25th April 2007
Stephen Cook over at Biblische Ausbildung has posted on “books that provide ‘accessible interpretation’ of the psalms.” He notes four books in particular, two commentaries and two introductions by two authors:
- Psalms. Interpretation. W/JK, 1994. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Psalms. New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 4: 1 & 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms. Abingdon, 1996. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Preaching and Teaching the Psalms. W/JK, 2006. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- A Theological Introduction to the Book of Psalms. Abingdon, 1993. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
These recommendations are excellent. McCann’s works are definitely accessible and chock full of valuable insights on the psalms that takes into consideration the latest of scholarly approaches to the psalms. Mays is a veteran psalms scholar and always has insightful comments and interpretations. The only criticism I have of Mays’s commentary is that it is too brief.
That being said, I would like to add a number of a number of other works to Steve’s recommendations. In regards to accessible commentaries on the book of Psalms from a Christian perspective I would include the following:
- Psalms. New International Biblical Commentary: Old Testament. Hendrickson, 1999. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- The Vitality of Worship: A Commentary on the Book of Psalms. Eerdmans, 1998. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Psalms, Volume 1: 1-41 . Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms. Baker Academic, 2006. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Psalms Volume 1. The NIV Application Commentary. Zondervan, 2002. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
In terms of a one volume commentary on the psalms that is historically and theologically sensitive, I really like Davidson. I would also recommend Broyles. I have been nothing but impressed with Goldingay’s commentary. It is accessible, yet scholarly; theologically deep, yet practical. I highly recommend his first volume and look forward to the others. The commentary by the late Gerald Wilson is also an excellent commentary that is both accessible and theologically rich.
In terms of introductions to the book of Psalms, I would also recommend the following:
- Psalms: Reading and Studying the Book of Praises. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1990. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Introduction To The Psalms: A Song From Ancient Israel. Chalice Press, 2004. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
- Journey through the Psalms. Chalice Press, 2002. Amazon.ca or Amazon.com .
Bellinger’s work is an excellent (and brief) introduction to the book of Psalms that focuses on form-critical interpretation, while Declaisse-Walford’s is another good introduction that covers all the bases of psalm interpretation, especially the more recent interest in the shape and shaping of the book of Psalms.
Hopkins’s work is perhaps the most accessible of any that have been mentioned by either Stephen or myself. It is a Brueggemann-esque introduction that is personally engaging and spiritually sensitive. The book is filled with numerous illustrations of visual art, poetry, and personal stories, as well as many practical group exercises.
For a comprehensive ranking of commentaries on the Psalms, see my Old Testament Commentary Survey.
Any other suggestions?