Raised Eyes and Humble Hearts:


Psalm 123
Psalm 131
body as space
body in space
spatial orientation
mobile spatial field
whole body experience
Psalter Book V
Songs of Ascents
Persian Period

How to Cite

Prinsloo, G. T. (2023). Raised Eyes and Humble Hearts: : The Body as/in Space in Pss 123 and 131. Old Testament Essays, 36(1), 166–188. Retrieved from https://ote-journal.otwsa-otssa.org.za/index.php/journal/article/view/565


As a mobile spatial field, the human body is a space and functions in space. The body governs spatial orientation and perceptions of direction, location and distance and determines human experiences and representations of space on the continuum between positive and negative and/or sacred and profane space. In the Psalter, space is represented and experienced through the eyes of a “lyrical I” whose body is located off-centre, in chaos and despair, or at-centre, in harmony and peace. Supplication and praise, ritual and prayer are all expressions of the lyrical I’s desire to be located at-centre, in the presence of the deity, in sacred space. Sacred space is not an ontological location, but a subjective, bodily experience of being in the presence of the divine. An analysis of the whole-body experience of the lyrical I in Pss 123 and 131 illustrates the poet’s longing for (Ps 123) and experience of being at-centre (Ps 131), in divine presence, i.e., in sacred space.




Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
  3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).