Item description for Psalms (CCT) (Chalice Commentary for Today) by Marti J. Steussy...
Overview In a reader-friendly style that even someone with the most basic Bible knowledge will find engaging, Marti Steussy takes the reader on a journey through the Psalms, exploring their origins, their themes, and their message for Christians today. Steussy has written this commentary to be read as a book, from beginning to end, unraveling the full story and flow of the five books that make up the Psalter. In this newest volume of the Chalice Commentaries for Today series, Steussy interprets the Psalms in light of in their ancient contexts and offers constructive suggestions for their role in understanding and embodying God's calling in today's world. She engages both the world of the Bible and the present world in a dialogue between the Bible, tradition, culture, and a vision of a God who is passionately involved with the full life of the world.
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Studio: Christian Board of Publication
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.98" Width: 6.1" Height: 0.65" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2004
Publisher Chalice Press
Series Chalice Commentaries For Today
ISBN 0827205260 ISBN13 9780827205260
Availability 0 units.
More About Marti J. Steussy
Marti J. Steussy is MacAllister-Petticrew Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Reviews - What do customers think about Psalms (CCT) (Chalice Commentary for Today)?
Happy are those who read this... Jan 13, 2005
True to the ecumenical nature of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), of which author Marti Steussy, this commentary on the Psalms will appeal to a broad range of readers. Part of the Chalice Press series 'Chalice Commentaries for Today', Steussy's text combines older scholarship with her own research and studies derived from years of teaching and preaching. Steussy writes from the Christian perspective, but avoids the sin of supersessionism (the idea that Hebrew scriptures only have value reflected through a Christian lens).
The Psalms have long been a very popular book among Christians. As Steussy points out, often one finds the New Testament and Psalms paired in book form, and liturgical forms for many denominations are often derived from, if not directly lifted out of, the Psalms. Despite this, the Psalms contain various pieces that are problematic to modern readers. Steussy is honest and direct in approaching these texts, not trying to reinterpret or sugar-coat them into being something they aren't, while also looking as the Psalms in comprehensive ways that avoid proof-texting and other errors that can come from analyzing bits and pieces separately and out of context.
The overall structure of this commentary follows the overall structure of the Psalms (of which many are unaware that the 'book' of Psalms can be readily divided into five distinct sections, or 'books' themselves) for the majority of the book, after an introductory setting entitled 'Getting our Bearings'. While the book can be used as a reference, it is intended to be read in a more narrative fashion from start to finish; it thus makes a good textbook for classes, and a good study volume for congregations and adult Bible education groups who want to look at the Psalms in greater depth.
Steussy uses the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) as the primary text of the Psalms, but supplements this with other translations, including her own, particularly when there are language issues or literary issues that make translation problematic. The Psalms, being poetry, defy easy conventional translation.
The introductory setting, 'Getting our Bearings', looks at four key issues - the Psalms as God's teaching (Steussy translates the word 'Torah' as a term that has more to do with the term 'teaching' than the traditionally-used English word 'law'), the Theology of the Monarchy, how this Royal Theology played out after the fall of Jerusalem, and finally, how Christians tend to (and ought to) read the Psalms. Included in these sections are historical details about the history of Israel of the time, given that even people familiar with the biblical texts are often 'a bit hazy about the events of Israel's history'. In the section on the Christian reading of the Psalms, Steussy looks at two primary strands - Jesus spoken of in the Psalms (through later interpretation), and Jesus as the speaker of the Psalms.
Steussy's trek through the Psalms systematically after this introductory material is clear and accessible. Steussy honestly admits that, while sometimes the groupings of psalms seem to fit a pattern, there are other times when the sequence seems arbitrary. Steussy identifies different psalms by category (prayers of lament, prayers of thanksgiving, hymns, wisdom and reflective psalms, etc.), and reflects on general aspects of types of language and images used. She develops key strands of the texts, both in terms of their meaning within what we know of the historical context in which they were written as well as later interpretative issues - for example, her discussion on the acceptance or rejection of Psalm 125 by various audiences highlights how psalms continued to be used and understood.
Steussy concludes by looking at the issue of inclusive language, one of the key linguistic issues of the church today, influencing Bible translations (and the acceptance or rejection thereof), as well as issues of how congregations and readers understand what is being said.
Steussy's text includes a select bibliography of Bible translations, books about the Psalms, other theological and biblical studies books, and relevant articles and essays. There is both a topical index and a scripture-reference index, for ease of scholarly use.
One cannot help but notice that there are 16 primary chapters (I do not include the four-page introduction or the five-page appendix on inclusive language in this count) - as a standard semester is in many places 16 weeks long, this would make an ideal one-chapter-per-week book for use in classroom and other settings. Steussy's writing is thorough and insightful without being top-heavy with scholarly jargon; terminology used beyond standard college-educated vocabulary is clearly introduced and explained as it is used. Steussy's sensitivity to how writing is received is evident here, and this is a very good book for those new to studying biblical texts, and those looking for more insight about the Psalms.