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Liturgical Press

Berit Olam: Psalms

Konrad Schaefer, OSB

Berit Olam: Psalms
Berit Olam: Psalms

ISBN: 9780814650615, 5061

Details: 448 pgs, 6 x 9 x 1 1/8
Publication Date: 07/01/2001

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The psalms are masterful poems that echo the tenors of community life and worship as they project the scope of the human drama from lament to praise. They chart a profound and vital relationship with God, with all the ups and downs that this relationship implies. Konrad Schaefer's concise commentary on the psalms relates their poetic elements while respecting their historical context and traditional use in the liturgy and, more importantly, their ultimate value as a springboard to private and communal prayer.

In Psalms, Schaefer focuses on the structure of each psalm, its dramatic plot, the modes of discourse, the rhetorical features, and the effective use of imagery to portray theology and the spiritual life. Schaefer portrays each poem's inner dynamic to acquaint readers with the poet and the community which prayed and preserved the composition, allowing the believer to transpose it in the contemporary situation.

Psalms is for those who would like to pray the psalms with more intensity of meaning; for those willing to touch the biblical world and taste of its fruit in the Word of God; and for devoted readers of the Bible to become more expert as it helps experts become more devoted.

Chapters are "Introduction," "Book One (Psalms 1-41)," "Book Two (Psalms 42-72)," "Book Three (Psalms 73-89)," "Book Four (Psalms 90-106)," and "Book Five (Psalms 107-150)."

Konrad Schaefer, OSB, SSD, is a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, Oregon. He currently teaches at Our Lady of Angels in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Reviews

An engaging commentary that opens up the ancient rhetoric and imagery of Psalms for the modern reader in fresh and meaningful ways.
The Catholic Bible Quarterly

This a rich and insightful work that will be of interest to both the general reader and scholar alike. Its great strength lies in its careful attention to the language, imagery, and poetic structure of the individual psalms. It is also, however, informed throughout by the most recent scholarship on the shape of the psalter as a whole. The result is a commentary of considerable theological depth that helps its readers understand the special significance of this important biblical book.
Harry Nasuti, Department of Theology, Fordham University

. . . with Schaefer's commentary we have something really substantial, yet at the same time quite accessible. . . . If the church could take on board the insights of this commentary . . . its worship could be transformed and made more fit to be offered to Almighty God.
Ashland Theological Journal

I heartily recommend Konrad Schaefer's Psalms—I know of no work like it. It is shaped for the reader who wishes to pray the Psalms, particularly for those who read them sequentially. Though Schaefer admits occasions when the Hebrew text is difficult, he bypasses most questions of what a given psalm originally meant and concentrates on what it means. To this end he lays bare the poetic structure and effects of each psalm, and he is adept at pointing out links between adjoining psalms as well. His work is particularly acute in leading one to ways in which each psalm can aid in toughening one’s faith.
William L. Holladay, Lowry Professor Emeritus, Andover Newton Theological School

Schaefer's commentary stresses practical uses that are rooted in and conversant with current academic discourse. In this endeavor, the volume succeeds magnificently. . . . This work is a joy to read.
Interpretation

Konrad Schaefer's commentary on the Psalms is a pleasure to read. It combines solid knowledge of the Hebrew text, a poetic touch, commonsense interpretations of difficult passages, and a profoundly prayerful attitude. . . . A special mark of this book is the author’s sensitivity to the poetry of the text. He brings out its beauty while clarifying its meaning in down-to-earth vocabulary. There is a perfect balance between the exegete as scholar and as companion at prayer. The light of insight is matched by the warmth of feeling. The author translates images drawn from ancient pastoral life into insights useful for the busy modern reader.
Joseph F. Wimmer, O.S.A., Associate Professor, Washington Theological Union