Book Review: Psalms for All Seasons
Publisher: Brazos Press ISBN: 9781587433160
Brazos Press calls the Psalms for All Seasons the most comprehensive Psalms worship resource available. I will say, after having spent some time getting to know this resource that I concur in a very big way. I don’t think comprehensive does the work justice though. The diversity of psalmody is incredibly broad and rich, both historically and demographically. I was surprised by amount of formats offered to the reader-practitioner for engaging with these ancient prayers and songs… almost to the point of being overwhelmed. This, in a good way, of course.
I own a number of sources that have helped me to worship along with the Psalms and to understand them from an academic perspective as well. I have used commentaries, various prayer books, as well as a host of other complementary books and guides to assist my personal worship and my corporate worship. This Psalter will bind them together and make them more than the sum of their respective parts.
I think Psalms for All Seasons will provide me a lifetime of plumbing the depths and riches of God’s Word through praise, prayer, hymn, and song. This is a monumental work academically, artistically, and liturgically. It will appeal equally to the expert and the novice, the congregation or the individual, and the traditionalist or the contemporary worshiper. This is sure to become one of the definitive resources for leading congregations in responsorial worship and liturgical prayer.
From the publisher’s website:
Psalms for All Seasons includes all 150 psalms, most in multiple formats. For each psalm, this volume includes:
- The complete New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) text of the psalm, presented with alternating regular and boldfaced type for responsive readings and red markings that enable the chanting of the psalm.
- A Christian prayer that responds to a theme, imagery, or basic intent of the psalm.
- A brief footnote which identifies the psalm’s genre or type, highlights significant features of its form or imagery, and suggests a range of uses in Christian worship.
- One or more settings of the psalm, most of which are musical settings for congregational use.
This range of material means that the book is well-suited to a variety of uses:
- Corporate worship—to be placed in the hands of worship leaders, choirs, and, ideally, all worshipers.
- Daily prayer at morning, noon, evening, and/or night.
- Personal and family devotion.
- A resource for bible study.
- For preachers, as a commentary on the book of Psalms.
- To inspire composers in a wide range of cultures and traditions to imagine new, vital, and faithful ways of rendering psalms.