The Eastern Christian liturgical tradition of Lent has long included the chanting of the Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120–134) as “entrance songs” of not only the special penance service known as the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, but also of the season of repentance. Ruckhaus’ commentary in As Though We Were Dreaming provides theological insight and exegetical breadth to this group of Psalms. Even more so, Ruckhaus drives the reader to engage the Songs of Ascents and participate in the descent and ascent of meaningful and life-changing repentance.
The commentary here does more than just compare the struggle of the ancient Jews reflected in the Songs of Ascents with that of the early Christian community and our own experience. Ruckhaus insists on a “gutteral connection” between the anxiety and hope of reconstituting the people of God after the disaster of the exile and that of the passion of Jesus. “The gospel story is already genetically encoded in the story of Israel.”
The liturgical incorporation of the Songs of Ascents in the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts “grounds” the Church’s participation in the Great Story. We don’t borrow the ancient psalms of the Jews’ struggle to reconstitute a kingdom of God; we share in that struggle.
In the Logos edition, this valuable volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
For anyone interested in the overcoming of conventional dichotomies in theology, Ruckhaus’ book is essential reading. With a ‘Brueggemanesque’ postmodern approach, the author refreshingly brings together liturgy and economic justice, critical scholarship and personal experience, Israelite religion and Christian worship, and literary analysis and theological vision. Ruckhaus’ interpretation of the Byzantine Lenten ‘psalms of ascent’ is rooted in both the concreteness of human experience and openness to the real presence of the Other other.
—The Rev’d Chrysostom Frank, professor, St. John Vianney Seminary; pastor, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, Denver, CO