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Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit [Paperback]

Walter Brueggemann
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 8.37 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2007
Description: In this thoroughly revised edition of a classic in spirituality, Walter Brueggemann guides the reader into a thoughtful and moving encounter with the Psalms. This new edition includes a revised text, new notes, and new bibliography. ""The movement and meeting of God with us is indeed a speech-event in which new humanness is evoked among us. Being attentive to language means cultivating the candid imagination to bring our own experience to the Psalms and permitting it to be disciplined by the speech of the Psalms. And, conversely, it means letting the Psalms address us and having that language reshape our sensitivities and fill our minds with new pictures and images that may redirect our lives."" --from Chapter 3 Endorsements: ""I am so glad to see this second edition of Praying the Psalms. In it Walter Brueggemann reveals the ways in which the Psalms teach the mother tongue of biblical speech by inviting us to the risk of daring candor with God.The contemporary church in North America regularly suffers collective amnesia in the face of the languages of techno-speak, market share and sentimental cliché that shape the world we inhabit. Praying the Psalms offers a surprising antidote to this chronic forgetfulness. It invites us to recover our ancient memory and true identity by learning again to pray the Psalms. I know of no better book for introducing a congregation to the Psalms than this one."" --Edwin Searcy, Pastor, University Hill Congregation, United Church of Canada, Vancouver, BC ""'The Psalms just don't speak to me.' Anyone who has ever felt this way should read Brueggemann's book. . . . He shows how these ancient prayers can lead us from the disorientation of our chaotic lives into a reorientation of transformation. His treatment of both the post-Holocaust Christian use of these very Jewish prayers and the troublesome call for vengeance is most timely. This book shows how the Psalms can indeed speak to us."" --Dianne Bergant, CSA author of Preaching the New Lectionary "". . . Brueggemann pushes me and other  readers to recognize the full gamut of passions reflected in the Psalms: joy and exultation but also disappointment, sorrow, anger, resentment, even the desire for vengeance. . . . I am grateful to Brueggemann for making me more alert to what the Psalms are saying about our common human relation to God and more honest about my own feelings as I pray the Psalms every day as part of the Liturgy of the Hours."" --Joseph A. Bracken, SJ coauthor of Self-Emptying Love in a Global Context ""Few persons have so lived in and with the Psalms as Walter Brueggemann. Here he takes us into their depths, which are so clearly the depths of our human existence. The piety of the Psalms is strong medicine. Brueggemann bids us take it for the cure of our souls."" --Patrick D. Miller author of Interpreting the Psalms and They Cried to the Lord About the Contributor(s): Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is the author of numerous works including Theology of the Old Testament, Inscribing the Text, Prophetic Imagination, and David's Truth.

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Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit + Message of the Psalms (Augsberg Old Testament Studies): A Theological Commentary (Augsburg Old Testament Studies) + Spirituality of the Psalms (Facets)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Cascade Books; 2nd edition (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556352832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556352836
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.9 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating read 5 Dec 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
My College assignment is to write a psalm, and so this was particularly helpful in highlighting the characteristics of Hebrew poetry. I understand now what a tall order it is to write a psalm, but en route, I have found it personally liberating and enlightening. I am grateful to Brueggemann for his depth of psychological insight and now have a greater understanding of the difference between the language of the psalms and our own Anglican, not rocking-the-boat approach. I understand now why I am impatient with some of our conversation which leaves us untouched, because we neither own what we feel or dare to express it if we do. I am challenged still to write the psalm, and hope that my 'niceness' and desire for equilibrium will be overcome as I venture into the world of hyperbole and metaphor, rage, hatred, joy and vengeance. A rich world indeed. Thank you. I hope my prayers will change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Praying the Psalms, Brueggemann 8 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brueggemann at his best. Brilliant engagement with prayers of vengeance and the relevance, and necessity for today. 70 pages of great value.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Praying the Psalms 15 Dec 2013
By Alan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A superb devotional resource which is inspirational. Brueggemann manages to bring new & fresh meanings to the text & relate it in a relevant and thought-provoking way.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brueggemann's Typical Division of the Psalms 25 July 2008
By R. Palmer - Published on
Walter Brueggemann, one of the (perhaps "the") OT scholar of our time classifies Psalms into three categories (following other Psalms scholars):

* Psalms of Orientation
* Psalms of Disorientation
* Psalms of Reorientation

This view is part of the cannonical view of the Psalter that takes the arrangement of the Psalter (what is placed in each of the five books of the Psalter) as key to its interpretation.

Highly recommended as a brief introduction to Brueggemann's classification. Other Psalms scholarship is better for a more detailed (scholarly) approach.

Also, you really don't find detailed instructions of the form, "Here is how you pray the Psalms..." If you're looking for that, you might try one of the books by Phyllis Tickle: The Divine HoursTM, Pocket Edition (This is the condensed edition. The three-edition set is the full edition, but this is a good, inexpensive introduction to fixed hour prayer.)
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aid to Experiential Prayer 14 Aug 2010
By J. Neill - Published on
This little book, which has the text of all the Psalms appended, can prove to be an invaluable aid in prayer. It serves as something like a "vademecum" which is easily referenced when looking up the full text of a Psalm, segments of which are commonly used in Christian Liturgies. By its brevity it tends to prevent the reader from getting too caught up in intellectual meanderings rather than focusing on prayer based on experience.

Hebrew Scripture scholar Walter Bruggemann's love of his subject and lifetime of scholarship and writing are clearly evident in his clarity and persuasiveness, moving a reader to practice prayer in the mode of the Psalms.

Brueggemann's text clearly describes how the Psalms can be used for prayer and have been for centuries. It helps counter the tendency in the culture of much of Western Christianity--in formal worship and in private devotion--to shortchange the emotions and thus block real access to one's true self, blocking in turn a candid conversation with the God of the whole person--emotion and all.

If you constantly find it challenging to bring your everyday experiences to prayer or to be faithful to reviewing how the day went, for example with an examination of consciousness, you will find Bruggemann's work particularly helpful. The concepts of orientation, disorientation and reorientation, which Brueggemann uses to describe our life experience, as well as the rhythm of many of the Psalms are also helpful. They serve as an effective way to engage our experiences in prayer, to see God in them and see them as our real--and truly only--way to God. You will probably find that your appropriation into your daily living of the many fundamental themes and attitudes of the Psalms improves immeasurably as you read this little book.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives deserved life to the Psalms. 27 April 2008
By Suzanne Ryder - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This looks to be a beautiful book. Its subject matter is not psalms unto themselves, but rather an engagement with these magnificent, ancient poems. I likes very much that Brueggemann starts by putting them into the context within which they were first written. They are not the direct word of God but have been written by human beings within their own lives. Further to this, he goes on to present the drama of the psalms and the constructs used by their scribes to express the truths they experienced in their daily lives. I also appreciated very much the discussion on language, as I believe myself that language merits great reflection. All in all, I am delighted with this short but wise book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding study of The Psalms 1 Jun 2013
By Peter Madison - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Walter Bruggemann is a respected authority on the Old Testamnent. I have three of his books on The Psalms and built a successful workshop about praying with the psalms,, drawing primarily on his writings and our experience in the psalms in our prayer lives. The Psalms is my favorite book in the Bible, daily reading first in prayer time along with journaling. this book is not light material. It is easy to read, but theological, but has material that has educated me and inspired me to better understand the book and the Jewish perspective in writing on the O.T. I learned much from it and his other books. I highly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 18 May 2012
By Byron Fike - Published on
In this short work Brueggemann makes a significant contribution to praying the Psalms with depth and meaning. I found his last two chapters to be especially helpful. "Christians in 'Jewish Territory'" addresses the awkwardness Christians often experience by praying these poems full of Jewish expression and faith. However, it is chapter 5 that makes this book worth the short amount of time it takes to read. "Vengeance: Human and Divine" shows that vengeance is God's alone and has always been so. It does not belong to humans. As used by God vengeance is but the other side of God's compassion.
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