The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Volume 1
The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Volume 1


in Eerdmans Critical Commentary

by Samuel Terrien

4 Rank Score: 4.5 from 2 reviews, 2 featured collections, and 5 user libraries
The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Volume 1
Pages 544 pages
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 2003
ISBN-13 9780802827432
The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, Volume 2
Pages 464 pages
Publisher Eerdmans
Published 2003
ISBN-13 9780802827449


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Samuel Terrien's ECC is an odd duck. The two New Testament volumes released in the ECC are among the most detailed commentaries ever released on those books, but the only Old Testament volume isn't anywhere near as lengthy. It's very scholarly, with a lot on form, structure, and speculative historical settings (e.g. Psalm 45 is a long song written for Ahab and Jezebel). The author's specialty is strophic structure. This book is a major contribution to that field of study, though with any major contribution there will be many controversial aspects that haven't had a chance to stand up to criticism from other scholars. He especially focuses on what musical characteristics he thinks he can infer from the text, and he places the role of the musician in ancient Israel's worship on a level of importance rivaling prophets and priests, a move that I think is unwarranted even given the emphasis on musicians in Chronicles (and his placement of sages in this group seems to me to be even less motivated). He uses a lot of technical language without explaining it, sometimes with terms that aren't even standard, and he also uses archaic language in his translation of the psalms. I've read reviews that place this among the best commentaries on the psalms, but I had trouble getting much out of it when I was leading a Bible study on the psalms. There's some detail on language but not as much as Craigie, Tate, and Allen. Hossfeld and Zenger's level of detail dwarfs Terrien's. It was nearly useless to me in Bible study prep, dealing so little with the theological questions I was wrestling with or the connections with the New Testament that I wanted addressed. He does deal with theology, but it's only suggestive and hypothetical, usually without really handling complex questions and often read through the themes of his previous work (e.g. the elusive presence of God). It isn't that helpful on application sorts of questions either, though I don't expect that of a scholarly commentary. I do expect a little more of some other things that I didn't see here. Terrien just doesn't do much actual commenting on what the psalms say. Given how many people have recommended this pretty highly, I was seriously disappointed. [Full Review]
A theological and practical exegesis of the Psalms from an expert in Wisdom literature; with translation. [Full Review]