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The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary Volume 2 (Critical Eerdmans Commentary) Paperback – January 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Samuel Terrien is Davenport Professor of Hebrew and the Cognate Languages, Emeritus, at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. His many books include The Magnificat: Musicians as Biblical Interpreters (1995), Till the Heart Sings: A Biblical Theology of Manhood and Womanhood (1985), and The Elusive Presence: Toward a New Biblical Theology (1978).
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Product Details

  • Series: Critical Eerdmans Commentary
  • Paperback: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802827446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802827449
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,670,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have a copy of this book sitting on my shelf right beside my bed. I keep the most useful commentaries and references there to be handy (I have the 12-volume New Interpeter's Bible, all my versions of the BCP, etc. on the same shelf).
It has a 70-page introduction by Terrien. This looks at historical setting of the ancient Near East, origins of the psalter, growth of the psalter over time, ancient versions and linguistic issues with the text, music and poetic structures, literary genres of different types of psalms, theological considerations, and the relationship of the psalms to the New Testament. Overall this is rather well done, not a great deal of depth on any particular topic (as each could merit an entire book), but a good introduction. That said, there are generous footnotes and extensive bibliographic information for further study.
`The Psalter is unique in the history of Jewish and Christian spirituality. For twenty-five centuries it has been sung, chanted, recited, read, translated, and annotated by adherents of Judaism, and for two millennia by the disciples of Jesus Christ, more often and with more alacrity than any other collection of sacred canticles.'
The Psalms provide a seed-bed for inspiration and spirituality for many, if not most, Christians and Jews. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other prominent Christian thinkers worshiped using the Psalms; Maimonides and Jewish communities of the Ashkenazic and Sephardic persuasions worshiped using the Psalms. They are of a literary heritage that dates even farther back than the 2500 years of their own existence; their echoes fall back as much as 1500 farther back to ancient Sumerian and Akkadian hymns.
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Format: Hardcover
Terrien's commentary on Psalms is both an excellent work and writing. As much as it is enlightening to read his exposition of the Psalms, it is a joy as well to read him in his articulation of what the Psalms are. In dealing with the Hebrew text of the Psalms, he takes great care in maintaining the Hebrew meaning, looking at it grammatically and taking into his analysis the consonants of the Masoretic text. To him, "Scripture may not be comprehended theologically unless it is first understood grammatically."
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Format: Kindle Edition
This commentary has been available for just over ten years. I have only recently read it. I am reviewing it here as I think it merits wider attention than it appears to have received. The author, Samuel Terrien, devoted much scholarly attention to the Psalms throughout his long academic career. He passed away, at the age of 90, in 2001, just before the publication of this commentary. His longevity and scholarly interest mean that he is unusually placed to have experienced firsthand a number of key developments in Psalms scholarship. He saw how Gunkel’s form-critical approach all but destroyed the nineteenth century’s scholarly consensus on the late date and origin of the Psalter. He witnessed the impact of Mowinckel’s call to take the original cultic context of the Psalms seriously. More recently he was able to observe a very different movement for interpreting to the Psalter, as Wilson spearheaded what Terrien, and others, refer to as the canonical approach.

Why is this long period of engagement with hermeneutical approaches important to readers of this commentary? Well, so often scholarship can be coloured by either a resistance to change, or the opposite problem, of a grasping after the latest fad. Terrien is well-placed to offer insightful wisdom on the merits of psalms interpretive paradigms, both old and new.

So often in biblical commentaries, the obligatory introduction, can be a bland rehearsal of the expected topics, but this is not the case here. Terrien’s introduction is detailed enough, and yet also concise and fresh enough, to allow the reader to quickly orient themselves on both the Psalms and Terrien’s approach to them.
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Format: Hardcover
Liberal approach:

Redactors play loose with faith?

Old, agnostic cult?
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