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… Continue reading
Psalm Structures Old and New Part 1
Part one of his three-part exploration reflects on the challenge of discerning structure within the Psalter. It then explores the spiritual significance of two very different structures that have been found within the Psalms. For much of Church history various scholars, lay people, clergy, religious, and theologians have been obsessed with the structure of Psalter… Continue reading
Psalm 32: The Second Penitential Psalm Today
This is the second of seven posts that aim to show how the Penitential Psalms—Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143—have been read by interpreters such as Augustine, Cassiodorus, Luther and Calvin. One reason for doing this is the conviction that we can learn from past interpretations as we compare them with modern… Continue reading
Psalm 6: The First Penitential Psalm Today
This post will provide some examples of penitential commentary on Psalm 6 from the likes of Augustine, Cassiodorus, Denis the Carthusian, Luther and Calvin. In this way it introduces the reader to ancient readings and a facet of psalm interpretation which is unpopular today but was once immensely generative in doctrine, personal piety, Lenten practice,… Continue reading
X is for X-rated
Throughout this acrostic series we have celebrated how Psalm 51 has inspired great music (A is for Allegri), challenging sermons (J is for John Donne), uplifting commentary (E is for Eleanor Hull) and theological reflection (L is for Luther). Not everything that Psalm 51 has inspired has been so lofty and in tune with the… Continue reading
R is for Reclassifying
This series of posts is a celebration of Psalm 51. We have suggested that it was the Psalm of Psalms in the medieval period. This implies that somehow it lost its crown. This is indeed the case. So how was Psalm 51 eclipsed by other psalms after having a one millennia hegemony? We will consider… Continue reading
O is for Original Sin
The theological idea of original sin is a nuanced one. Saint Augustine is generally viewed as the theologian who firmly established it as a doctrine in the face of challenges to the idea from Pelagius. This is not the place to rehearse this controversy. Our interest here is with Psalm 51 and how it appears… Continue reading
N is for Nathan
Nathan gets the briefest of mentions in the heading of Psalm 51: To the leader. A Psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Nathan was a prophet. Like the best of prophets, he was required to speak truth to power. The Book of 2 Samuel… Continue reading
H is for Hallelujah
Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah has a life of its own Western culture. I have lost count of the covers I have heard, and the number of films it has been used in. It is a riff on Psalm 51, the ultimate evolution from Allegri who we met in the first of these posts. It opens with… Continue reading
G is for Gillingham
Susan Gillingham is one of the best Psalm scholars of our day. She is Fellow and Tutor in theology at Worcester College, Oxford. She became Professor of the Hebrew Bible in 2014. Her work on the Psalms is wide ranging and multi-faceted. This makes her work especially valuable as much scholarship on the Psalms, throughout… Continue reading
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.