The Psalms are artistic poems . . . the artistic capacity expressed in the psalms is indicated by the intensity and concentration of style, the appropriateness of the measures employed, the clarity and the beauty, the heights and depths of that which is spoken and sung in the presence of Yahweh” (Kraus, Theology of the Psalms, 15).
Psalms are poetry in Hebrew lines and stanzas. Their confessional impact in praise and lament is best understood when they are read with some knowledge of the methods of the Hebrew poets. Select Psalms representative of the themes and genres of the psalter will be studied with careful attention to the parallel structures of cola and their combinations to form poems.
Psalms are eternal; psalms have been sung from Hebrew times to the present by Jews and Christians. Some churches have a tradition that only psalms from the psalter can be sung. The study of the psalter will also examine how psalms have been inspirational and influential throughout the centuries.
- The process of the formation of the psalter and its canonical forms
- The methods of Hebrew poetry used to create impact
- The use of psalms through the centuries
- The content of the psalter
- The theology of the psalms
- Knowing how to relate to God in praise, petition, and confession
- Knowing how to use psalms as worship
- Expressing praise and prayer through the poetic lines of the psalter
- Experiencing a spiritual intimacy possible through the emotional impact of the psalms
- Practicing worship through the examples of psalms found in the psalter
- Using psalms in public and private prayer and music
- Living and teaching theology and ethics as expressed in the psalter.