metrik', Zeitschrift fur die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft' Band (Vol.) 67 (Giessen: 1956) pp. 97ff.
  • 'Zu Psalm 16, 3 - 4' [translation: "To/towards Psalm 16: 3 - 4"], Theologische Literaturzeitung (1957), columns 649ff.
  • 'Notes on the Psalms', Studia theologica cura ordinum theologorum Scandinavorum edita Vol. XIII (1959), pp. 134ff.
  • 'Drive and/or Ride in the O.T.', Vetus Testamentum Vol. 12 (Leiden: Brill, 1962) pp. 278–299ff.


Other Sources[edit]

  • Dahl, Niels A. (1988) Sigmund Mowinckel historian of religion and theologian (Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament: An International Journal of Nordic Theology Volume 2, Issue 2. pages 8–22)
  • Hjelde, Sigurd (2006) Sigmund Mowinckel Und Seine Zeit: Leben Und Werk Eines Norwegischen Alttestamentlers (Mohr Siebeck Verlag) ISBN 9783161487347
  • Smend, Rudolf (1999) Mowinckel und Deutschland (Studia Theologica, Volume 53, Number 2, 20 December 1999, pp. 79–96(18) Routledge, pp. 79 – 96)

Related Reading[edit]

  • Hayes, John Haralson (1974) Old Testament Form Criticism (Trinity University Press) ISBN 978-0911536447
  • Koch, Klaus (1969). The Growth of the Biblical Tradition: The Form-Critical Method (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons) ISBN 0-684-14524-3