All Things Under His Feet
Psalm 8 in the New Testament
and in other Jewish Literature of Late Antiquity
Dissertation written by Mark S. Kinzer
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Near Eastern Studies)
from the University of Michigan
Copyright 1995, All Rights Reserved
Psalm 8 is a prominent Christological text in the New Testament. It is often combined with Psalm 110:1, and is seen as referring to the victory and dominion of the Messiah over the angelic powers. This use is puzzling, for the Psalm seems to be speaking about human beings in general and their authority over the animals.
How did this Psalm first come to be seen by the followers of Jesus as a messianic text? It is the contention of my dissertation that Psalm 8 was already understood in many first-century circles to speak of an individual (e.g., Adam, Enoch, Moses) and his exaltation above the angels. The New Testament appropriation of the Psalm was thus based on a pre-existing exegetical tradition. Jesus is presented as a new Adam, who is greater than Enoch or Moses.