The Psalms are rightfully beloved, but many are unaware of its clear and intentional structure. Or if they are, they have not considered the purpose for its structure. Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford’s Introduction to the Psalms: A Song from Ancient Israel, “seeks to provide the reader with a solid introduction to the Hebrew Psalter, one that is informed by an interest in its shape and shaping” (vii). There are many introductions to the Psalms, but a unique feature to this is that it reads the Psalter as a unified, interconnected work.
“Quiet times”. For some, the term may be fluffy and unintelligible Christianeze. Or perhaps it provokes a pang of guilt for a neglected New Year resolution. For others, though, quiet time is a helpful and even crucial part of their day. For myself, neither regular study nor teaching can substitute my need for open-hearted prayer and Bible reading. Resources like Bible reading plans or the infamous “devotional” can provide helpful guidance or freshness. However, devotionals are often less interested in leading the reader to the rich springs of Scripture and more with jolting them with a sugary soda rush with which to start the day. What if a devotional were concerned with increasing Biblical literacy? Psalms by the Day: A New Devotional Translation by seasoned scholar Alec Motyer fills this very gap. This is a “devotional translation” that draws from Motyer’s fruitful career of scholarship in service of the church.
David Mitchell is a unique fellow. He is a Biblical scholar, expert in the Psalms, and an archaeo-musicologist. His important work on the Psalms, The Message of the Psalter, gave a fascinating defense of an eschatological focus to the Psalms, and is referenced in virtually every major work on the Psalter. Mitchell also recently released a stimulating work devoted to the Songs of Ascent (my review). His newest work is sure to be just as fascinating, as it is devoted to a little-known topic: the Messiah ben Joseph.
Are you a shuffle person or an album person? Do you prefer “greatest hits” or the “album experience?” Do you prefer Beatles’ #1 or Sgt Pepper?
I’m a bit late to the game on this one, but I just finished reading Stephen Demspster’s JETS article “Canons on the Right and Canons on the Left: Finding a Resolution in the Canon Debate” (PDF) and it was a fascinating argument for an early established Old Testament canon (before Jesus’ time), and also gave some theological bases for the Hebrew OT order. For readers of Dominion and Dynasty (my review), some of this is familiar territory – though he does go in more depth here. However, I would like to share some interesting parallels Dempster drew between Psalms 1 and 2 serving as a dual-opening to the Writings collection.