This Unit will cover the history of the study of the Psalms and contemporary interpretative concerns, including poetics and the shape of the Psalter. It will also cover the ongoing role of the Psalms in nurturing the human spirit.

Unit code: BA9011Y (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Old Testament

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


demonstrate a knowledge of the various genres found in the Psalter and the contribution of poetics to the study of Psalms


show an understanding of the various ways the Psalms have been interpreted over more than 2000 years


apply both diachronic and synchronic methods to the study of specific Psalms


critically evaluate the shape of the Psalter and its impact on the meaning of the Psalms


Assess the influence of the Psalms in Jewish and Christian religious and spiritual life throughout the ages and today


compare and evaluate contemporary insights in the study of Psalms

Unit sequence

Pre-requisite: BA8000Y or equivalent.


Weekly class: Lectures, group work. Students will engage with Psalm texts, scholarship regarding Psalms and each other, including their experience of the Psalms.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Gerstenberger, Erhard S. Psalms. Part 1: With an Introduction to Cultic Poetry. The Forms of the Old Testament Literature 14. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988.
  • ———. Psalms, Part 2 and Lamentations. The Forms of the Old Testament Literature 15. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.
  • Gillingham, Susan E. Psalms through the Centuries. vol 1. Blackwell Bible Commentaries. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
  • Goldingay, John Psalms. 3 vols. Baker commentary on the Old Testament wisdom and Psalms. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic Press, 2006, 2007, 2008.
  • Hossfeld Frank-Lothar,. & Erich Zenger. Psalms 2: A Commentary on Psalms 51-100. Linda M. Maloney, trans., Edited by Klaus Baltzer. Hermeneia. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005.
  • ___. Psalms 3: A Commentary on Psalms 101-150. Edited by Klaus Baltzer. Hermeneia. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2011.
  • Jacobson, Rolf A., ed. Soundings in the Theology of Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in Contemporary Scholarship. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • McCann, J. Clinton, ed. The Shape and Shaping of the Psalter. Journal for the study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series 159. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993.
  • Schaefer, Konrad. Psalms. Edited by David W. Cotter. Berit Olam. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2001.
  • Zenger, Erich. The Composition of the Book of Psalms. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 238. Leuven: Peeters, 2010.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegesis 3000 35.0
Essay 4500 65.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 11 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-11 16:29:15 +1000