Elective unit                                                             (Min. No. 8)
2nd semester Wednesday morning


This unit will cover the history of the study of the Psalms and contemporary interpretative concerns, including poetics and the shape of the Psalter. It will also cover the ongoing role of the Psalms in nurturing the human spirit.

Successful completion of BA8000Y or equivalent.

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the various genre found in the Psalter and the contribution of poetics to the study of Psalms
  2. show understanding of the various ways the Psalms have been studied over more than 2000 years
  3. apply both diachronic and synchronic methods to the study of specific Psalms
  4. critically examine the shape of the Psalter and its impact on the meaning of the Psalms
  5. assess the value of the Psalms in Jewish and Christian religious and spiritual life throughout the ages and today
  6. compare and evaluate contemporary insights in the study of the Psalms.

2000 word exegetical paper (35%); 4000 word essay (65%)

BIBLIOGRAPHY * = set texts recommended for purchase

Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Poetry. New York: Basic Books, 1985.

Day, John. Psalms. OTG. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1992.

Gerstenberger, Erhard S. Psalms. FOTL 14. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.

———.Psalms, Part 2 and Lamentations. FOTL15. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.

Holladay, William L. The Psalms Through Three Thousand Years. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996.

Jacobson, Rolf A., ed. Soundings in the Theology of Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in

Contemporary Scholarship. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.

Kraus, Hans-Joachim. Psalms 1-59. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1988.

———.Psalms 60-150. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1989.

Miller, Patrick D. They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1994.

McCann, J. Clinton, ed. The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter. JSOTSup 159. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993.

Reid, Stephen B. Psalms and Practice. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001.

Zenger, Erich. A God of Vengeance? Understanding the Psalms of Wrath. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996.

———.The Composition of the Book of Psalms. BETL 238. Leuven: Peeters, 2010.