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
The Psalter as Mirror: Reflecting on a Metaphor
The Psalter is not only full of rich imagery and metaphors, but throughout church history interpreters have used metaphors to try and capture what it is. One of the most valuable of these metaphors is that of a mirror. In modern treatments of the Psalms it is often John Calvin (1509–1564) who is cited for… Continue reading
Psalm 32: As Stubborn as a Mule
Dissecting Butterflies Have you ever sat through someone else’s holiday photographs? It is rarely an edifying experience. Have you ever heard someone waxing lyrical about an event that you never experienced? It is difficult to draw any excitement from someone else’s experience. Something is lost in translation as we hear of experiences second-hand. Even as… Continue reading
Responding to the Psalms: On Poetic Freedom
Poetry is an art and not a science. Rather than existing by virtue of agreed rules, or laws, it has conventions. The art of poetry is to obey and, at times, break these conventions. Over time, these conventions evolve and change. Some fossilise and are admired at a distance or honoured by the homage of… Continue reading
Introduction Perhaps the above title jars? In a way I hope that it does, as when we find something odd or ill-fitting it can be the start of learning something new. Of course, it might just be a fleeting move away from, and the, back towards the status quo of our understanding. This short post… Continue reading
The Seven Penitential Psalms
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the biblical psalms will have wondered at how they might be grouped together. It is a natural desire to organise and describe any collection of things into categories. Even if we ignore this scientific desire, or tendency towards neatness and order, who has not wished for a psalm… Continue reading
A Review of the Two Psalm Volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary Series
Jason Byassee, Psalms 101–150, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2018. Ellen Charry, Psalms 1–50: Sighs and Songs of Israel, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015. Background to the Two Volumes Rather unusually this review concerns two books. The reason for reviewing both current volumes on… Continue reading
Why do the Nations Conspire?
The Psalms as Psalter The Psalms have been called an anatomy of the soul. The reformer Calvin said, in the opening of his commentary on The Psalms, that: I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion… Continue reading
A Glimpse into Ian Stackhouse’s “Praying Psalms: A Personal Journey through the Psalter”
Ian Stackhouse, Praying Psalms: A Personal Journey through the Psalter, Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018 This brief post is not really a review, more of a preview, of this book. I know Ian, and I find it difficult to be certain of impartiality regarding a book written by someone I count as a friend. There… 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.