Commentaries on the Psalms

Theology of the Psalms
A Continental Commentary
Hans-Joachim Kraus
Augsburg Publishing House, 1979

In this volume, and two following volumes that provide commentary on each psalm, Kraus gives an extensive treatment of the each text. The theology volume discusses the nature of God, Israel, the Sanctuary, the King, the enemy powers and the individual in the Psalms.

The Psalms
Old Testament Library
Artur Weiser
Westminister Press, 1962

Like Kraus, this is a traditional, technical commentary from Germany. Kraus and Weiser are often referenced by others.

Psalms 1-50
Word Biblical Commentary
Peter C. Craigie
Word Books, 1983

Psalms 51-100
Word Biblical Commentary
Marvin E. Tate
Word Books, 1990

Another technical commentary, but one more inclusive of literary and spiritual concerns.

A Translator's Handbook on the Book of Psalms
Robert G. Bratcher, and William D. Reyburn
United Bible Societies, 1991

This is not a commentary per say. It is intended to help people translating the Bible into languages for the first time. It focuses on language and cultural issues (like, how do you translate sheep for a culture that doesn't have sheep?).

The Psalms through Three Thousand Years: Prayerbook of a Cloud of Witnesses
William L. Holladay
Fortress Press, 1993

For all the use of Psalms in worship, for all they have formed monastic communities over the centuaries, histories of the use of the Psalms are quite rare. Holladay tries vainly to cover 3,000 years. I was a little frustrated by this book, but not because its isn't a wonderful book. It's just that there should be so much more for an author to draw upon, more studies, and it often seems as if Holladay is forced to work with almost no resources.
This, and the following book, are examples of a different sort of material on the Psalms. These are more about devotion, or the spiritual. It's not that such work is uncritical, but we enter a slightly different world.

The Message of the Psalms
Augsburg Old Testament Studies
Walter Brueggemann
Augsburg Publishing House, 1984

Brueggemann has written many things on the Psalms, this one divides analysis of Psalms into psalms of orientation, disorientation and new orientation.


Reflections on the Psalms
C. S. Lewis
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1958

While Lewis professes ignorance of technical issues, this is, as is the case with most of his writing, a focused and clear analysis of a number of aspects of the Psalms. In particular, his analysis of the "cursings" of the Psalms addresses in a helpful way a question many have.

Out of the Depths
Bernhard W. Anderson
Westminster Press, 1983

A study of selected themes in the psalms.
Last updated 9/28/06; first posted 11/16/00; © 2006 John P. Nordin