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Harp of Prophecy

The Harp of Prophecy

Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms

Edited by Brian E. Daley, S.J., and Paul R. Kolbet

The Psalms generated more biblical commentary from early Christians than any other book of the Hebrew and Christian canon. While advances have been made in our understanding of the early Christian preoccupation with this book and the traditions employed to interpret it, no study on the Psalms traditions exists that can serve as a solid academic point of entry into the field. This collection of essays by distinguished patristic and biblical scholars fills this lacuna. It not only introduces readers to the main primary sources but also addresses the unavoidable interpretive issues present in the secondary literature.

The essays in The Harp of Prophecy represent some of the very best scholarly approaches to the study of early Christian exegesis, bringing new interpretations to bear on the work of influential early Christian authorities such as Athanasius, Augustine, and Basil of Caesarea. Subjects that receive detailed study include the dynamics of early Christian political power, gender expressions, and the ancient conversation between Christian, Jewish, and Greek philosophical traditions. The essays and bibliographic materials enable readers to locate and read the early Christian sources for themselves and also serve to introduce the various interdisciplinary methods and perspectives that are currently brought to bear on early Christian psalm exegesis. Students and scholars of theology and biblical studies will be led in new directions of thought and interpretation by these innovative studies.

Contributors: Gary A. Anderson, Paul M. Blowers, Michael Cameron, Ronald R. Cox, Brian E. Daley, S.J., Luke Dysinger, O.S.B., Nonna Verna Harrison, Ronald E. Heine, David G. Hunter, Paul R. Kolbet, Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., and John J. O’Keefe.

“This wonderful volume shows us the Psalms as a living and sacred text, forming and nurturing the individual and communal lives of early Christians. Each essay sheds light of a distinct hue on this complex reality until the whole is seen with a clarity not previously apparent. These rich essays explore the techniques of ancient interpretation, the theological underpinnings that allowed the Psalms to be seen as a God-given language for those being incorporated into Christ, and the social contexts that shaped the use and interpretation of the Psalms. Each is excellent; as a whole the collection is a rare gift.” — Lewis Ayres, Durham University

“The editors of this volume have engaged a stellar cast of thoughtful scholars to add to the burgeoning retrieval of Christianity’s faithful devotion to the Psalter. The essays herein attest to the Psalter’s infinite fecundity to offer personal emotional support under pressured circumstances, a program for progress in the spiritual life, a map for ecclesiastical authority to lead the church, an opportunity to experience ‘the whole Christ’ and much more. Each essay will repay the reader’s effort ten-fold.” — Ellen T. Charry, Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“This exceptional collection of essays brings the book of Psalms and its transformative role in early Christian lives into new focus. The distinguished scholars gathered in this volume illustrate how the Psalms animated the liturgical, devotional, and scholarly habits of early Christians. This singular book bequeathed a rich vocabulary to its readers and hearers, new ways of thinking about God and themselves, and ultimately the words with which to address God. The Harp of Prophecy provides a splendid introduction to the ways in which early Christians re-imagined the Psalms.” — Peter Martens, Saint Louis University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02619-6
E-ISBN 978-0-268-07783-9
352 pages
Publication Year: 2015

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Brian E. Daley, S.J., is the Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Paul R. Kolbet is lecturer in early Christianity at Yale Divinity School and author of Augustine and the Cure of Souls (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).

“The twelve essays in this volume provide materials to promote further research into the depth and range of the essential early Christian practice of appropriating the language of the Psalms.” — New Testament Abstracts

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The Harp of Prophecy

Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms


Edited by Brian E. Daley, S.J., and Paul R. Kolbet

The Harp of Prophecy: Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms
Paper Edition
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The Psalms generated more biblical commentary from early Christians than any other book of the Hebrew and Christian canon. While advances have been made in our understanding of the early Christian preoccupation with this book and the traditions employed to interpret it, no study on the Psalms traditions exists that can serve as a solid academic point of entry into the field. This collection of essays by distinguished patristic and biblical scholars fills this lacuna. It not only introduces readers to the main primary sources but also addresses the unavoidable interpretive issues present in the secondary literature.

The essays in The Harp of Prophecy represent some of the very best scholarly approaches to the study of early Christian exegesis, bringing new interpretations to bear on the work of influential early Christian authorities such as Athanasius, Augustine, and Basil of Caesarea. Subjects that receive detailed study include the dynamics of early Christian political power, gender expressions, and the ancient conversation between Christian, Jewish, and Greek philosophical traditions. The essays and bibliographic materials enable readers to locate and read the early Christian sources for themselves and also serve to introduce the various interdisciplinary methods and perspectives that are currently brought to bear on early Christian psalm exegesis. Students and scholars of theology and biblical studies will be led in new directions of thought and interpretation by these innovative studies.

Contributors: Gary A. Anderson, Paul M. Blowers, Michael Cameron, Ronald R. Cox, Brian E. Daley, S.J., Luke Dysinger, O.S.B., Nonna Verna Harrison, Ronald E. Heine, David G. Hunter, Paul R. Kolbet, Michael C. McCarthy, S.J., and John J. O’Keefe.

“This wonderful volume shows us the Psalms as a living and sacred text, forming and nurturing the individual and communal lives of early Christians. Each essay sheds light of a distinct hue on this complex reality until the whole is seen with a clarity not previously apparent. These rich essays explore the techniques of ancient interpretation, the theological underpinnings that allowed the Psalms to be seen as a God-given language for those being incorporated into Christ, and the social contexts that shaped the use and interpretation of the Psalms. Each is excellent; as a whole the collection is a rare gift.” — Lewis Ayres, Durham University

“The editors of this volume have engaged a stellar cast of thoughtful scholars to add to the burgeoning retrieval of Christianity’s faithful devotion to the Psalter. The essays herein attest to the Psalter’s infinite fecundity to offer personal emotional support under pressured circumstances, a program for progress in the spiritual life, a map for ecclesiastical authority to lead the church, an opportunity to experience ‘the whole Christ’ and much more. Each essay will repay the reader’s effort ten-fold.” — Ellen T. Charry, Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

“This exceptional collection of essays brings the book of Psalms and its transformative role in early Christian lives into new focus. The distinguished scholars gathered in this volume illustrate how the Psalms animated the liturgical, devotional, and scholarly habits of early Christians. This singular book bequeathed a rich vocabulary to its readers and hearers, new ways of thinking about God and themselves, and ultimately the words with which to address God. The Harp of Prophecy provides a splendid introduction to the ways in which early Christians re-imagined the Psalms.” — Peter Martens, Saint Louis University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02619-6

352 pages

“The twelve essays in this volume provide materials to promote further research into the depth and range of the essential early Christian practice of appropriating the language of the Psalms.” — New Testament Abstracts

Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity