Andrew J. Schmutzer and David M. Howard, Jr., ed. The Psalms: Language for All Seasons of the Soul. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2013.
I would like to thank Moody Publishers for sending me a review copy of this book. See here for Moody’s page about it.
This book contains essays by evangelical scholars and pastors. The
contributors include Bruce K. Waltke, Willem A. VanGemeren, C. Hassell
Bullock, Francis X. Kimmitt, Robert B. Chisholm Jr., Andrew J.
Schmutzer, Michael E. Travers, Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Allen P. Ross,
Daniel J. Estes, Randall X. Gauthier, Robert L. Cole, David M. Howard
Jr., Michael K. Snearly, Tremper Longman III, Mark D. Futato, Daniel A.
Ridder, and John Piper.
Some of the essays made points that I have heard or read over and
over again in discussions about the Psalms. Another essay, which
compared the Masoretic and LXX for Psalm 54, made interesting points but
was very technical and could have done a better job in summarizing the
differences between the two versions of the Psalm. A few of the essays
are valuable to me in that they summarized scholarship about the Psalms,
such as different opinions about the Psalms’ settings, parallelism, and
interpreting the Psalms canonically. Some essays in the book appeared
to accept the Davidic authorship of a number of Psalms, whereas at least
one essay seemed to posit that a Psalm was later attributed to Moses
but was not actually by him.
There were essays in the book that I really enjoyed. My particular
favorites were Robert Cole’s essay about the connections between Psalm 1
and Psalm 2, as well as David Ridder’s speculation that the Psalmist in
Psalm 84 was especially longing to worship God in Jerusalem because the
Assyrians were inhibiting him from traveling there. Tremper Longman
III’s defense of Contemporary Christian music also resonated with me:
“Not every song has to teach profound theology; sometimes it is best to
simply express adoration” (page 223).
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