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Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction

ISBN: 9781441255532

Digital Logos Edition

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According to Hassell Bullock, “No collection of poems has ever exercised as much influence on the Western world as the Book of Psalms.” The attraction for Jews, Christians, and others is surely the personal element that pervades these poems, which describe the human situation in all its complexity. Though the Psalms are perhaps the most familiar portion of the Hebrew Bible, they are also among the most difficult to interpret. As a result, Bullock has created this guide to introduce students to the study and interpretation of the Psalms.

Encountering the Book of Psalms begins by examining literary and hermeneutical dimensions. Bullock discusses the nature, structure, and authorship of the Psalter and provides readers with specific principles for interpretation. He goes on to examine the use of Psalms in worship from the ancient world to the twenty-first century. Bullock further explores how the psalmists used historical reflection to serve their theological purposes, and he concludes by investigating different types of Psalms, including Psalms of praise, lament, and wisdom.

In the Logos edition, this 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.

This volume is no longer available, but has been replaced by the revised second edition.

  • Includes chapter objectives and outlines
  • Contains charts, illustrations, and graphics
  • All Scripture references linked to the Bibles in your library

Top Highlights

“Thus, the fivefold division is a deliberate editorial feature designed to emphasize the central place of the law (Torah) in Israel’s faith.” (Page 58)

“the book is an anthology of prayers, worship songs, and poems sung and spoken in public and private worship.” (Page 22)

“The Book of Psalms is a record of God’s call and of his people’s response, enacted a thousand times in history. The Psalms are a photograph album of ancient Israel in its relationship to God and a mirror of our own relationship and reaction to God who summons his people and promises his presence and secures the future. Any time we try to interpret the Psalms, a journal of Israel’s life—so filled with joys and sorrows, inscribed with aspirations and failures—we will find ourselves experiencing a catharsis of the soul.” (Page 22)

“In the Psalms God’s law, or Torah, takes at least three forms: God’s ways, God’s works, and God’s words.” (Page 216)

“A second feature is the presence of wisdom admonitions or teachings, often taken from nature” (Page 202)

The strengths of the book are many. First, the punctuation of the narrative with helpful charts and diagrams increases understanding and makes the material discussed more enjoyable. Second, while Bullock demonstrates an overall command of the Psalter, he deftly avoids overemphasizing a personal agenda in his interpretation. . . . Third and most importantly, the book does indeed function as a literary and theological introduction to the book of Psalms. Having completed this book, the student will have been introduced to the major theological and literary elements within the Psalter as well as major scholarly contributions on the subject.

—Bradley Embry, Review of Biblical Literature

A scholarly and quite detailed work. . . . It is a helpful, comprehensive, well-written and well-presented introduction to the Book of Psalms. Anyone beginning serious study of the Psalms will find Bullock’s work to be an excellent starting point.

Jamie Grant, Themelios

This is an excellent summary of information about the various scholarly opinions about the Book of Psalms. . . . The Encountering series is designed to appeal to a modern reader. . . . An excellent introduction to scholarly and devotional approaches to the Psalms. A student or pastor building a personal library should seriously consider adding this volume to his Psalms shelf.

L. Russ Bush, Southern Baptist Journal of Theology

  • Title: Encountering the Book of Psalms: A Literary and Theological Introduction
  • Author: C. Hassell Bullock
  • Series: Encountering Biblical Studies
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 272
  • Resource Type: Introduction
  • Topic: Psalms

C. HASSELL BULLOCK (B.A., Samford University; B.D., Columbia Theological Seminary; University Ph.D., Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion) is professor of Old Testament studies at Wheaton College. Since the completion of his formal education, Dr. Bullock has served as both a professor and as a pastor in 10 different churches.

He is the author of An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, Encountering the Book of Psalms, An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, and An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books.

Dr. Bullock resides in Wheaton, Illinois.


4 ratings

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  1. Aaron Baldridge
  2. Matthew Candler
    Great resource on the Psalms.
  3. Bill Shewmaker
  4. Gary Carr

    Gary Carr


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