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Psalms Through the Centuries, Volume One

ISBN: 978-1-118-24152-3
402 pages
March 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Psalms Through the Centuries, Volume One (1118241525) cover image
This is the first of a two-volume bible commentary covering the Psalms and examining the role of these biblical poems throughout Jewish and Christian history.
  • Provides a fascinating introduction to the literary, historical, and theological background of psalmody
  • Examines the psalms through liturgy and prayer, study and preaching, translation and imitation, and musical composition and artistic illustration
  • Includes illustrations of significant psalms, helpful maps, and an extensive bibliography; an expanded bibliography to accompany the book is also available at www.wiley.com/go/gillingham
  • A forthcoming second volume is planned, which will take an alternative psalm-by-psalm approach
  • Now available in paperback, and published in the innovative reception-history series, Blackwell Bible Commentaries
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List of Illustrations ix

Series Editors' Preface xi

Preface xiii

Works Cited xv

Introduction: Towards a Reception-History Commentary on the Psalms 1

1 The Eleventh Century BCE to the Fifth Century CE: Translation, Exposition, Instruction, Liturgy and the Prophetic Bias 5

Jewish Reception 5

From Composition to Compilation to Translation 5

Exposition: The Prophetic Bias 9

Instruction through Imitations of Psalms 11

Christian Reception 13

The Psalms as Prophecies in the New Testament 14

The Psalms as Prophecies in the Church Fathers 24

Alexandrian Commentators 28

Liturgical Adaptations of the Psalms 40

Christian Liturgy 40

Jewish Liturgy 43

Concluding Observations 46

2 The Fifth to Eleventh Centuries: Liturgy, Exposition, Artistic Representation 47

Christian Reception 47

Liturgy 47

Exposition, Homily, Translation 55

Artistic Representation 62

Jewish Reception 68

Liturgy 68

Translation, Exposition, Homily 71

Artistic Representation 75

Concluding Observations 75

3 The Eleventh to Fifteenth Centuries: Learning and Discerning 77

Jewish and Christian Controversies through Exegetical Works 77

Preliminary Considerations 77

Jewish Commentators 82

Christian Commentators 87

Christian and Jewish Artists 95

Christian Illumination 95

Jewish Illumination 104

Christian and Jewish Didactic Works 113

Christian Writers 113

Jewish Writers 117

Christian and Jewish Liturgy 120

Christian Adaptations 120

Jewish Adaptations 123

Translation in Christian Tradition 123

Concluding Observations 130

4 The Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries: Democratization and Dissemination 131

Reception as Translation: Christian Responses 131

Commentary, Liturgy, Homily and Translation on the Continent 131

Liturgy, Homily and Translation in England and Scotland 146

Reception as Aesthetic Representation: Jewish and Christian Responses 163

Jewish Reception through Art and Music 163

Christian Reception through Art, Literary Imitation and Music 166

Concluding Observations 190

5 The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Secularization and Revitalization 192

Christian Responses 194

Exegetical Works 194

Devotional Works 203

Musical Reception 220

Reception through Liturgy 228

Translations of Psalmody 230

Jewish Responses 234

Reception as Translation and Liturgy 234

Reception as Homily and Exegesis 237

Aesthetic Responses 239

Concluding Observations 240

6 The Twentieth to Twenty-First Centuries: Pluralism and Ecumenism 242

Christian and Jewish Translations of Psalmody 246

Liturgy and Psalmody in Christian and Jewish Traditions 254

Exegetical Studies, Christian and Jewish 266

Devotional Works, Christian and Jewish 282

Aesthetic Responses, Christian and Jewish 290

Concluding Observations 307

Conclusion: From Introduction to Commentary 309

Glossary 313

References 322

Index of Psalms 351

Index of Names 361

Subject Index 368

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Susan Gillingham is Fellow and Tutor in Theology at Worcester College and is Reader in the Old Testament at the University of Oxford. She has written various books and articles on the Psalms and Biblical Interpretation, including The Poems and Psalms of the Hebrew Bible (1994), One Bible, Many Voices: Different Approaches to Biblical Studies (1998) and The Image, the Depths and the Surface: Multivalent Approaches to Biblical Study (2002).
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  • Provides a fascinating introduction to the literary, historical, and theological background of psalmody
  • Examines the psalms through liturgy and prayer, study and preaching, translation and imitation, and musical composition and artistic illustration
  • Includes illustrations of significant psalms, helpful maps, and an extensive bibliography; an expanded bibliography to accompany the book is also available at www.wiley.com/go/gillingham
  • A forthcoming second volume is planned, which will take an alternative psalm-by-psalm approach
  • Published in the innovative reception-history series, Blackwell Bible Commentaries
See More

“Dr Gillingham has already published widely on the Psalms, and we look forward to her second volume.”  (Journal of Theological Studies, 1 October 2013)

“A most impressive piece of work ...The coverage is truly encyclopaedic in scope and nothing seems to have escaped Gillingham’s attention.”

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

“Gillingham meticulously masters the diverse reception history of the psalms ... Every page is bursting with solid research and influential insight. An invaluable addition to the field.”
Religious Studies Review

“This wonderful book whets the appetite both for its second volume, and for more volumes of this valuable series … [A] highly innovative and promising project.”
International Review of Biblical Studies

This book is a breakthrough in our understanding of the reception history of the Psalter. It will appeal to scholars and students of the Psalms and also to everyone who uses and prays them. The scope is extraordinarily wide and covers both Jewish and Christian use of the Psalms over nearly three thousand years.”
John Barton, University of Oxford

“As liturgical and devotional texts the Psalms occupy a unique place in Jewish and Christian tradition. In this impressively wide ranging study, Sue Gillingham explores how over the centuries the Psalms have inspired, been prayed, analyzed, interpreted and spoken with an extraordinary resonance to many kinds of human need. Musicians, liturgists and students of literature as well as theologians, clergy and Christian and Jewish teachers, will find fresh perspectives and new insights in this magisterial survey. We await with anticipation the second volume in which against this background the interpretation of individual psalms will be considered.”
The Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, Diocese of Europe

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