Reviews for Case for the Psalms : Why They Are Essential

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
Prolific New Testament scholar Wright fears that the contemporary praise-song is crowding out the ancient Hebrew prayer-songs that have traditionally informed Christian liturgy and personal devotion. The Psalms constituted Jesus' and his followers' hymnal, he reminds us, and then proceeds in three chapters to argue their merits for those who read, recite, and sing them regularly. Such use of the Psalms allows the worshipper to appreciate and dwell in God's time--where past and future meet in the present; in God's space, here called Jerusalem and the Temple, both of which Christianity came to see as the whole world and the human heart; and in the midst of God's good matter, the physical Creation. Wright advances his explanation of the Psalms' special efficacies through generous quotations, and he uses a final chapter to tell some stories of particular psalms' effects on his spiritual development. He also writes a context for what he quotes that is almost as graceful, if not as stunningly beautiful, as the Psalms themselves. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 August #1

Wright (New Testament & early Christianity, Univ. of St. Andrews Sch. of Divinity; Simply Christian), former Bishop of Durham, is both a man of sincere faith--he stands on the conservative side of the Anglican Church--and a serious scholar. Wright finds both personal and ecclesiastical possibilities in the Psalms, and like most Biblical scholars confronted with them, he rapidly finds himself deep in literary criticism: mining poems for their meaning, seeking context, and searching for resonances in other locations. VERDICT His sincere ambition to restore these ancient liturgical poems to a central place in Christian thinking is both informed and affecting and is suitable for both Christian congregations and solitary worshippers.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #2

Wright (Simply Christian) preaches on the page. He knows the Bible about as well as he knows his name, and on this go plumbs the Psalms, the biblical book a songwriter such as Bob Dylan might have written had he lived a long, long time ago. The Psalms sing, praise, curse, and offer a view of a relationship to God that is by turns humble and assertive, joyful and mournful. Wright offers an insider's appreciation; it helps to have some familiarity with this remarkable group of prayers, because Wright quotes liberally, as if his interpretation will be obvious as soon as he cites the passage he is exegeting. Wright's deep knowledge is in New Testament, not Old, yet few readers will want to quarrel; the book is not addressed to scholars, although its origin is a gathering of pastors and theologians. Rather, the author's reflections are pastoral, urging the reader to understand and then pray and sing the Psalms. Reading is easier, and more rewarding, if a Bible is nearby to provide context and references. (Sept.)

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