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5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming the Psalms for theology and worship, 30 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Psalter Reclaimed (Paperback)
This book gathers together lectures given over thirteen years in a variety of places. There is some overlap and repetition, but the overall impact is a progressively unfolding study of the Psalms from a historic Christian perspective that keeps abreast of some of the most recent scholarship on the Psalms, as well as making good use of speech-act theory. Wenham's concern throughout is to appropriate the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture that testifies to the one God of the Mosaic covenant and looks forward to the promised messianic king in the line of David.
The book begins with the immediate questions, what it means for the church to sing and pray the Psalms, with an historical review of how they were used and understood in the practice of Christian spirituality, and why they have come to be neglected. J. L. Austin's speech-act theory is used in a very constructive way that appeals as well to the historic practice of the church.
Chapters on reading the Psalms canonically and messianically remind us that this is an edited, integrated collection with a structure and intertextuality that should be recognised in the act of interpretation. Wenham goes beyond the older, atomising work of the form critics and Weiser (who tied his interpretation to his reconstruction of the cultus), with many helpful insights from Brevard Childs and Gerald Wilson, considering how the five-book Psalter was understood in the post-exilic period, not least as the bearer of messianic hopes.
The ethics of the Psalms and their relationship to the Decalogue are considered in an introductory way in chapter 5, a subject which Wenham investigates at greater theological elsewhere, while on the perennially vexing question of the imprecatory psalms, he breaks new ground for English-language readers by mediating the scholarship of Hossfeld and Zenger.
Finally, the question of Israel and the nations is addressed in a chapter which, for this reviewer, brought out some unexpected nuggets of exegetical insight, showing how the eschatological vision of the New Testament is foreshadowed in the Old.
In all, this is an excellent introduction to the subject for seminary students (too many of whom, Wenham notes, can pass though their studies without seriously encountering the Psalms) and for others seeking a deeper grasp of the Psalms in their canonical place. Reading this has encouraged me to follow up the theological issues in the companion volume, "Psalms As Torah".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty of Language Restored., 16 July 2013
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This review is from: The Psalter Reclaimed (Paperback)
A real joy to devour writing which inspires, uplifts, and stimulates. A book of spirituality and substance, devoid of cliche.
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The Psalter Reclaimed
The Psalter Reclaimed by Gordon Wenham (Paperback - 28 Feb 2013)
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