A psalm a day helps you work, rest, and pray

Psalm 51: Psalm of Psalms

Readers of the Psalms have their favourites. There are, however, a small number of psalms that have had much greater popularity and significance over the centuries. Today, Psalm 23 is arguably the Psalm of Psalms, at least in Western Christianity. This has not always been the case. For much of Church history it was eclipsed by others. For something like 1,000 years, Psalm 51 was the Psalm of Psalms. Susan Gillingham designates it thus in her Reception History Commentary. It stands as the middle psalm in the sequence of seven Penitential Psalms, see Whiting (2022). It also provided the lens through which the other six were understood and they collectively resonated with Medieval spirituality.

The posts below each celebrate Psalm 51, and they are the basis for an ongoing project which I hope to have more news on soon.

A is for Allegri

B is for Bones

C is for Contrition and Compunction

D is for Dante

E is for Eleanor Hull

F is for Fisher

G is for Gillingham

H is for Hallelujah

I is for Iniquity

J is for John Donne

K is for King David

L is for Luther

M is for Miserere

N is for Nathan

O is for Original Sin

P is for Penance and Penitence

Q is for the Quality of Mercy

R is for Reclassifying

S is for Sixties

T is for Tears

U is for Undervalued

V is for Victorian Opinion

W is for Wrath

X is for X-rated

Y is for Yerushalayim

Z is for Zeitgeist

And finally you can see me discussing Psalm 51’s generative nature with Roger Wagner and Malcolm Guite in Conversations on the Psalms.

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About Me

This blog’s central aim is to explore all aspects of how the Psalter (the biblical psalms) functions as Scripture today.

To this end it will also include book reviews on the Book of Psalms and related topics.

Some posts will reflect more broadly on biblical interpretation or hermeneutics.

If you like what you see here and want to arrange for me to give a lecture, run a teaching event or a short retreat based around The Psalms then contact me so we can discuss how this might work.

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