Many readers are convinced that the Psalms are hopelessly "masculine," especially given that seventy-three of the 150 psalms begin with headings linking them to King David. In this volume, Denise Dombkowski Hopkins sets stories about women in the Hebrew Bible alongside Psalms 42-89 as "intertexts" for interpretation. The stories of women such as Hannah, Rahab, Tamar, Bathsheba, Susanna, Judith, Shiphrah, Puah, and the Levite's concubine can generate a different set of associations for psalm metaphors than have traditionally been put forward. These different associations can give the reader different views of the dynamics of power, gender, politics, religion, family, and economics in ancient Israel and in our lives today that might help to name and transform the brokenness of our world.
Denise Dombkowski Hopkins is Woodrow and Mildred Miller Professor of Biblical Theology and Hebrew Bible at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. She has authored Journey through the Psalms (Chalice Press, 2002) and (with Michael Koppel) Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices (Eerdmans, 2010). She and Michael Koppel have co-chaired the Bible and Practical Theology section in the Society of Biblical Literature for six years. The mother of two, she holds PhD and MA degrees from Vanderbilt University and a BA from Syracuse University.
"Psalms, Books 2–3, in the Wisdom Commentary series, is a rich resource with a multivoiced format that honors the Psalms' own interpretability. Instead of using their considerable exegetical expertise to pronounce a single meaning for each psalm or verse, the author and contributors point out a variety of ways in which the psalms can be understood and appropriated. The writers care deeply about the Psalms as a living spiritual resource, but like the psalmists themselves, they wrestle and protest as well as offer thanks and praise. They repeatedly offer differing views on such issues as the merits of submission and humility (religious attitudes that men sometimes find all too convenient to impose on women). They remind us that different people, contexts, and situations may require different religious responses. I believe that men as well as women will benefit from the detailed discussions, rich bibliography, and varied viewpoints presented in this commentary."
Marti J. Steussy, MacAllister-Petticrew Professor of Biblical Interpretation Emerita, Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis
"Dr. Dombkowski Hopkins's commentary on Psalms 42–89 provides an exemplary model of commentary writing that significantly widens the scope of the conversation for such a time as this. Her range of expertise, from ancient Near Eastern culture to eco-feminist hermeneutics, is compelling and instructive. More than offering a single reading strategy, her commentary is critically wise, generously inclusive, and urgently relevant."
Dr. William P. Brown, William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Denise Dombkowski Hopkins offers lay readers and scholars a critically important resource for feminist approaches to the Psalms. Connecting Psalms scholarship with issues of concern in the world today—such as race, violence, and human treatment of the earth—Dombkowski Hopkins invites readers to a conversation about the Psalms that is simultaneously grounded and provocative, informed and wide-ranging. Deeply aware of the important role of social and cultural location and the many different ways that readers identify as feminist, this commentary is a vital contribution to and firm foundation for further feminist interpretations of the Psalms."
Amy C. Cottrill, Denson N. Franklin Associate Professor of Religion, Birmingham-Southern College
"The strength of this volume lies precisely here, in thinking about the Psalms in ways that people have not often thought about them, that is, in and with the voices of women. The commentary's accessibility and its emphasis on the `world in front of the text' seem ideal for pastors and preachers who seek to connect these ancient poems with the contemporary realities of women's lived experiences. No doubt this perspective and this volume must be engaged by all scholars, who will find long-held interpretations being challenged, and discover new meanings emerging from these ancient liturgical poems."
"Can another commentary in the field make a significant contribution? This volume, covering Books 2 and 3 of the Psalter (Psalms 42‐89), definitely breaks new ground. Each psalm receives extensive coverage treating form‐critical, historical, linguistic and theological issues. Scholars will rejoice to see Hebrew words discussed, and general readers will enjoy the accessible style of the commentary."
"In Psalms, Books 2–3, Denise Dombkowski Hopkins employs dissonant listening to the individual psalms, ever looking for intertexts that illuminate the powerful emotions and logic of the original authors. The intertexts involve women whose experiences resemble those voiced by the psalmists. Other female voices—African American, Latin American, and Asian—join Denise in a plea to implement social justice, combat racism and sexual trafficking, adopt sustainable agricultural practices, and bring healing to a broken world."
James L. Crenshaw, Robert L. Flowers Emeritus, Professor of Old Testament, Duke University
"This book is a powerful look at the role of women as reflected in the psalms. It is extremely well documented and reads like literature coming out of a theology program. The book is instructive as it offers so many feminist insights to ponder."
Catholic Press Association award, first place in Scripture, academic studies
"Like all entries in the series, this is a work of solid scholarship that many readers will find illuminating and at times fruitfully provocative."
The Bible Today
"Solid and supple enough to be one of your own best companions in probing the meaning of psalms in ancient times and today."
Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
"One of the many strengths of this volume is found in Hopkins's rhetorical focus on the structures and literary patterns of these psalms. A welcomed addition to Psalms scholarship, especially for those who approach the biblical text with an eye toward literary-theological reflections."
Nicholas R. Werse, Catholic Books Review