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 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
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
K is for King David
In the previous post—J is for John Donne—we met his sermon on Psalm 51:7. Throughout this sermon Donne time-and-again reflects on King David as the model penitent. In a very real sense David leads the way for us all. Just as we fail, like him, so we too can receive God’s mercy like David as… 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
Malcolm Guite’s ‘David’s Crown’: A Review
Malcolm Guite, David’s Crown: Sounding the Psalms, Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2021 Malcolm Guite conceived and wrote this book during the earliest months of the pandemic. There is an irony in this origin, for corona, a word that had eluded most of us until a year ago, can refer to a crown or coronet of poems.… Continue reading
Psalm 51 and Saint Augustine
Psalm 51, sometimes known as the miserere, has also been given the epithet ‘Psalm of Psalms’ by some. As I have studied it and reflected on its place in Church history over the last twelve months, or so, I am increasingly persuaded that such a claim might well be justified. The accolade owes something to… Continue reading
Life Understood Backwards
Looking Back The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard claimed that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” The experience of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus was something like this. How could they understand Jesus’ life at its end? Even at the end did it make sense? Cleopas and the… 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.