Some Love for Lexham on the Psalms

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Some Love for Lexham on the Psalms

By Davy Ellison

Both my postgraduate degrees have focused on the Psalter. The deeper I dive into the Psalms, the more frequently I encounter material published by Lexham Academic. Here are four volumes, ranked in order of preference, that have emerged from Lexham in 2023.

Reading the Psalms Theologically (Edited by David M. Howard Jr and Andrew J. Schmutzer)

This is a collection of 18 essays collated from some of the most authoritative voices in Psalter studies in recent decades. It progresses from a survey of recent trends in the scholarly literature to five essays on canonical readings of the Psalter to five essays on the theme of suffering and lament and concludes with seven essays on theological aspects of the Psalms. Going forward Reading the Psalms Theologically is the volume I would recommend beginning with for those seeking to immerse themselves in the world of Psalter studies and, more importantly, the Psalter itself.

The Promised Davidic King: Psalm 108’s Canonical Placement and Use of Earlier Psalms (Wyatt A. Graham)

This is a revised version of Graham’s doctoral dissertation. While returning to the well-worn ground of the Psalter’s canonical shape it does with a fresh perspective by exploring a single psalm in this context. Graham’s work on Psalm 108 as a reworking of earlier psalms, as a psalm in its own right, and within its canonical context is stimulating. In my own work I too argued that some weight should be placed on the Davidic triad (Pss. 108–110) appearing near the beginning of Book Five, and Graham’s volume would have enhanced and clarified my argument. While I am sorry I did not have access to this while completing my doctoral work, I am delighted to have it now.

The Arrival of the King: The Shape and Story of Psalms 15–24 (Carissa Quinn)

Quinn’s volume is another revised doctoral dissertation. She has painstakingly examined both the structure and substance of Psalms 15–24, arguing that they constitute a discrete unit within the Psalter. I remain cautious of a strictly sequential reading of the Psalms, but the clearest evidence that this is possible is probably found here in Psalms 15–24. Particularly useful is Quinn’s pressing beyond the mere facts of the shape of Psalms 15–24 to offer commentary on their story. Like Graham’s Quinn’s work coheres with my own, which perhaps predisposes me to look upon it favourably. Nevertheless, it is a thorough and original piece of work which further enhances our understanding of the Psalter.

A New Song: Biblical Hebrew Poetry as Jewish and Christian Scripture (Edited by Stephen D. Campbell, Richard G. Rohlfing Jr., and Richard S. Briggs)

Technically this is not a volume on the Psalms, it is however a volume on Hebrew poetry—which the psalms obviously are. It is a collection of nine essays, ten poems, and three reflections arising from a 2019 conference held in Durham. There two aspects to A New Song which are particularly helpful. First, it broadens the conversation beyond Christian scholars by including Jewish scholars. As a Christian scholar I evidently believe that Jewish scholars are missing something significant. Nonetheless, there is a rich heritage of Jewish interpretation from which I have and can continue to benefit, even as I read the Hebrew Bible as Christian Scripture. Second, this volume reminds readers that the psalms are not confined to the Psalms. Hebrew poetry is present in both the historical and prophetical books. It is therefore imperative for Bible readers to understand Hebrew poetry well if they are to read their Bibles well.

As I continue to explore, research, and write on the Psalter I am certain that I will return to the above volumes repeatedly. Lexham are serving both the academy and the church with their work, and I am delighted that the Psalms are featuring so heavily in their output. After all, the Psalter has been a treasured portion of Scripture for the Christian church throughout the centuries—and when we read it and volumes that explore it in great detail, we can hardly be surprised.

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