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Noteworthy Commentary on the Psalms Published

15th July 2005

There are a number of excellent commentaries on the book of Psalms. Most of the commentaries published recently, however, have either been limited in scope (almost all being one volume) and/or have targeted a more popular audience. This makes the publication of Hossfeld and Zenger’s commentary on the book of Psalms in the Hermeneia series all the more noteworthy.

Frank-Lothar Hossfeld and Erich Zenger. Psalms 2.
Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Fortress, 2005.
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Hossfeld and Zenger are two of the top scholars working on the psalms in Germany today. Their research is well-known both on the continent and internationally and is characterized by attention to detail and a comprehensive grasp of both primary and secondary literature. Their approach is multifaceted, though they have been leaders in the new emphasis on the redaction and editing of the book of Psalms.

This first volume (covering Psalms 51-100) is a translation of their volume in the Herders theologischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament series (Buy from Amazon.caBuy from Amazon.com), which is a first-rate critical commentary on the Psalms. As such, it is volume 2 of a three-volume work: volume 3 (Psalms 101-150) will be published next, followed by volume 1 (Psalms 1-50), which will include the comprehensive introduction. Their more popular commentaries in Die Neue Echter Bibel series are also worthy of consideration for those who can read German:

Frank-Lothar Hossfeld and Erich Zenger. Die Psalmen I. Psalm 1-50.
Die Neue Echter Bibel. Echter, 1993.
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Frank-Lothar Hossfeld and Erich Zenger. Die Psalmen II. Psalm 51 – 100.
Die Neue Echter Bibel. Echter, 2002.
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Frank-Lothar Hossfeld is Professor of Old Testament at the University of Bonn, Germany. He is the author of Der Dekalog (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982) and Untersuchungen zu Komposition und Theologie des Ezechielbuches (Echter, 1977). Erich Zenger is Professor of Old Testament at the University of Muenster, Germany. He is the author of numerous works, including To Begin with, God Created (Michael Glazier, 2000), and A God of Vengeance (WJK, 1996).

This commentary is a must-have for all scholars interested in the book of Psalms. Look for my full review in the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures. For a fairly comprehensive survey of commentaries on the book of Psalms, see my Old Testament Commentary Survey: Psalms.

One Response to “Noteworthy Commentary on the Psalms Published”

  1. Codex Blogspot » Blog Archive » “Magisterial,” “Authoritative,” “Weighty,” “Awesome” … Says:

    [...] The title of this blog entry reflects some adjectives describing the first volume of Hossfeld and Zenger’s Hermeneia commentary on the book of Psalms. I realize that I have already flogged this volume (see “Noteworthy Commentary on the Psalms Published“), but I just received my review copy and I am very impressed! This volume has set a new standard for critical, historical, and theological commentaries on the Psalms. It includes bibliography, a fresh translation, detailed textual notes, interaction with past scholarly interpretation, verse-by-verse exposition, as well as a section called “Context, Reception, and Significance.” This last section deals with the relationship of the individual psalm to its place in the Psalter, as well as discussions of the reception of the psalm in the LXX, Targum, and New Testament. Very Impressive! You will want to move aside Dahood, Craigie/Allen/Tate, Kraus and put this volume front and centre! Frank-Lothar Hossfeld and Erich Zenger. Psalms 2. Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Fortress, 2005. Buy from Amazon.ca – Buy from Amazon.com [...]