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Psalms and Practice

Worship, Virtue, and Authority

Stephen Breck Reid, Editor

The essays in Psalms and Practice explore how the notion of practice helps contemporary readers understand psalms in a new way. Practice, according to the authors, happens as faith seeks understanding through spiritual disciplines. These practices continue the work of the Holy Spirit—faith seeking understanding, understanding seeking embodiment through practice, and practice nurturing faith. Practice and the psalms are never far from the formation of the soul which takes place in a number of ways. The essays in Psalms and Practice look at three aspects of formation: prayer, how the psalms shape our faith through the process of liturgy, and how the psalms shape the preached word. Formation then occurs in contemplation, liturgy, and preaching, but it occurs in other action as well. Psalms and Practice also explores those elements of practice and the psalms by looking at the practice of translation as a way of practicing the psalms and examining other ways to relate the psalms to our modern lives. Psalms and Practice is the result of conversations of scholars, who are also committed church people, at work in the field of Psalms research. These scholars came together for three days to share their papers and a time of prayer in both Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions. The participants noted that the combination of conversation on the psalms and the practice of reading and praying the psalms in worship enriched the conversation of reading the psalms in the discussion of the papers. Chapters in Part I: Psalms and Practice are "Psalms, Bhajan, and Kirtan. Songs of the Soul in Comparative Perspective," “The Psalms as a Place to Begin for Old Testament Theology,” and “Power and Practice: Performative Speech and Piety in Psalm 132.” Chapters in Part II: Psalms and Practice: Contemplation and Worship are “Praying with Psalms: A School of Prayer,” “The Sacramental Function of the Psalms in Contemporary Scholarship and Liturgical Practice,” “Burning Our Lamps with Borrowed Oil: The Liturgical Use of the Psalms and the Life of Faith,” “My Tongue Will Sing Aloud to Your Deliverance: Praise and Sacrifice in the Psalms,” “Thus Says to the Lord: ‘Thou Shalt Preach on the Psalms!'” “The Psalms in Worship and Preaching: A Report,” and “How Long, O Lord! Will Your People Suffer in Silence Forever.” Chapters in Part III: Psalms and Practice: Virtue and Authority are “The Virtues of the Righteous in Psalm 37: An Exercise in Translation,” “The Cursing Psalms as a Source for Blessing,” “All God and Also Us: Double Agency and Reconciliation in Psalms 22 and 51,” “Songs for the City: Interpreting Biblical Psalms in the Urban Context,” and “Taking Inspiration: Authorship, Revelation, and the Book of Psalms.” Contributors are Dorothy Bass; Terry Muck; W. H. Bellinger, Jr.; Stephen Breck Reid; John C. Endres, S.J.; Harry P. Nasuti; Rolf Jacobson; Kathryn L. Roberts; J. Clinton McCann, Jr.; James C. Howell; Beth LaNeel Tanner; Michael Jinkins; Larry Silva; Cynthia L. Rigby; Gerald H. Wilson; and Mark S. Smith. Stephen Breck Reid is a professor of Old Testament studies at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Catholic Biblical Association, and the Society for the Study of Black Religion. He has authored four other books and numerous articles.

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All Creation is Groaning

An Interdisciplinary Vision for Life in a Sacred Universe

Carol J. Dempsey and Russell A. Butkus, Editors and Weavers; Foreword by Walter Brueggemann

This multi-academic perspective on contemporary environmental issues reminds us of our oneness with the natural world and what that calls us to as moral creatures. Fashioned as a series of stories based on the model of biblical narrative, these seemingly multivalent voices and perspectives are joined together with biblical stories, references, and theological reflection to create in All Creation Is Groaning a seamless story that is both provocative and revelatory. All Creation Is Groaning provides a clear vision of living life in a sacred universe. This vision is linked to the biblical vision of justice and righteousness for all of creation, and humankind's responsibility to hasten the vision through a call to ethical practice. Critical and hermeneutical, this book reflects an interdisciplinary approach so as to "build bridges of understanding between the Bible and contemporary disciplines." Chapters are “Stories from the Heart,” “New Ways of Knowing and Being Known,” “An Islamic Perspective on the Environment,” “Christian Values, Technology, and the Environment Crisis,” “Feeding the Hungry and Protecting the Environment,” “Mental Cartography in a Time of Environmental Crisis,” “Toward an Understanding of International Geopolitics and the Environment,” “Sustainability: An Eco- Theological Analysis,” “The Stewardship of Natural and Human Resources,” “Development of Environmental Responsibility in Children,” “An Ecological View of Elders and Their Families: Needs for the Twenty-First Century,” “Symphonies of Nature: Creation and Re-creation,” “A Sense of Place,” and “Hope Amidst Crisis: A Prophetic Vision of Cosmic Redemption.”

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Like a Tree Planted

An Exploration of the Psalms and Parables Through Metaphor

Barbara Green, O.P.

How well are the psalms understood? The parables seem more accessible, but are they? And as familiar as we are with the texts of the psalms and the parables, how open are we to new perspectives on them? The studies in Like a Tree Planted, the first volume in the Connections series, encourage readers to deepen their understanding of the psalms and parables and to grow in their relationship with God. Like a Tree Planted invites reflection on eight pairs of psalms and parables by highlighting their shared metaphor. These images, familiar from our everyday lives as well as from both testaments, encourage fresh insights from familiar scriptural texts. The psalms presented here, all from the first book of the Psalter, and the parables, selected from Luke's Gospel, speak deeply and collaboratively through figures of the tree, our stature and status, searching faces, feelings of entitlement and responsiveness, the ecosystem, shepherding, the storehouse, and "the other side." An introductory chapter in Like a Tree Planted introduces readers to the process of reading metaphorically, and a concluding chapter draws implications from the reading of these particular psalm and parable texts as a set. Barbara Green believes that many people want to explore both in language and in experience the mysteries of God and our own human condition. With her exciting, imaginative style she offers help for those on that journey those interested in prayer and in a deeper access to Scripture, those working with adult parish groups, preachers of Scripture, those doing retreat work, and individuals. Chapters are "Introduction to Metaphor in Psalm and Parable," "The Rooted Tree: Psalm 1 and Luke 13:1-9," "Stature: Psalm 8 and Luke 15:11-32," "Searching Faces: Psalm 27 and Luke 18:9-18," "Entitlement and Responsiveness: Psalm 18 and Luke 18:1-8," "The Ecosystem: Psalm 7 and Luke 16:1-9," "Shepherding: Psalm 23 and Luke 15:3-7," "The Storehouse: Psalm 39 and Luke 12:13-21," "The Other Side: Psalm 41, Luke 10:25-29," and "Conclusion." Barbara Green, OP, PhD, teaches Scripture and spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and works with adult groups interested in deepening their spiritual commitment. She is the author of "What Profit for Us?" Remembering the Story of Joseph.

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Earth, Wind, and Fire

Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Creation

Carol J. Dempsey, OP, and Mary Margaret Pazdan, OP, Editors

Today's world demands an integrated attitude and vision toward all of life—an approach embraced and enhanced by the contributors to Earth, Wind, and Fire. In this scholarly and passionate work members of the Feminist Hermeneutics Task Force of the Catholic Biblical Association orchestrate an approach to understanding a feminist model of creation that is faithful to biblical tradition and celebrates the rich diversity of all creation. Inviting conversation between Bible and theology, feminist scholars and theologians, the contributing writers explore themes such as the significance of embodiment, the integrity of creation, the interconnectedness of humanity with other creatures, the evolutionary nature of creation, and integral connections between creation and salvation, ecojustice and human liberation. Both detailed and holistic, Earth, Wind, and Fire is a compelling, insightful, and reader-friendly approach to the creative artistry of God. Chapters and contributors are:Creation, Evolution, Revelation, and Redemption: Connections and Intersections by Carol J. Dempsey, O.P.;The Priestly Creation Narrative: Goodness and Interdependence" by Alice L. Laffey;Everyone Called By My Name: Second Isaiah's Use of the Creation Theme by Joan E. Cook, SC;Wild, Raging Creativity: Job in the Whirlwind by Kathleen M. Connor;Soundings in the New Testament Understandings of Creation by Barbara E. Bowe, RSCJ;Sabbath: the Crown of Creation by Barbara E. Reid, OP;Creation Restored: God's Basileia, the Social Economy, and the Human Good by Tatha Wiley;The Samaritan Woman and Martha as Partners with Jesus in Ministry: Recreation in John 4 and 11 by Judith Schubert, RSM;All Creation Groans in Labor: Paul's Theology of Creation in Romans 8:18-23 by Sheila E. McGinn;Of New Songs and An Open Window; by Mary Ann Donovan, SC; Being a New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) is Being the Body of Christ: Paul and Feminist Scholars in Dialogue by Mary Margaret Pazdan, OP;Creation in the Image of God and Wisdom Christology by Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP;Also includes a Prologue and Epilogue by Carol J. Dempsey, OP, and Mary Margaret Pazdan, OP, a Bibliography, and Indexes. Carol J. Dempsey, OP, PhD, is associate professor of biblical studies and theology at the University of Portland. She also co-edited All Creation is Groaning: An Interdisciplinary Vision for Life in a Sacred Universe, published by Liturgical Press.Mary Margaret Pazdan, OP, PhD, is professor of biblical studies at Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis. She is the author of a commentary on the minor prophets in The Collegeville Bible Commentary, published by Liturgical Press.

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Ishmael Instructs Isaac

An Introduction to the Qur'an for Bible Readers

John Kaltner

Jews, Christians, and Muslims trace their roots to Abraham and yet it is a shock to many Bible readers that some of the characters and stories in their sacred text are also found in the pages of Islam's sacred text, the Qur’an. By exploring the relationship between the Bible and the Qur’an in Ishmael Instructs Isaac, John Kaltner challenges Bible readers to think about their sacred book in new, exciting ways. In doing so, he leads all to a better appreciation of Islam. After a brief overview of the text, themes, structure, and use of the Qur’an, Kaltner focuses on traditions that are shared with the Bible. He explains that the Bible and Qur’an contain many of the same themes, figures, and episodes. However, at times, there are significant differences in their descriptions of the same event or figure. By discussing such topics and figures as God, humanity, prophecy, creation, life after death, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mary, Kaltner examines the similarities and differences between the two texts. This comparative method allows readers to better appreciate both what is distinctive about Islam and what it shares with Judaism and Christianity. Jews and Christians view Isaac as the son of Abraham in whom the family line continued. Muslims, on the other hand, view Isaac's brother Ishmael as the rightful heir. This difference must not obscure what is held in common: a belief in the one God and a family—albeit distant—relationship. Written for undergraduate and seminary courses on Islam, the Qur’an, comparative religions, inter-religious dialogue, world scriptures, and biblical interpretation, Ishmael Instructs Isaac is also a useful resource for discussion groups in churches, synagogues, and mosques. Includes English translations of the Qur’anic texts discussed. John Kaltner, PhD, is assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes College where he teaches courses in the Bible and Islam. He has worked in the Middle East with the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America.

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