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Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 19: Psalms 1-50 Hardcover – January 15, 1983

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Peter C. Craigie was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Calgary and was at work on the WBC volume on Jeremiah 1-25 at the time of his untimely death in September, 1985. He also has written The Book of Deuteronomy (Eerdmans and Hodder & Stoughton, 1976) and The Problem of War in the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1978), as well as numerous articles on Ugaritic studies. Professor Craigie received the M.A. in Semitic languages from the University of Edinburgh, the Dip. Theol. from the University of Durham, the M.Th. from the University of Aberdeen, and the Ph.D. from McMaster University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Word Books; 1St Edition edition (January 15, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0849902185
  • ISBN-13: 978-0849902185
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Here is what to expect with this commentary on Psalms 1-50:

- in-depth analysis of the purpose a psalm played in Israelite liturgy. Its purpose helps the reader today to better understand any psalm

- interaction with other ancient near eastern literature, when relevant

- textual notes on the Hebrew, with his own careful translation. He notes when the text is confusing, for example, but walks the reader through the issues

- a good section called "Comment," in which Craigie covers the important points, theology, and usage of the psalm

- and a concluding section called "Explanation" that connects the psalm to New Testament or Christian theology, to present-day concerns of Christians. He often says something helpful and edifying.

I recommend the volume highly. Even without knowledge of Hebrew, the reader will benefit from it. And for those with Hebrew and some background in the ancient near east (and in the historiography of this literature), it is probably the best, more recent work available.
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Format: Hardcover
Peter Craigie was to write the entire commentary on Psalms. His untimely death left this legacy of inspiring, intelligent, faithful survey work of Psalms 1-50 in a commentary series that occassionally gives up scholarship for conservative bias.
This is a superb survey of Psalms interpretation, and his own reflection and hermeneutic is inspiring in the least. Use it above even the likes of Casemann, Mays, and Bruegemann.
Joseph A. Weaks
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Word commentaries on Psalms proceed upon the grossly aberrant belief that meter (or rhythm as it prefers) is one of the primary forms of Hebrew poetry. Instead, as Berlin has observed (The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism), Biblical poetry lacks meter as far as we understand it. The only ancient Semitic poetic text that uses meter throughout is the Babylonian Theodicy (i.e., not Hebrew). Pardee declared that Ugaritic, which is extremely similar to Biblical Hebrew, has no meter at all. In an attempt to salvage some kind of meter from Biblical poetry, Watson (Classical Hebrew Poetry), suggests, very cautiously, that just maybe, though there is no regularity, there may sometimes be rythmn according to stress/accentuation. And, perhaps, there may be brief moments were something like a "qinah" exists or where stress, intonation, and other sound patterns form a kind of meter, but this is an exception that proves the rule. Meter is a classical Greek form of poetry, alien to ancient Hebrew, which the Word commentaries force the poetry into almost as if with a straight-jacket. Every translation of a psalm is treated to this violence, with its supposed meter relayed at the side. In the Introduction, the author adds a disclaimer that "the approach to meter in Hebrew poetry which has been adopted in this volume may seem to some to be rather old-fashioned," which I think it not strong enough of an admission! This is a blatant reliance upon scholarship centuries old, which understood close to nothing about historical grammar, had little to no truly ancient texts or comparative ancient near eastern examples, and was based on ideas and assumptions that were completely foreign to the language being studied.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The commentary by Peter Craigie's commentary on Psalms 1-50 is worth owning for a number of reasons. The introductory material (which is intended as an introduction to the book of Psalms as a whole), although not extremely long, contains valuable information on issues such as the origin of Psalmody in Israel, the compilation of the Psalter, the titles of the Psalms, the issue of authorship, the nature of Hebrew poetry and music, as well as other issues of interest.

Craigie then discusses each Psalm in turn. Following the format of the Word Biblical Commentary series as a whole, the commentary on each Psalm begins with a translation, followed by notes on that translation, then a section on "form/structure/setting," and finally sections commenting on the individual verses themselves and an explanation of the entire Psalm. While some of the information in the commentary is intended for the scholar (particularly one with a working knowledge of Hebrew), there is also much of value to pastors and laypersons who want to gain insight into the devotional value of the Psalms. Reading Craigie's comments on the first 50 Psalms will give one a greater appreciation of the message of these songs of the Israelites.
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